Everything You Need To Know About Air Source Heat Pumps

An air source heat pump uses innovative technology that allows you to harness the air outside to heat your home. This means that not only can they save you money, but they are also completely renewable!

Read on to find out more about how air source heat pumps work, what kind of houses they can be fitted in, and how you can benefit from having an air source heat pump installed in your home. We’ll also tell you about a new government scheme that will allow you to get an air source heat pump installed at a fraction of the cost!

An air source heat pump outside a house with pink flowers next to it

What is an air source heat pump?

Air source heat pumps are a completely renewable way of heating your home. They work by converting heat in the air outside your home, into heat inside your home!

They’re at their best in mild temperatures, but advances in technology mean that they can even work well in locations with sub freezing temperatures. Plus, they’ll still save energy!

Air source heat pumps can be used in conjunction with an efficient gas compressor boiler. This is known as a hybrid heat pump. The hybrid heat pump knows automatically what combination of energy will be best at any time. For example, it knows whether it will be more efficient to heat your home using the air, a combination of the air and the boiler, or solely the boiler. It always chooses the cheapest and most efficient option.

How does an air source heat pump work?

An air source heat pump works by extracting heat from the air outside, and converting it into energy that is used to heat your home or your hot water. The pump does this by using a compressor and two sets of copper coils (one inside your home and one outside). It works almost in the same way as your fridge does, only the opposite way round.

When using a hybrid heat pump, the system chooses the most efficient way to heat your home based on the temperature outside, and the current cost of gas and electricity. It will always choose the method to heat your home which is the most efficient, and the cheapest.

For a great explanation of how hybrid heat pumps work, you can watch this video by Daikin.

How much does an air source heat pump cost?

When considering the cost of an air source heat pump, you need to think about two things. First, the cost of the pump itself along with the installation. Then you need to think about how much the energy needed to run the pump will cost.

Hassle Free Boilers are currently able to offer installation of Hybrid Heat Pumps in conjunction with the Government’s Green Homes Grant. This means that you could get your hybrid heat pump and a brand new intergas boiler installed for as little as £2,500. That’s the same cost as a new boiler!

Your air source heat pump runs on electricity, but because they are extracting renewable heat from the air outside the heat output is more than the electricity input.

Can an air source heat pump replace an oil boiler?

In many cases it is possible to heat your home entirely using an air source heat pump, so yes, you could use one to replace your oil boiler.

Air source heat pumps heat at quite a low level, so where very hot water is required (eg. for things like doing the washing up) you may need to get an additional electrical heating element installed.

Air source heat pump outside of a home with red flowers near to it

What type of home is an air source heat pump suited to?

Air Source Heat Pumps are usually either fitted to a wall or placed on the ground outside, so you will need to be sure that you have the space. If your home is a listed building you may need to get permission to have the pump installed.

It’s also worth noting that air source heat pumps are designed to heat consistently at a low level, so to be at maximum efficiency it’s important that your home is well insulated to keep the heat in.

What’s the difference between an air source heat pump and a hybrid?

The difference between an air source heat pump and a hybrid is that while an air source heat pump works as a standalone unit that is used to heat your home, the hybrid system also gives you the option of using a boiler or a combination of boiler and heat pump.

This is useful for times when factors like the temperature outside and the cost of electricity mean that to achieve the greatest level of efficiency, the pump could benefit from a little support from the boiler.

Benefits of an air source heat pump

The biggest benefit to getting an air source heat pump is that it will save you money. Air source heat pumps generate more renewable energy than it takes to run them, so you will be spending less on your energy bills. Not only this, but it means that you will be using less carbon, and doing your bit to save the planet. Find out even more ways of reducing your gas bills, in our handy guide.

Opting for a hybrid option is a great way to gain all the benefits of an air source heat pump, while still having a gas boiler as a back up. This means that you can be sure you are always heating your home in the cheapest and most efficient way.

Another reason to consider an air source heat pump is that the government has indicated that they are going to begin phasing out the installation of new gas boilers from 2025, in an effort to make the country more carbon neutral. It makes sense to opt for a lower carbon option for your home now, so that you can be prepared for this.

What is the cost saving of an Air Source Heat Pump?

According to the Energy Saving Trust you could save the following annual savings if you replaced your existing system with an Air Source heat pump:

  • Gas boiler = £400 to £465 saving when replaced
  • Oil boiler = £460 to £545 saving when replaced
  • Electric storage heaters = £800 to £990 saving when replaced
  • LPG boiler = £1,145 to £1,350 saving when replaced

Infographic showing the measures covered in the Green Homes Grant scheme

Get an air source heat pump under the Government Green Homes Grant

The Government Green Homes Grant scheme has been extended to March 2022, and air source heat pumps are listed as primary measures under the scheme.

