Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Getting into Hot Water - "Doing our bit" for the 10:10 Campaign

Here is one of the reasons why I went off-line for a while after Easter. Our ancient boiler was breathing its last, after over twenty years of service. It had been resuscitated several times but the time had come to send it on its way. Especially when the heating engineers confirmed how much energy it wasted and that it was big enough to heat a school!

As we hope to stay in this house for as many years as possible, we also decided to install solar panels at the same time, so the heating engineers were here for a week and we spent our Easter break with organised chaos all around us. Every time I thought I had found a vacant room and tried to get on with something, a workman would appear to do something to a radiator. They were a great team; friendly and professional, but it felt like a bit of an invasion and we were glad when the work was done.

The south facing roof where tiles were removed in readiness to install the solar panels.

By the end of the first day, this new and energy efficient boiler was installed, along with new pumps and all the piping needed to reach the water cylinder upstairs in the loft.

Getting the solar hot water cylinder into the loft wasn`t easy. Everyone held their breath as it was almost too tall for the pitch of the roof. There are not many centimetres between the top of the cylinder and the nearest rafters.

The solar panels should have arrived on the second day. They should have been sent from the Midlands to a depot in Lymington, a town on the New Forest coast not far from us. Somehow, they made a detour to Leamington Spa in Warwickshire!

The tile-less roof was covered with tarpaulin and thankfully, we had no rain that night.

At last the solar panels arrived. The sun came out while the panels were being fitted, so the engineers had to cover the panels as they quickly become too hot to handle.

Pipes from the panels to the cylinder.

A new set of dials and measurements to get used to. The solar system was made in Germany ( although the cylinder was manufactured in Blackpool, England). When my son arrived and went to inspect the attic and the new equipment, he felt as though he was in a U boat. Someone has been watching too many WW II films!

The solar panels in place and in action. We now have masses of wonderful hot water. We switch on the pump for a while in the evening and first thing in the morning, but the gas boiler will, hopefully, only be needed for water on rare occasions.

This is something we have wanted to do for years. Now we will wait and see how much energy has been saved by both the new boiler and the solar hot water. It was a busy, noisy way to spend our Easter holiday but , so far, worth doing!


Bovey Belle said...

Well done - a wise investment I think. Had we been staying here "forever" we might have done similar, as we have wonderful south-facing "catslide" roof, as you know, but we worked out that the investment wasn't worth it knowing that we were going to be downsizing when D left school.

I can imagine how intrusive having builders in virtually every room was, but a job well done by the look of things.

rachel said...

How very interesting - and the panels aren't as ugly as I'd imagined. Definitely on my future list of things to do - just need to find the house first.....

Kath said...

I will be very interested to know how you get on with your new system.