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Author Topic: Aspire Energy ASHP Proposal  (Read 1858 times)
Titus
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« on: February 03, 2020, 10:11:39 PM »

Does anyone have any knowledge or experience of a company called Aspire Energy, please?  I am a newcomer to the world of renewable energy systems.

They have quoted me a cost of £15,000 to install an LG 'Therma V' air-source heat pump system in my small 2-bedroom bungalow, to replace the existing original mains gas boiler (which still works well and is safe, although probably not very efficient).

This seems to be a lot of money.  My present gas bills are around £500 per annum and, being 76 years old, I am unlikely still to be living here in 10 years time even if I am still around.  To be honest, I am much more interested in saving money than in saving  the planet.

The proposal seems unlikely to be cost-effective, but what do you folk think / advise, please?
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Countrypaul
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2020, 10:59:30 PM »

Heat pumps work best if the house is well insulated and airtight (which usually means some sort of mechanical ventillation) so that the water circulating in the heating system can be at a low temperature, If using radiators they generaly need to be much larger than used with a gas boiler (which runs at a high temperature) and the pipework for those radiators needs to be large enough for a much higher flow rate than a gas boiler so if you have microbore piping that could be inadequate.

Just to recover the cost of the ASHP they are propsing on the information you have given would be in excess of 30 years - longer than the lifetime of the ASHP!

Has the company mentioned RHI at all, a scheme where you effectively get paid for the ASHP over 7 years? What size ASHP are they suggesting?

The general view is if you have gas and an older property (ie one not at current insulation standards or better) you are best staying with gas.
Given you don't expect to be there in 10 yrs time, I am extremely sceptical of whether an ASHP would be approprate, let alone suitable for your property.

If you could cost some more details of your property, such as amounts of insulation, window and door details (double or tripple glazed, air tightness, door construction), floor/celing area, boiler size, age and type (eg. combi), raditor sizes and quantity etc. it would help to give a more detailed idea of things.

Are they suggesting the ASHP provide Hot Water as well as heat?

You may be better off spending some money on additional insulation to reduce the gas bill rather than changing technology.  if the gas boiler is old it **might** be worth chaning to a condensing boiler, but again that may never pay back.

Have you had any other quotes? 
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JOE1871
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2020, 01:24:46 PM »

 Could you give more info on your present gas boiler and the controls ie is it fully pumped or open vented perhaps a few pictures?
 Then think you would get some recommendations to stay with the gas!
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marshman
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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2020, 03:04:58 PM »

That sounds lot of money. I paid £21000 for a ground sourced heat pump installation (ground source roughly twice as expensive as air source due to the need for the ground pipework) for a large system on a large house, all fully MCS etc. so I could claim the RHI.  Even at £10,000 you will will probably not get your money back on your small property, let alone "save" anything. There is also the danger that the ASHP could cost more to run if your house is not well insulated and the radiators are not sized correctly.  If you are happy with your current system then my advice in your situation is stay with it.

If the quote includes correctly sized radiators and upping the insulation etc. then you may be happy with it but if you are looking to save money forget it. It may cost less to run - if installed properly - but it could easily cost more if not. But even if running correctly it will still consume £150 to £200 a year in electric (educated guess as mine uses around £200 per year) so your "saving" will only be £300 a year. OK you will get an RHI payment but I guess that could be around £1000 per year depending on your EPC heat requirement among other things, so a long time to "break even" with quite a high level of risk.

Bear in mind you also have the hassle factor, and a learning curve on using the new system - a heat pump should not be treated like a conventional boiler. They like to run for long periods at lower temperatures. Also they are not brilliant at producing piping hot water for showers, baths etc. and you will have to get used to your radiators feeling cool rather than hot as they probably do now.

I am all for energy efficiency, saving money, insulation etc. I have said all of the above trying to look at it from your point of view - 76 years old, working gas boiler that you are "happy" with etc. So ask your self are you prepared to spend a large amount of money on something that may not keep you as comfortable as you are now?

At the very least get a quote/survey/opinion from at least another 2 companies.  I got proper quotes from 4 registered and "reputable" companies ranging from £20,000 up to £34,000 and only one inspired me with any confidence, they also happened to be the cheapest - and yes they did a good job - no upfront payments, job started and finished on time, and no real issues.

ROger

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RIT
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2020, 03:27:15 PM »

Does anyone have any knowledge or experience of a company called Aspire Energy, please?

No one can know anything about this company as it was formed 28/8/2019 and the secretary/director who was named when it was formed resigned on 20/1/2020, to be replaced by a new person. So the claimed, "With over 10 yearís experience Aspire Energy Group" must relate to the employment time of the staff, rather than the age of the business. And there is no indication of "Group" being anything other than part of the company name instead of this company being part of a larger group.

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/12176641/filing-history

So the company has no trading history, no accounts history and no real valid company structure, where you can see directors who own and operate the business. Instead, the real owner is listed as a person with significant control rather than the director. This person seems to be the only shareholder as the company was created with just a single £1 share.


