Heat Pumps FAQs‎ > ‎

Heat - Fuel costs, efficency, useage and insulation

The cost of fuel is often confused with the cost of heating. 
If the heating system is inefficient then even the cheapest fuel will cost the earth to heat up a cold house, factory or office.
 
This presentation works through the fuel costs; and the system efficiencies in particular and comes to some surprising results.
But that’s the whole story...
Oil based fuels spiked in Dec 2009 from 30% lower than now to 25% higher. Wood pellets follow the price of oil (!) – though not as dramatically
And then we have the boring bits; Efficiency, Controls and Insulation.  These can turn the above graph on its head…
 
Efficiency of the boilers/heaters/systems
lpg            90-98%
oil            90-97%
wood pellets   95-98%
gas            50-98%
coal           20-70%
woodchip       60-90%
electricity    90-440% (620% in optimum conditions)
economy 7      90-440% (620% in optimum conditions)
 
Those incredible figures for electricity are based on heat pumps – ground, air and water source and they’ve improved since 2011.
But they don’t work in all situations and typical off the shelf heat pumps work at efficiencies of 180-280%. The efficiencies stated in the UK tend to be optimistic.
There is an independent German test we’ve based our figures on – see Institut IES
Our previous graph becomes…

Controls?
This includes; More thermostats, more sensitive thermostats, managing different zones, working with the outside temperature, switching on and off remotely and automatically – not just time-switched
Otherwise typically add 33% to the previous figures
 
Insulation?
Wall, ceiling and floor where practical.
Otherwise typically add 20% to the previous figures

Conclusion
Insulate as well as you can.
Include in up to date controls.
Then look at the fuels options.