Warm air or radiators

Hi My house has warm air central heating using gas and my gas bill is about 350 a year. I also use gas for cooking and hot water and have a power shower connected to the hot water tank. Has anyone ever done a comparison on costs, or replaced their warm air central heating with radiators and is there, as I have been told, a significant cost saving of gas, if replacing the warm central heating with radiators?
If I got a new heating system etc would I still be able to use my power shower or will that have to be changed also?
The heating was installed when the house was built in 1991 and I have lived in it since new. I ask because I just had it serviced by Scottish Gas and the engineer said it is getting near the end of it's life and did I want Scottish Gas to give me a quote for a replacement system using radiators. If I did decide to replace it, it would not be with Scottish Gas.
Thinking about the cost of a service contract anyway I have paid Scottish Gas about 100 a year since 1993 and if I had radiators, if something went wrong with the plumbing I could easilly get that fixed (relative a plumber) and just pay an engineer if there was something wrong with the gas so would not need a service contract, another saving.
I live in Scotland if it is relevant
Thanks for any info Tricia
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You're unlikely so save much on your gas bills. Stick with the system you have so long as it works and you're happy with it. Even if you could reduce your gas bills to zero it could take about 10 years to recover the cost of installing a new system.

No reason why not, providing the correct type of system is installed.

Sounds like marketing bulls**t. Our warm air system lasted 35 years before having to be replaced due to the flue disintegrating. We were quite happy with it while it lasted but eventually had to replace it with a new system because the old flue followed a torturous route through the house which would have failed to satisfy current safety regs if re-used by a new flue. Re-routing bulky warm air ducting to accommodate a relocated replacement warm air unit would have been impracticable so we went for a radiator system.

If they're anything like British Gas that's probably a wise choice.

Well with warm air there's very little that can go wrong with the ducting (which is probably not covered in the contract anyway) so the only potentially expensive repairs would be to the warm air unit. So the situation isn't much different.
I paid BG similar amounts for a maintenance contract for many years only to be told "Sorry mate, we only cover the 'primary flue' - that bit of the flue isn't covered".
With hindsight I'd have been much better off without the maintenance contract.
--
Mike Clarke

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wrote:

about
on
replacing
lived
went
plumber)
would
Many warm air units have long flexible fan flues, that take air from outside only, not from inside the house. They can also have electrostatic air filters on them - well worth getting. Also you can have a ventilation aspect incorporated, although maybe with some ducting changes in the loft or wherever. They also circulate air in summer to keep the place cool. Humidification can be incorporated as well. Keep the warm air ducting and no rads on walls. New registers can be fitted if you want nice shiny chrome versions. Do your research if replacing as the likes of Scottish gas will only replace the nearest type for type and will not install one say with a more flexible room sealed flue. They don't have that much experience of system design at all, just maintenetance and replacing type of type. See Johnson & Starley.
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Mike Clarke wrote:

Scottish Gas *are* British Gas. They even re-use British Gas posters with an extra bit in not-quite-matching blue to change the British into Scottish.
I wonder why they don't call themselves English Gas down south...
Owain
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The English are so sensitive to identity. I know one Scot whop gets pissed off because the M6 says Carlisle North, Not Scotland North. He say the English are sneering Scotland.
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Doctor Evil wrote:

I thought whops began at Calais, not Carlisle? :-)
Owain
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"....said it is getting near the end of it's life"
If so, then the only part that would need relacing would be the heater/fan unit. There'd be no point in ripping out the ducts. I think Johnson & Starley are the only UK manufacturers of direct gas fired & probably made your unit. Ring them, get numbers for a few local installers and get costs for replacement and service for your model. I think they may say it has lots of life left in it. Dump the Gas contract if you find a reliable or cheaper alternative service contractor.
Another option would be to fit a gas boiler with a water/air heater battery in an air handler/fan. Fairly simple but probably beyond the ability of most heating contractors.
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I prefer this as the boiler can be used to heat the DHW. A high flow combi would do, so no space taken by a cylinder. Designed from the outset, the air handling unit , and boiler, could be in the loft.
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combi
Also, I have never come across a cheap air handling unit with a copper coil heater battery and fan inside. There is little in them but they cost the earth bacuse they are commercial. I know someone who made his own super cheaply out of marine ply, coated in varnish on all sides. He bought a fan and copper heater battery, cut it all out and put it together with screws and silicon. An access piece on hinges, for cleaning. Worked wonderfully.
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Me, too.
Wonder if it's the same bloke. Nah.
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No. I only associate with intelligent people.
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We did just that about 5 years ago, replacing a J & S warm air unit with a Combi-boiler. It was a DIY job, which cost 1000 all in. Our gas bill dropped by around 90 per year, so we're still some way off it paying for itself :-)

We've a mixer shower direct off the combi, AFAIK you can't run a power shower off a combi.

Our GWA unit was 22 years old & still going strong, but SWMBO wanted radiators, so radiators we got.

The biggest benefit for us was the space reclaimed by ripping out the cupboards containing the unit (in kitchen) and the DHW tank (first floor bedroom). Two square metres doesn't sound much, but both rooms became square and feel a lot bigger, and the boiler's now in a utility room, out of the way. Plus the positioning of furniture's more flexible, with no vents to keep clear of.

Snap, Glenrothes.
cheers
--
Keith

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writes

about
on
replacing
If you replaced it with a modern arm air unit you would have dropped by around 100 per ann.

lived
Did you write that properly? She wanted "radiators" when none were there?

went
plumber)
would
Should have put the warm air unit in the loft, where all equipment should go.
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Ever tried politics? Make wild assertions based on figures plucked from thin air whilst knowing sod all about my lifestyle or house.

Did you read it properly? That's exactly what I said.

Yup, a new equipment room and insulated ducting on my flat roof would have saved me a fortune.
--
Keith

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writes

As I designed the things I know what I am on about. Forced air is cheaper to run than rads. You can have the room temperature lower as cold stops are eliminated using a positive pressure system. If you have a lifestyle of unset hours they are business. They are on-demand heat. The warm up is super fast.

there?
I am amazed! It's always the other way around. She wanted to have rads on the wall? And you let her?

floor
Glad to hear.
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By your calculations a whopping 2.7 pence per day.

Horses for courses, some people actually like temperature variations throughout a room, SWMBO revels in warming her arse on a hot rad, doing the same over a floor mounted vent doesn't seem so appealing, somehow.

A conversion had left a new bedroom unheated and it's much easier running 10mil copper under floorboards than 8 by 4 ducting, an 'old' heating system was replaced by new as daughter's asthma was perceived to be worsened by the 'dusty' system, and I've already listed the other deciding factors:

--
Keith

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The IMM wanker recommends removing header tanks and storage cylinders 'to save space'. But is in favour of warm air heating.
Draw your own conclusions...
--
*If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
  Click to see the full signature.
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wrote:

..this man is mad ..not just a tad ..he's clearly all the way ..the tossing of cabers ..he practices each day
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wrote:

dropped by

from
cylinders 'to

Yes indeed, but I suspect his 'thinking' is along the lines of theoretical efficiencies, the space use for hot and cold water tanks is better used for forced air heating equipment.
As you say, if one understands modern forced air systems, draw your own conclusions...
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