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View blog posts for category: Heating & hot water

Getting the most out of a wood-burning stove.

Posted by Andrew McGowan on 31 October 2017 at 9:20 am

Getting the most out of a wood-burning stove.

Andrew McGowan has 15 years of wood-burning experience and experimentation with Morso and Stovax stoves. As our guest blogger this week, Andrew shares with us his tips on efficient wood burning techniques in the home.    Use well-seasoned (dry) wood with mo…

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Are Infrared panel heaters a good way to heat a room?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 9 May 2017 at 2:50 pm

Are Infrared panel heaters a good way to heat a room?

Infrared panel heaters are a relatively new way to heat your house. They work very differently to radiators, and have some advantages when it comes to energy efficiency. Infrared panel heaters use radiation to heat the room instead of convection. This means that they deliver heat directly to …

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Thermal Storage: How much could you save?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 10 April 2017 at 2:34 pm

Thermal Storage: How much could you save?

Storing the energy produced by solar panels is a hot topic. Developments in battery storage for solar photovoltaic systems are constantly improving, but when it comes to storing energy, thermal systems have a lot of advantages. Solar thermal systems work by pumping a mix of water and antifree…

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Why zone your heating?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 24 February 2017 at 10:40 am

Why zone your heating?

Central heating systems are great for keeping the house warm during the cold winter months. Even in the spring and summer they can frequently come in handy. But it does cost a lot of energy to heat your home. As much as 60% of domestic energy consumption is used for space heating [1]. So how can …

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A fridge in reverse: the air source heat pump

Posted by Anna Carlini on 11 January 2017 at 12:10 pm

A fridge in reverse: the air source heat pump

What is an air source heat pump? Air source heat pumps allow us to generate hot water or warm air, by making the most of the free heat in the air outside our house. But how exactly do they work? This informative video produced by YouGen member, Nu-Heat, explains the process the air source hea…

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Hygge, happiness and the real wood fire experience

Posted by Stewart Mcilroy on 4 January 2017 at 12:05 pm

Hygge, happiness and the real wood fire experience

Hygge (pronounced hooga) as you may know is the Danish word for a certain sort of happiness. This is not the happiness from buying new stuff (if, in fact, that actually makes you happy) or the happiness from winning at sport, but a type of contentment happiness where one has a warm glow and is at…

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Changes to Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs from Spring 2017

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 20 December 2016 at 11:20 am

Changes to Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs from Spring 2017

On 14 December the government (BEIS) published its response to the March 2016 consultation on reform of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). This includes changes to the tariffs and conditions of the domestic and non-domestic RHI schemes. These will apply, according to the response, from spring 20…

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Domestic biomass RHI tariff to rise by 53% on 1 Apr 2017

Posted by Gordon Glass on 16 December 2016 at 9:30 am

Domestic biomass RHI tariff to rise by 53% on 1 Apr 2017

The domestic biomass RHI tariff will rise to 6.44p/kWh from 1 Apr 2017 – a 53% increase from the tariff of 4.21p/kWh already set for the period Jan-Mar 2017! We expect the new tariff to be available for applications made from 1 April to support the installation of biomass pellet boilers and…

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How will degree days help you measure energy savings from heating and insulation improvements?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 14 November 2016 at 11:01 am

How will degree days help you measure energy savings from heating and insulation improvements?

Suppose you are retrofitting your house, improving its insulation or installing a more energy efficient heating system. You will want to know how much energy you are saving, but with heating costs this can be tricky to figure out. This is where "degree days" can help. Temperature, a…

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Electric radiators: A good replacement for old storage heaters?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 10 August 2016 at 12:05 pm

Electric radiators: A good replacement for old storage heaters?

Storage heaters are becoming increasingly uncommon. The high price of electricity compared to gas means that electric heating is often considered to be a bad option. However modern electric radiators have a number of advantages over their predecessors. We talked to Ian McGregor of Electrorad to f…

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What are the financial pros and cons of a biomass boiler?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 11 May 2016 at 3:05 pm

What are the financial pros and cons of a biomass boiler?

