Wednesday, 23 April 2014

On the move...

Quite a disrupted year so far ...
It started off with a broken collar bone towards the end of January, which put me out of action (in business terms) for about 3 weeks, then I had a solid week of major disruption in the workshop & the flat above it, while the storage heaters were ripped out and a 'wet' heating system was installed along with an air-source heat pump and hot-water tank, and now we are on the move domestically (though the business is staying put)! Not sure how much 'holiday' time I still have available... :-(

My wife (an Anglican priest) has a new appointment so we are moving to Coventry from Stroud - from a house with quite large rooms and a double garage to one with somewhat smaller rooms and no garage, loft or cellar - rather a problem as the garage was stuffed with all sorts of goodies we have to find space for!

The things you find when you move into a 'new' house... I moved a wardrobe from one room into another the other day and found that not only was the wall behind it completely bare plaster (the rest of the room has lining paper over the plaster but this bit was not even papered), it also had a lot of deep holes in the plaster and into the brick-work, some of which had bits of wood slotted in so clearly there was something heavy attached at some point. A lot of 'making good' to be done here.  :-(

It is amazing the number of people/organisations you have to notify when you move house. Everything from the DVLA - 2 separate envelopes, one for the car registration document and a different post-code for the driving license to any charities you make a regular payment to as they want to send you annual returns etc... all financial institutions where you have money (banks, share holdings, building societies), and of course all your friends! Thank goodness most of them can be notified by a single email to multiple addresses... It still took me all morning and part of the afternoon though - and some I have not been able to do as they need proof of the new address - utility bills or bank statements in your name at the new address. Just as well they don't all need this or you would not be able to supply it!

Going back to the heat pump (which is basically a large fridge in reverse), it comes with the added incentives (over & above the reduced cost of operation and reduced CO2 into the atmosphere) that A) I no longer need gas cylinders for the hot water geyser - and expensive way of supplying hot water - and B) there is a Government pay-out for renewable heat generation. Running the pump to produce hot water consumes less electricity than would be used to heat the water directly so for 1 unit used you get the equivalent of ~ 3.7 unit's-worth of heating. The extra 2.7 units qualify for the subsidy. They work out how much heat the house looses per day on the basis of the construction, insulation levels and wall/roof area (assuming a room temperature of 21°), and the amount of hot water you are expected to use; and calculate how many units you will therefore use in total, subtract the units used to run the pump to produce this amount of heat and pay you for the remainder... It should pay for itself within about 7 years I think, and the Barn is now really cosy.

Now I have to work out the most efficient way of using the pump - do I program it to heat the place up to more than the required temperature using night-rate power (at half the price) and use the fact that the walls are 2 foot thick as a heat-source for the rest of the day (so the pump hardly works on the day-rate power) or do I rely on generating enough power from the PV array to run it during the day, saving on the amount of power I buy in even at the night rate because I don't need the boosted temperature to start with??? - I think probably one during the winter and the other in summer! - I have a meter showing whether the PV array is generating more (or less) power than I am using and by how much much, so if it goes above a certain level I can turn up the heat for free - and I'm still getting paid for generating the electricity in the first place! (cue a smug grin...)

Having it fitted did also mean I had the most massive spring clean ever which I guess was not a bad thing!

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