So if you want/need this system you should look for additional quotes. If you have started down this route because your current gas boiler is reaching its end of life you should also get some quotes for just replacing that as even with current government plans it will have a 15+ year life and when it then needs replacing there will most likely be government subsidies.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2020, 03:50:04 PM by RIT » Logged

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brackwell
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2020, 05:26:25 PM »

At age 76yrs are there not grants etc for replacement of a boiler ?  Perhaps they are means tested?
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TT
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« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2020, 05:48:44 PM »

Given the info you supplied, I would be speaking to age concern to see if there were any deals to be had, but primarily for swapping out your boiler, a new condensing boiler.

Speak to a heating engineer!!
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TT
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« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2020, 06:04:24 PM »

Read the original post again.

Get the boiler serviced and see what that leads to
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Antman
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« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2020, 07:01:44 PM »

Welcome Titus
It would be interesting to know if the company you mention 'cold-called' or how you came upon them...?

Simple maths, £500pa gas consumption, 10yrs expected remaining living in the property = £5,000.
Even IF you have to replace the boiler at some point that is circa £3,000-£5,000 if you get a local Gas Safe registered plumber to do it. And then your gas consumption would reduce to some extent.
So max cost = £10,000 for 10 years - still nowhere near the ASHP cost and it is a big IF as to whether that is suitable as a direct replacement for the boiler without other costly system changes. And there is the ASHP running cost on top.

We can negate annual maintenance costs for both options as the ASHP will require servicing as well.

Also do not assume that you are adding value to the property for a future sale. You won't get back the cost.
It is also worth considering that in my area, whenever bungalows come up for sale, developers are buying them for demolition and building 4-6 flats/apartments on the site - and making a fortune fume  If your bungalow is suitable for such redevelopment, then whatever you spend is worth diddly squat in sale value.

Whilst not in the spirit of the forum and eco-living, there are times when sticking with what you have is the best option. You would do best investing improved insulation if not already in place, cutting draughts and maybe cheaper improvements to CH like thermostatic radiator valves if not already fitted. Such improvements will achieve noticeable reductions in energy consumption regardless of the source. For a small property, if you did change the boiler, a combi makes much better sense as you only heat the water you need rather than having the lossses associated with a cylinder.
One of the cheapest and easiest ways to instantly reduce energy consumption is to change old incandescent light bulbs to LED if you have not done so already.

Regards
Antman
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« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2020, 08:27:14 PM »

Welcome Titus,

Ant has summed it up perfectly, looking forward  to hearing your journey.
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« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2020, 09:29:44 AM »

Back of fag packet calculations.

£15k - £7k RHI (mentioned above) = £8K

Even if it cuts your bill to zero (which it wont / cant) that is 16 years to get you capital outlay back, ignoring the interest you would have on the £15k in the mean time.

Seems like it's to expensive to justify if you are only their for next 10 years. As above, I would suggest, cavity wall insulation (if possible), loft insulation top up, modern central heating controls and thermostatic radiator valves, newer condensing combi boiler (depending upon age and type of system already installed), and then possibly new windows if you have single glazing. I would stick to that order of implementing them as the first three are likely to be less than £3k, the boiler about £3k, and then windows / doors c. £3-5k.

Depending upon what you have at the moment, spending £3k on insulation and CH controls could cut your bills quite a bit for 20% of the cost of what is proposed.

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Countrypaul
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« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2020, 10:34:58 AM »

The cost of gas for central heating is around 3p/kWh with the cost of electricity is around 13p/kWh - obviously prices vary from these figures depending on location etc.

If we assume your central heating is 75% efficient (you suggest it is not the most efficient boiler), then that works out at about 4p/kWh. You are spending £500 pa on gas, so around 12500kWh of heat.

To get the cost of the heating down to the same level using an ASHP would require an average COP of 13/4 = 3.33.  If you read reviews of ASHP installations you would be in the top performing portion of those installed. It is very likely that you would need to run the heating at a low temperature (to allow the ASHP to work most efficiently), plus probably have a different source of heat for your Hot Water (though ASHP can provide hot water at upto 60C it makes the pump run at its least efficient). In a hard winter the COP of the heat pump is likely to drop significantly and cost you much more in electricity - where as the efficiency of the boiler remains largely the same.

The result would be that even if you have a very good installation it is highly unlikely you would save any money on heating by installing an Air Source Heat Pump and you would have to outlay a huge amount on the pump itself.

Stay with the gas boiler, even then upgrading to a modern gas boiler might cost you £1500 (lowest sensible figure I found), a figure you may be unlikely to recover in under 10 years. Saving £150/yr in gas would require that the new boiler is 30% more efficient which, unless your boiler is very old, would seem improbable.

If your boiler breaks down and needs replacing then you can compare the £1500 for the boiler replacement with the figures for the Air Source Heat Pump £15,000.

If you were extending and renovating the bungalow the figures would be different, but with the information you have provided stay with the gas boiler.

If you have any money to spend, improve insulation, reduce draughts annd improve windows and doors. There may even be help available for improving insulation - I know my father managed to get some free insulation (and installation) a couple of years ago - but that may no longer be available.
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oliver90owner
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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2020, 01:15:34 PM »

While I agree with the suggestions re energy source, the OPíS original question was of Aspire Energy.

While there appears to be no detrimental comments re the firmís previous limited existence/performance, I would be be very careful in my dealings before committing funds to a new energy firm - there have been too many in the past that have risen, fallen - and risen again under a new guise.

Perhaps the sponsorís of this forum, might be better positioned (a long, successful track record) to provide these installations?  That might be better than promoting other companies on the forum?
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