The environmental case for biomass is unquestionable - we can grow more of it, unlike oil, gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). But what about the cost of a biomass boiler? The price of installation, fuel and maintenance are important considerations when choosing a new boiler. In this v…

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DECC announces Renewable Heat Incentive changes and consultation

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 8 March 2016 at 12:30 pm

DECC announces Renewable Heat Incentive changes and consultation

On 3 March DECC announced changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive. These are detailed below. They also launched a consultation to underpin the changes, and to contribute to a second round of changes likely to come in later in the year. Changes now: Amending the regulation which requir…

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Is weather compensation worth it?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 12 February 2016 at 11:05 am

Is weather compensation worth it?

The weather is the biggest factor in determining how much energy will be required to heat your home. The colder the weather outside, the more energy required to heat your building. The weather outside is constantly changing meaning that equal heat demand changes occur in your home. Establishing h…

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Is using tealight candles to heat your room energy efficient?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 15 January 2016 at 9:50 am

Is using tealight candles to heat your room energy efficient?

In a word, No! ... despite the internet craze of using clay flowerpots to store and dissipate the heat energy from burning tea light candles. The first law of thermodynamics, also known as Law of Conservation of Energy, states that energy cannot be created or destroyed in a chemical reaction.…

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How does a domestic micro-CHP boiler work?

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 8 January 2016 at 12:15 pm

How does a domestic micro-CHP boiler work?

Micro combined heat and power (Micro-CHP) technologies generate both heat and electricity at the same time. They have a small fuel cell or heat engine which drives a generator and provides electric power and heat to a building. At a district scale, marine marine diesel engines modified to run…

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Is a wood burning stove right for me?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 14 August 2015 at 10:50 am

Is a wood burning stove right for me?

Is there anything better, on a cold winter evening, than sitting by a wood burning stove with a good book and a hot cup of tea? Many people are installing stoves these days, but how can you know whether on would be right for you? The good news is that stoves can be fitted into almost any house, w…

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What is the link between energy and water?

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 6 July 2015 at 3:30 pm

What is the link between energy and water?

Would you like to save approximately £200 per year from your energy bills? Of course you would and, surprisingly, one way to do so is to become more water efficient. How does that work? Well, there is strong link between the amount of water we use in our homes and the amount of energy we us…

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Green Open Homes: visit for inspiration in spring and autumn

Posted by Gordon Glass on 18 May 2015 at 10:30 am

Green Open Homes: visit for inspiration in spring and autumn

This month is a busy one for Green Open Homes with events all over the country, from West Cornwall to Yorkshire. An estimated total of 200 homes are being opened up this spring for visitors, showcasing both low cost energy efficient improvements and larger more expensive options. Event locations …

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DECC launch renewable heat incentive calculator

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 17 April 2015 at 4:30 pm

DECC launch renewable heat incentive calculator

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has just launched a new renewable heat incentive calculator.  It is designed to give you an idea of how much you could get in RHI payments if you were to install a renewable heating system. This applies to solar thermal (for hot water) a…

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New 16 March deadline for Green Deal Home Improvement Fund applications

Posted by NEF Gordon on 5 March 2015 at 12:15 pm

New 16 March deadline for Green Deal Home Improvement Fund applications

The next deadline for applications to the government’s Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF) will be midday on 16 March 2015. The offer has been revised and householders can now apply for up to £5,600 to help with the costs of installing solid wall insulation and other energy savin…

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Readers' tips of the month - January 2015

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 January 2015 at 9:57 am

Readers' tips of the month - January 2015

Mistakes are always one of the best learning opportunities, so we're always grateful when readers share theirs making it possible for the rest of you to get the learning without the pain of getting it wrong first. And pain is what this retired widow from Staffordshire experienced at the h…

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Does Chop-Cloc really reduce energy bills? A review

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 January 2015 at 9:58 am

Does Chop-Cloc really reduce energy bills? A review

What if there was a device that could knock up to 30 per cent off your heating bills without you even noticing the difference? The Chop-Cloc, which hit the market last year claims to do exactly that simply by turning off your heating for a period every hour. The idea is that your heating&rsqu…

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Should I keep the heating on all day?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 January 2015 at 4:47 pm

Should I keep the heating on all day?

