Chuck out the gas bombola

10/24/2012 - 08:45


I was talking to someone today about the Agibilita and in particular the cost of bombola inspecting and certification along with 5 year reviews all at over €100 a go. On top of that there is the cost of special fencing and fire extinguishers. Now there is a fineof up to €3,000 if you don't get the gas boiler a €110 service every year. My reaction is to use all the gas in the bombola and get it removed entirely with small gas canisters like on caravans used instead. The boiler servicing cost is equal to the gas it consumes every year so that can go too ... Badger is on track - get a heat pump.

Just thought, that it is 7 years that the pump has been in operation here. It ticks away merrily in the technical room, with no problem, 30 mins to service each year, without anyone having to come out. 2 x 47Kg bombola used for the hob in the kitchen, which usually last at least 6 months each. 50 quintalle of wood bought 7 years ago, which is only half depleted, if that, as only used if a major power cut, or for a visible fire at Christmas/New year etc. Best investment we ever made, in my opinion, as we have 24/7 hot water and heating.

Hi guys, Keep hearing about heat pumps,it sounds a great bit of kit,but the cost always sounds very expensive. What is the cost for a basic!! set up,say a 4 room house/ lounge/kitchen,utility shower room and 2 bedrooms and bathroom/shower? 

Hi Atessa. I found the details of your house size, from one of your earlier posts @ 120 sq mtrs? You can correct this if I am wrong. Ballpark figure, as I do not know the insulation levels etc, would be for a 9kw output heat pump including 160ltr DHW tank. If GSHP, circa 14k excluding trench excavation. Depending on soil/humidity type, 120 - 150 mtr trench, 1.3 mtr deep x 1.2 mtr wide. ASHP: With electric aided DHW tank 13K, but no excavation cost. With no DHW tank, but electric back-up circa 11K. Both are IVT Swedish units. (IVT HT plus for the GSHP or Air 90 for ASHP ) I was actually going through Atessa on Tues, to look at another project, so a coincidence you have the same name!!!

In reply to by Badger

Hi Badger,Thanks for your knowledgable reply.Yes you are correct my house is 120sq mtrs approx with all the roof insulated,not conversant with all the technical terms but 11k for basic system,is out of my reach. At this time my pot of money is sadly just a pot(private pension stolen by the recession!!!) It was suggested to me to go for the bombola(installed for free?) because we are not resident at the house all year.We have also kept our open fire,its back to basics to try to make savings. Interesting Badger that you went through Atessa, its our local town,hence my user name.

Atessa - I worry that the route you are taking will introduce an increasing drain on your resources. May I suggest that you first put a stove in the open fireplace. Open fires consume about 5 x the wood as a stove does and can even go negatively efficient when it is really cold because they suck in a lot of air. Any stove is better than a fire and even better if you connect it to a tank so that hot water for showers is there all winter too ... same tank could take solar panels later if needed. As Bunterboy says - stove + solar does the trick and there are only a few days when an immersion heater needs to bridge the energy gap. Note that we are off gas from the start .. too much costly regulation and gas is now 7x more expensive than wood! Bottle gas for cooking is fine but I'd be considering an induction hob for my next house. You'll be able to do a lot of cooking on a stove too so that will tame the bills. As we are all getting older we'll be less inclined to be log luggers so if you can't start off with a heat pump you should at least be heat pump ready - just 2 insulated pipes and a conduit out into the garden would be a good provision.  While planning your strategy please note: my heating model shows that a heat pump often makes solar panels unnecessary so if you saved €2,000 on the gas boiler and €3,000 on the panels you'd have practically paid for a small ASHP.   

We could do with some advice we will have a ground source heat pump system when we can afford it, but at the moment need to know how we can prepare for it as a building is at its early stages of repair. We have an area near to the house that is going to be flooded for a pond and would like to put the pipes in the bottom. Any help will be appreciated.

Thanks for the info Sagraiasolar,just love the look of open fire/but wood stove is probably the way to go and to run hot water.Your provision for heat pump sounds so easy with a few tubes,do you have any info/pictures.What do think about the Ariston Nuos is this system the type you explain?how does cost compare? 

We had an open fire in a huge old inglenook, which looked lovely and gave out no heat in our double hight living room, but with a large woodburner and an ecofan sitting on top it virtually heats the whole house - which is on 4 stories - as the heat keeps on rising. It also uses half the wood, and when the electricity goes off, which it often does, we do not have the pump problem. The kitchen has a Nordica white stufa(like a mini aga) on which we cook, it makes the kitchen the heart of the house, and an old jam pan full of water on the side, so we don't run the dishwasher in the winter. The not so ugly solar panel water(the best buy )means we rarely have to put on the electric water heater to boost the water, In fact we cant see the panel as the house is so tall!!

This is a really low powered device which just makes hot water and rather slowly. ... If you are going to get a heat pump it needs to be properly sized for your whole house requirements.. The system I describe is not the same at all which is simply a large tank fed by heat sources such as stoves, solar, heat pump etc... the hot water, rads, floors etc all get fed by the tank and or the heat pump.    Mixing wood with a heat pump is technically quite hard to get right but it is worth it, I think, because wood is cheap and smaller heat pumps can run on the power of an electric kettle so don't always need any electrical changes.... also domestic PV arrays might be producing 2kW on a winters day so the heat pump runs free and produces around 6kW and if that isn't an engineering miracle I don't know what is. is a good source for info. 

