Heating suggestions for a small, old house

Hi all
We are looking at a early 19th Century 1 up, 1 down cottage that has a later rear extension that adds a kitchen and an upstairs bedroom. Heating currently is a solid fuel fire place in the lounge with a back boiler. There is no mains gas available in the area but Economy 7 is a possibility. The older part of the building has 18" to 2 feet thick cob/stone and render walls. The newer is a cavity wall. The place is quite small.
I'm after suggestions as to how to heat the place most efficiently price wise and also with an eye to the cost an ease of installation.
All ideas welcome (or useful web links)
FR
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"Frazzled" wrote | We are looking at a early 19th Century 1 up, 1 down cottage that | has a later rear extension that adds a kitchen and an upstairs | bedroom. Heating currently is a solid fuel fire place in the | lounge with a back boiler. There is no mains gas available in | the area but Economy 7 is a possibility. | The older part of the building has 18" to 2 feet thick cob/stone | and render walls. The newer is a cavity wall. The place is quite small. | I'm after suggestions as to how to heat the place most efficiently price | wise and also with an eye to the cost an ease of installation.
If it's an open fire with a back boiler, you could replace it with a Parkray or similar closed in solid fuel roomheater. This does limit you to gravity circulation primary hot water, as the roomheater has to be able to dump heat into the hot water cylinder (so slow recovery), but you can have a pumped radiator circuit and with a vented cylinder and loft tank you can have a pumped shower. Cylinder will need an immersion heater for summer.
The Parkray will need ash emptying every morning, and refilling morning and evening, but unlike an open fire it does not (should not) be put out, just close it up at night and you will have hot water in the morning.
Not sure how much they cost, but it would probably minimise the plumbing work and take no additional space. The slow constant heat would also suit a place with high thermal mass, as if you let the cottage get cold it will probably take a week to get warm again.
Otherwise, you are looking at Econ 7. Easiest to DIY install (just wiring) but the heaters have to be adequately sized and can be quite bulky, although the modern ones are better than they used to be.
Owain
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A friend of mine had a gas tank in the garden, (fenced off so wasnt an eyesore. You could also consider oil fired C/H.
Dont know the costs, but unless something has changed, electric is an expensive way to heat a house.
--
Richard Faulkner

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writes

It is, and their ability to predict the weather is less than perfect too. And theyre bulky.
Flat panel solar space heating pays back well, if the design is ok to start with, and is very diyable. Try alt.solar.thermal for details.
If your prime consideration is cost, dont forget to mix free scrap wood in with the coal.
NT
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Frazzled wrote:

I'd consider oil. It'll cost you very little to run, and you won't need a particularly big tank.
--
Grunff

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Frazzled wrote:

Mmm. Firs of all don't use electric. It's cheap to install, but will soon un-pay for itself in increased bills.
First thing I'd do is insulate to the hilt and draught proof.
I'd maybe then look at a stove for solid or multi-fuel, or put in a small boiler like a combi, and a couple of rads.
I know its a big step, but for a property this size an oil fired combi will do everything you need, isn't so hard to install, and will allow open fires to be used when you want an open fire, not when you feel freezing cold and the coal has just run out...
I would say that the cost of installing such a system would be more than met by increased value of the property, and therefore is easily added to the mortgage, if cash is tight right now. The mortgage repayments would be covered by the lower fuel bills from not using electricity :-)

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I'd avoid LPG and electric. Both too expensive, especially as you have an old house that might not be amenable to installing modern levels of ventilation and draughtproofing.
I'd say one of your main options is oil, if you can fit the tank in the garden and find somewhere for the boiler. This would be a very convenient option in use.
The other option is to replace your solid fuel fire place with a proper stove, which is more efficient and can produce enough heat to run a few radiators as well as a hot water cylinder. The hot water cylinder obviously should have electrical elements for summer, preferably 6kW (i.e. 2 x 3kW).
Something like http://www.chaseheating.co.uk/country8b.html
Could do. This gives 7kW to the water, which allows almost 2.5kW for each room (2.5kW for the room it is installed with). Obviously, if you use all the heat, then the cylinder will have to be electric, although most of the time, the TRVs will turn down and allow a good amount in.
You could go bigger like,
http://www.chaseheating.co.uk/stratford.html
This has a huge output to the water, probably far in excess of what you need for 3 (even large) rooms and a hot water cylinder. There are plenty of models in between.
If cost is less of an issue and the kitchen large enough, a Rayburn might be in order.
Christian.
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I'd backup the suggestions for oil - the worry obviously is where the price of oil is going to go to but it's probabaly safe to assume that because the taxation level on heating oil is low, it's price won't rise at the same rate as petrol. My single storey cottage is reasonably insulated but also reasonably ventilated, and I use 1300 litre of oil a year heating living/kitchen, sitting room, 2 double beds and 2 single beds.
I adapted the cottage I have for maximum living space and forgot about somewhere for the CH boiler !!! Solved the problem by getting a Camray boiler from Boulter Boilers some 8 years ago - this is bolted to the outside wall some 5 ft up with the pipes running through the wall. Entirely successfull.
Rob
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