Q: We own quite a large old stone house and each winter we have the same discussion! Should we leave the oil heating turning over at a low temperature (we like a cool temp of around 18) or use it during 2 or 3 periods of the day? The same for underfloor electric heating in the bathroom? A: Ge…

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What YouGen readers liked: top 10 blogs of 2014

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 5 January 2015 at 2:01 pm

What YouGen readers liked: top 10 blogs of 2014

With an election on the horizon it's hard to know what's going to happen in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors in 2015. Maybe the political parties (and others) will be able to take a hint about what important to householder by looking at our most popular blog last year. T…

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GDHIF for solid wall insulation runs out in less than two days

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 11 December 2014 at 3:39 pm

GDHIF for solid wall insulation runs out in less than two days

Just a day and a half after the green deal home improvement fund opened for applications at 9am yesterday, the £24m worth of funding for solid wall insulation has all been allocated.  Applications for solid wall insulation have now closed. However, it is still possible for househol…

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£310 million available for those in finding it difficult to keep warm this winter

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 October 2014 at 9:25 am

£310 million available for those in finding it difficult to keep warm this winter

Now that the clocks have gone back, the nights are darker and the heating is more likely to be on. So it's a good time to think about how you can keep your heating bills down. If you are on a low income there may be help available from the Home Heat Helpline. The coalition between energy …

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How do I run my underfloor heating system efficiency?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 October 2014 at 9:19 am

How do I run my underfloor heating system efficiency?

Q: I have just had a wet underfloor heating system installed in my new extension activated from my boiler. My builder has set it and sent me a link for the instructions on how to use it but he did not answer my basic question. With ordinary radiators you have to have your heating switched on and …

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YouGen's 10 top tips for a warm, energy efficient winter

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 14 October 2014 at 9:18 am

YouGen's 10 top tips for a warm, energy efficient winter

Brrr. Did you feel that? After such a balmy summer the sudden appearance of autumn is a bit of a shock, right? Now it’s turn on the heating time in many UK homes, here are our top tips to keeping the heating bills down this winter without compromising on warmth. 1. Buy a new woolly! It&…

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Clever heating controls may be the must-have new gadgets

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 17 April 2014 at 10:23 am

Clever heating controls may be the must-have new gadgets

For most of us controlling our home heating involves setting a timer for the heating to come on morning and evening, setting a room thermostat, and that's about it. We might adjust the thermostat occasionally, or twiddle the individual radiator thermostats every now and then, but mostly the h…

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Government enlists local authorities to deliver green deal to fuel poor

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 14 April 2014 at 9:10 am

Government enlists local authorities to deliver green deal to fuel poor

The government has a new ally in the battle to increase uptake of the foundering green deal: local authorities. Greg Barker has just announced the winners of the bid for a share of the £88m set aside for their so-called green deal communities scheme.  The scheme will give …

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I am off-gas and on benefits. Can I get help replacing broken storage heaters?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 26 March 2014 at 8:41 am

I am off-gas and on benefits. Can I get help replacing broken storage heaters?

Q. My mother is an 87-year old who lives by herself in her own home and is in receipt of pension credit. Her home is run on electricity and she has three storage heaters. One of these broke a while ago and last week the one in the front room broke. She now has just one working heater wh…

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Even prefabs can be made warm, comfortable and energy efficient

Posted by Tom Bradley on 13 March 2014 at 3:01 pm

Even prefabs can be made warm, comfortable and energy efficient

Following the second world war, new homes were urgently needed to replace those destroyed or damaged through the war. One of the options the UK government took was to use the wartime manufacturing and organisation structure to roll out prefabricated housing. 156,623 prefabricated homes had been c…

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Solar, wood, insulation: a case study of a home energy-saving retrofit