For those of us that dont have the odd 11k around and have an exsisting would be rather rash to chuck it away.We do not pay for inspections by our supplier, it already had a fence, and as we have a house and a letting apartment both the boilers get serviced yearly anyway as part of the legal requirements but no way at a cost of 110e each . I admit it is an expensive way of heating, but as the apartment is not usually let over the winter months, and we have a stufa in the house we manage.Over the summer the price for cooking and hot water is tiny. I think you have to work with what you have and what you can afford.

In the summer Angie, it is very cheap to heat the water here, probably 10kwh per week. Even @ 30c per kwh, that is only E3. Gas is only for the hob and think I can live with E150 per year. You also must remember, that we heat the whole 120 sq mtrs for 24/7, so a little different than just using one room with a stufa. You have been in the house and know that is all open plan, so it is false economy to try and heat a little part of it. Also I did not relish the thought of bringing wood in daily, risking running out of gas, as the lorry could not get here, or having a gas bomb in the garden. Our choice, as it is yours the way you want to live!!!

Hi Badger So how much electricity do you use all year? Do you have a breakdown of electricity used for the GSHP?   THanks

Everything is purely a matter of choice. As I said before it is lifestyle, and I like the way we live, with no ugly solar panels or having to bring in wood every day to keep warm in the winter. Everything here was pre-planned before moving, not an afterthought to how to keep warm. That was the priority!!

Sent you a email yesterday, in reply to yours, with my contact details if you want to talk about options etc You are welcome to come and see the one operating here. We are on the Fermo road, not far from the Riding stables.

Lucy and Gerry. A 9kw output pump, would need circa 135mtrs of ground loop x 4, so over 500mtrs of tubing. It would have to be a very large pond!!

Outside temp must have really dropped down last night. Thismorning was only 8C @ 9.30. Pump had run for 5 hours in 24, so probably 4 hrs on heating cycle!! Temperature outside now 9.6C, inside house at set temp of 18.5C, underfloor flow temp 25C.

We use anything between 9 - 10000kwh per year. I cannot give a accurate figure for the pump, as it is still on the single meter, until I change to the special lower tariff 2nd meter next year. As a rough guide, the heat pump has run from 24/10/2011 to 29/10/2012 for 1788 hrs. Its input is 2.2kwh, so approx 4000kwh. Heating is on 24/7, with hot water timed off overnight. Room temp is set @ 18.5C with hot water @ 48C. Current temperature in the house is 18.7C, with an outside temp of 5.5C, but it must have been around 0C overnight as frost on the cars. Hope this helps

Ariston Nuos. If you do not mind me, commenting on this unit. The Nuos is primarily designed for the low usage Italian market, where the electricity supply is low. This is why they say only a 300w energy need, with the 1200w heater for a boost. Obviously the reheat time is high, but then you have to take in the amount of water you would normally use over a day. The last price I had on the unit from a few years ago, when first introduced for the 80ltr model was circa E800. On another point with your house heating, you could consider 2/3 air to air inverter units. These would provide winter heating and aircon in the summer.  With a air/air, you could also have the lower rate tariff meter.

In reply to by Badger

Hi Badger,just to sort all this through with these options a ground source heat pump(GSHP)maybe too expensive. What about the use of air source heat pump(ASHP) Also for heating you mention the air/air inverter units,these sound a good way to go.What does a unit cost and are they economical to run? Also suggested previously hot water /wood burning stove mainly used in winter.Is the Nuos an option. If i am looking for a basic,low cost system,water and heating, with so many options,which way to go?

Rosietat, could you please explain what an ecofan is please?. Does it just sit on top of the stufa in which case it must get very hot....sorry still pursuing ways of making the house warmer and dispersing the heat from the stufa (which really just heats the kitchen/dining area)

Hi Atessa. 1) The GSHP would be expensive. 2) The ASHP I quoted, would also @ circa 11k be over your budget on the basic system. 3) Alternative, is the Nuos, that you mentioned, plus 2/3 Inverter units. I would estimate, that you would get to about E5000 for that type of setup.

I've got one on my UK wood burning stove - seems to be effective. [Apparently they were originally developed for narrow boats where the stove would be at one end of the boat and there was no electricity for 'normal' fans to shift the warm air about] Still prefer the open log fire in my Italian 'holiday home' - not so efficient as a log burner stove, but visually more pleasing, and nice to snuggle up to in Winter - but would go for a stove if the Italian place was my permanent residence

Think i am like you Alan its not my permanent residence. Think i will keep the old log fire you just dont see them anymore, call me old fashioned and nostalgic,lots of happy memories as a youngster with grandparents and family, sat around a roaring fire at Christmas,Eeh happy days!!  but will also look into the modern methods that Badger and Sagraiasolar suggested.Mixture of old and new. Thanks.

