Alternatives to gas for central heating and domestic water heating?

I've got this flat that has no gas supply of its own. I think it would cost me a few hundred pounds to have a gas main laid on. After that, I'd need to fork out another few hundred to install a combi boiler to heat the DHW and the C/H radiators. I can imagine the total cost amounting to way over 1000. I'm wondering if there are other avenues I could consider for heating.
There's electricity of course but it's obviously expensive to run. What other fuels could I use that would eliminate that expense of a gas main installation?
What about (a) oil and (b)coal or coke? Obviously these are potentially messier than gas, but what about the actual cost, both for the initial installation and then the running costs? Has anyone used these fuels for central heating and tapwater heating?
There seems to be a likelihood that gas will get more expensive in the future too, which is another reason I'm keen to know about any viable alternatives.
I remember when I was in Canada about 15 years ago, I noted that many people used oil-fired warm-air central heating. But the boiler looked like a large and expensive item.
Thanks for any suggestions or advice.
J
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Jimmy wrote:

Oil will require an exterior storage tank. Will that be possible with your flat? Solid fuel will also require storage - do you have a suitable area?
Gas or electric may be the only practical solution.
Sheila
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On Thu, 13 Jan 2005 16:18:33 -0500, S Viemeister

Yes. There is room outside for a tank, provided it's not too massive. How big does the oil tank need to be? Can it be positioned against the building? Does it have to be within x feet of the road for filling purposes?
Space for a coal bunker is also feasable. I have Victorian fireplaces in two rooms that could be opened up to take a coke-burning boiler, I'm guessing.
J
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wrote:

Oil is an economical fuel and modern boilers do not have smell problems. However it is not generally suitable for installation above the ground floor so the first question is do you have a ground floor location available for the boiler (wall mounted ones are available but lifting oil does give rise to extra work for the fuel pump). Oil tanks must be installed to comply with building regs and also the control of pollution act. You would be well advised to take a look at the OFTEC website for details. Harlequin fuel tanks is another useful site as is Firebird Boilers or Trianco Boilers. Google is your friend in this. You can even have outdoor boiler models with their own weatherproof casings. Tank location is quite stringent but fuel delivery tankers have lo-o-o-ong hoses and can cope with up to 25 metres normally although the tanker drivers find dragging this length of pipe out somewhat onerous Your concept of the costs of installing central heating do seem to be somewhat unreal even allowing for you carrying out most of the work yourself.
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On Thu, 13 Jan 2005 22:45:49 +0000 (UTC), "John"

Yes indeed. The flat is on the ground floor.

Thanks for the lead.

Actually, the central heating system (radiators and pipework) is already installed. It was running off a gas boiler in the flat above. But now we want to split the system so that each flat is independedent. So apart from a minor alteration to the plumbing, the only real expense is getting a boiler installed plus the means to fuel it. Sounds like oil might be an option. has anyone had an oil-fired boiler and tank installed? Care to reveal the cost?
J
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wrote:

<<<snipped>>>
What? The flat above yours has gas? Why not get the gas co. to take a tapping off it and fit a separate meter for your flat? I'm sure that won't cost hundreds and hundreds of pounds. You already have pipework to radiators and things, which should also be easily altered to make two separate smaller systems from one large one.
I think you should check the pricing of a gas supply and boiler thoroughly first before jumping in to alternative fuels and things.
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wrote:

Definitely true. A floor mounted oil combi would be about standard fridge size or wider, and would cost around 1500 then there's the tank at anything from 300 to 750 plus civils to construct a base which might account for about 50 or so materials. Its unlikely that you could fully commission an oil boiler yourself so again another 100 or so depending on geographic location The old rads and pipes will require cleaning out which even diy needs chemicals. This would be a common cost to whatever fuel is eventually decided upon though. Although the oil combi is a storage type and can give high flow rates (until the store is depleted) so much more user friendly than MOST gas combis it does look like having a few hundred pounds cost to install a gas supply isn't really going to tip the scales towards oil.
In this case I'd say a formal enquiry to a gas supplier for a quote is neccessary, together with consideration of a Glow worm 30CXi condensing gas combi or similar.
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If gas is that close, then go for it. The oil tank installation will probably cost more than the gas pipework. Piped natural gas is seriously superior to oil and far more attractive to potential purchasers, for good reason.
Christian.
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Jimmy wrote:

About a grand and a half to two grand.
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And some.

> combi boiler to heat the DHW and the C/H radiators.
And some.

A reasonable choice when gas is not available.
and (b)coal or coke?
Solid fuel is a pain in the arse. Last resort territory, really, except for nice solid fuel fires when you want to relax, but not every day.

The alternatives will also rise in price.

Warm air is available, but very expensive to retrofit to a house not designed for it. Wet radiators are much easier to install and can run off oil.

Install gas if it is available. It will add to the value of your property and is a lot less hassle than oil or solid fuel. If it isn't possible, go with oil. It will still cost many thousands to install.
Christian.
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If a gas main is available for a few hundred quid, then go for gas. 1000 is very cheap for a main and CH system in a flat, so expect x 2. If you own the flat it will be a selling item and you will get the capital cost back when you sell.
Forced air can be fitted but expesnive as ducting has to be fitted. Probably best to go for rads.
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Yes - both. Have also used LPG. Other obvious one missing is woodchip.
All are far more expensive than mains gas so if it really is a "few hundred" to get it piped in then do it.
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Oil boiler to rads will be your best option, oil is cheap enough and the installation costs will be very similar to gas but without the connection cost, as other posters have said though 1K is too little 2-3 I would have thought
--
.

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wrote:

Thanks for the input. Does that 2-3K include the installation of the rads and their pipework or just the tank and boiler? I already have the c/h rads and their associated plumbing installed. All I need is a boiler and the means to fuel it. (then the minor plumbing work to connect it up to my existing pipework, which I can do myself at a pinch).
J
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My price included the rads, at a guess- 6-700 for the boiler, 2-300 for the tank, plus installation, 2-3 days work so about 1500 in total
--
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You must seriously live up north somewhere! You'd be lucky to get a boiler alone installed for 1500 quid, let alone tanks and rads.
Christian.
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700-800 for the boiler then(just looked it up), you reckon 7-800 for the boiler installation? sounds too much to me, putting in an oil boiler is a doddle
--
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Down here you have to plead with a plumber to quote you. British Gas would probably charge 2500+ just to swap a boiler. You might get someone to install for 1500, but it would require a lot of phoning around. You won't get anyone round here installing radiators and tanks as well for that money.
Christian.
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I am just talking about the boiler Christian, BTW I'm in Suffolk. The op said he could do the pipework himself if needed, to get anywhere near the type of money he wants to spend this is the best option, as I said putting in an oil boiler is a doddle (have done three installations myself and I am no plumber/heating engineer) He can buy a tank for 200 squids and put it down on fully supported slabs or a small slab.
This weekend we have a boiler change at our village hall, its costing about 3 grand with the boiler being about 1900 IIRC (oil combi, industrial model), the rest is on a new plastic tank on a new base (included), removing existing cylinder, re-routing/new pipework, putting in new control system and installing 2 electric water heaters *and* this wasn't the cheapest quote but they do come recommended
--
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Yes, things seem a lot more reasonable in Suffolk.
Christian.
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