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 20 January 2014 at 9:28 am

Solar, wood, insulation: a case study of a home energy-saving retrofit

Heather Hullah and Jenny Barnes are not your average pensioners. Where other 60-somethings might be thinking about winding down, these two are more likely to be found wielding chainsaws and humping logs in their 2.5 hectare woodland. But then Heather and Jenny’s ex-council house is no l…

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Renewable heat premium payment deadline approaching

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 17 January 2014 at 10:34 am

Renewable heat premium payment deadline approaching

If you’re considering installing a renewable heating system in your home and would like to take advantage of a one-off grant to help with the cost, then now’s the time to act. The deadline for applying for a renewable heat premium payment (RHPP) is fast approaching with all applic…

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10 cheap and easy ways to make your home warmer this winter

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 November 2013 at 4:08 pm

10 cheap and easy ways to make your home warmer this winter

The start of this winter's first cold snap really contentrates the mind on ways to keep warm. While you can just turn the heating on for longer, or turn the thermostat up, that's a very expensive way of managing the problem. Luckily, there are other ways of improving the energy efficiency…

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Research reveals key opportunities for selling energy efficient improvements

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 November 2013 at 10:16 am

Research reveals key opportunities for selling energy efficient improvements

The challenge for green deal providers and installers is to "sell or package" energy efficiency measures as a solution to the trials and tribulations of domestic life according to research published earlier this year by the UK Energy Research Centre.  Researchers debunked the i…

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What help can I get with heating under the Affordable Warmth scheme?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 November 2013 at 9:21 am

What help can I get with heating under the Affordable Warmth scheme?

Q: I have a typical 60s semi. Unfortunately I don't have a central heating system (warm air broken down). I am now retired and on pension credit. I have tried to get something done via the Affordable Warmth scheme but all they seem interested in is replacing boilers which I don't have! …

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Are there really brand new boilers available free of charge?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 27 September 2013 at 9:22 am

Are there really brand new boilers available free of charge?

Q: I have had a phone call from someone offering me a brand new boiler, absolutely free. Is this a scam? A: The phone rings and someone on the end of the line offers you a brand new boiler - absolutely free.  Naturally you are sceptical. After months of unsolicited calls offering you…

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Deadline to register your renewable heat installation looming

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 24 September 2013 at 9:15 am

Deadline to register your renewable heat installation looming

The government has issued a deadline for registering renewable heat installations under the microgeneration certification scheme (MSC). The deadline, of 4pm on October 22, 2013, applies to all renewable heat installations made since July 15, 2009. If you believe your installation has yet …

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Why is my EPC rating so poor with my new biomass boiler?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 12 September 2013 at 9:58 am

Why is my EPC rating so poor with my new biomass boiler?

Q: Following the installation of a super-efficient biomass boiler, my energy bills dropped but my energy performance certificate (EPC) rating plummeted 26 points to a G. I’m convinced that the report is incorrect but where do I turn to get this corrected? We removed a 20-year-old boiler…

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The UK's most energy-efficient period properties throw open their doors

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 11 September 2013 at 11:01 am

The UK's most energy-efficient period properties throw open their doors

If you’re considering refurbishing your energy-guzzling period property to make it run more efficiently then here’s a chance to see how others have done it first. SuperHomes Open Days is a countrywide open house scheme where owners of 54 older, retrofitted homes throw open their d…

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Will the green deal pay for a boiler replacement in my kitchen extension?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 August 2013 at 9:36 am

Will the green deal pay for a boiler replacement in my kitchen extension?

Q: I'm planning on extending the kitchen and updating the boiler. We live in a 20s house with no cavity and a gas Aga running the heating. Can I access money from the green deal? I spoke to the energy efficiency people as well as British Gas and they said I'd have to wait to complete the …

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I have heard that a green deal provider can increase my repayments by two per cent a year. Is this true?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 5 August 2013 at 9:49 am

I have heard that a green deal provider can increase my repayments by two per cent a year. Is this true?

Well, yes, it is. It has been widely publicised that a green deal plan offers a fixed rate of interest, meaning that in most cases, your repayments will remain the same throughout the course of your loan. But a little bit of digging has revealed that there could be circumstances in which your…

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