In reply to by Pat H

... assuming the radiators are already there and you are contemplating a retrofit ... you can swap one or two radiators for fan coil units and then use them for aircon in the summer. If you get hayfever you alleviate it by having plasma filtered fan coils

No problem that you do not know how the system works. Will try to put it as simply as possible just to make it easier: You have say 100sq mts of house that you want to heat, so the heating need may be 9Kwh. You could use 3 x 3kw fan heaters to provide that requirement. A 9Kw output ground source heatpump needs 2Kwh input to produce the same amount of heat for underfloor heating, or 2.6kwh for radiator heating, based on a outside temperature of 0C. The equivalent air/water source needs 2.1kwh for underfloor and 2.6kwh for rads, but this is based on outside air @ 7C. With both systems above the criteria is 35C for underfloor and 50C for radiators. The air/air system is based on a 6C outside temperature, 20c internal and can use between 0.13kwh for a 0.9kwh output up to 1.7kwh for 6kwh on the same unit, plus it can also cool the house as well. All 3 of the systems can be used on the special electricity tarrif and apart from air/air can be retrofitted to an existing installation. Difficult to say costs as every house is different, but I have given some ideas in other posts. Hope this explains it a little better

Just read your other post in the firewood section. As your house is smaller to the example I put previously, then you could even be down to a 6/7kwh system. GSHP would be input 1.3/1.7kwh for the 6, or 1.6/2.1Kwh for the 7, including the 165 ltr hot water tank. 6kw air/water 1.4/1.7kwh input

Many thanks for this info Badger. But can you tell me how it works. Do I dig a hole for it? How do I connect it to the radiators (which at the mo are powered by gas - not that I ever use them as GPL is too expensive). Roughly what sort of cost are we looking at? As is probably obvious from my questions, I know really nothing about this!

Would be a lot of digging for the ground source unit, for a 7kw output unit, about 120 mtrs, 1.3 mtrs deep x 1.2 wide. That system works by extracting the heat from the ground and then using to boil a refrigerant in the heat pump. Last quote that I had for a 7kw output system earlier this month, inclusive of the 165Ltr domestic hot water tank on the above was E15500 excluding excavations. The pump shown in the link is the same one as we use, Swedish made by IVT. Simplified explanation link below: With the air/water source, there are no excavations, but it works on a similar principle to the above, so easy to understand. It does not normally come with a DHW tank, so would come in sub E10000.   You can always PM me if you want to know more details. Both the above can be connected to a existing heating system.

I haven't come in on this thread before, because sagraisolar and badger know what they are talking about. I just have one question, and one observation. The question (for badger) is that I used to have a house served by an artesian well, the water source fed an underground cistern - no more than 15mc capacity - and an educated friend asked why we didn't use this as a source for a heat pump. Having been asked this question, I do wonder whether an existing 'system' (such as a well) couldn't eliminate the need for all these relativelly deep trenches dug over an extensive area. The observation is simply that using electricity as a 'top up' fuel (or as principal fuel in an infrequently occupied house) can work out as a very cheap option - ammortize the installation costs of any other 'central' boiler/radiator solution and tell me I am wrong! I would always come down on the side of a woodburning Jotul - whatever the circumstances - it is just what you add to that little star performer...note my (unpaid!!) rec for that one manufacturer.

I'd comment on the Jotul plug Fillide.  When chosing a stove there is more to it than finding a good brand. If it is to be stand alone without connection to water it will usually need to be physically quite small or it will be too hot for all but the biggest rooms. Connecting to water allows for a 'nice' big stove as some heat is removed to produce domestic hot water and heat for passing round the heating system.  Many of the less expensive stoves in cast iron have their back boilers cast into the stove - when they crack you have to buy and fit another 'less expensive' stove. I won't plug the ones with a stainless steel clip in back boiler because I use them almost exclusively in my designs but the boiler mod is the thing to look out for. Also I like to keep the power down to about 14kW with only half that going to water. After that there is too much log lugging. Nothing at all against Jotuls - just make sure they are fit for the purpose.

Thank you very much indeed for this - really clear. For a house twice the size of mine (and I think most are at least that!) you'd see the return on your investment in, what, five to seven years? Sounds a pretty good ROI to me. Does anyone know if the government provides grants or tax incentives to help offset the initial costs for this?

I think what your friend was talking about is a open loop system, where the pump would take the water directly from the cistern and then return it to another area. Yes, it is possible, but, there can be problems associated with the build up of scale in the pipes etc. You could not  discharge back into the cistern itself , as the cooler return water would reduce the source temperature. Remember also that the flow rates of the pump can be 0.2 - 0.6 ltrs per second, depending on pump size. Here is a article that helps describe it all. Hope this helps!!

At the moment there is the up to 55% of the cost income tax deduction over 5 years. There are number of our clients who have opted for this offer. This may be replaced by the 40% over 2 years rebate as Penny posted, but this has not come into law as yet. Also many have changed to the special Enel electricity rate for heat pumps, which is a big saving over current prices. A few years ago, we calculated that the approximate break even point over LPG was in the region of 4 years. Cannot post the calculator on here unfortunately though.