If you are eligible for the scheme (check eligibility) the government will pay up to £5,000 towards the cost of our renewable heating package (or up to £10,000 if you’re on benefits). Our package includes:

  • A top of the range Intergas condensing boiler.
  • Outdoor Smart Unit which allows the hybrid system to turn the air into heat.
  • Daikin Comfort and Altherma controller to control your new system.
  • 10yr Government backed HIES warranty.

All you’ll need to pay is £2,500, which is the same as the cost of a new boiler! You can even pay this using interest free credit at £68p/m. Get your renewable heating package now.

How To Reduce Your Gas Bill In 8 Steps

With many of us working at home all day, it’s likely that we are switching on our heating more often to keep ourselves warm. Unfortunately, this means that a lot of us are likely to be looking at a gas bill that’s higher than average. This short guide will take you through how to reduce your gas bill and still keep warm!

There are small measures you can implement, such as insulation and draught proofing, which we’ll talk you through. We’ll also cover the more impactful measures you can take by utilizing new technologies like air source heat pumps, solar thermal, new boilers and smart thermostats. These cutting edge developments are probably the most effective way to reduce your bill, and your impact on the planet.

A set of double glazed windows set in wooden frames with a snowy scene seen out of the windows.

1. Double glazing

This is a great way to reduce gas bills.

If you don’t already have double glazing, it’s almost certainly a worthwhile investment. A huge amount of heat can be lost through your windows, it’s estimated that installing double glazing can save the average household £110 per year!

Not only this, but double glazing will mean that your home is quieter and more peaceful, too.

A person insulating loft space with fibre glass material

2. Insulation

Insulating your home is a really effective way to keep the heat in your home, in your home. By doing this your heating system won’t need to work as hard, and you will benefit from lower gas bills.

Most homes are relatively simple to insulate yourself using insulation material purchased from any DIY shop. If you have an older home it can be worth talking with a professional to help.

A draught excluder at the bottom of a wooden door

3. Draught proofing

There’s really no excuse not to draught proof your home! You can buy draught proofing from Amazon or any DIY store, and it’s a job that takes minutes.

Use draught proofing to plug up any gaps around windows and doors, and you’ll soon be feeling cozier and saving money too!

This is a quick and easy way to reduce your gas bill.

A smart meter on a kitchen work surface

4. Smart meter

Smart meters are currently being rolled out by the government in a bid to help people save money.

This technology measure the amount of electricity or gas that you are using, and provide you with a display so that you can see how much you are spending at any one time. They are a great way for you to tell which of your appliances are eating up your energy, so that you can do something about it.

5. Smart thermostat

It’s estimated that the average household could save £80 per year just by turning their thermostat down by one degree, and £75 per year by installing a smart thermostat.

Smart thermostats allow you to do a few things. Firstly, they allow you to choose which rooms in the house to heat. This means that you are only using energy to heat the rooms that you are actually using. Secondly, they allow you to control your heating remotely through your mobile phone. This means that you can ensure you never come home to a cold house – bliss!

Finally, smart thermostats will learn over time exactly how long it takes to heat the different areas of your home. This allows you to set a time when you want your home to have reached a certain temperature.

If you want to get all of the benefits from a smart thermostat, you’ll need to ensure that you have a modern boiler installed that is compatible with smart technology.

Two people standing next to a Worcester Bosch boiler in a utility room

6. Will a new boiler reduce my gas bill?

Now we start talking about the truly effective ways to save yourself some money!

Upgrading your boiler to a new A+ rated boiler is not only estimated to save the average household a whopping £300 per year but it also helps to reduce your carbon footprint. Newer boilers are more efficient, and so don’t need to use as much energy to heat your home.

You’ll also get access to a lot of features that aren’t available on older boilers, such as a programmer, thermostatic radiator controls and individual room thermostats.

If you would like to upgrade your boiler, you can do so by taking advantage of our offer in conjunction with the Government Green Homes Grant. Read on to find out more!

An air source heat pump outside a house with pink flowers next to it

7. Can an Air Source Heat Pump help to reduce my gas bill?

Air Source Heat Pumps are a great way of making your home more efficient. They work by absorbing heat from the air outside, which is then used to heat your home and your hot water. When temperatures get as low as -15°, they still work! So they’re perfect for miserable British winters!

They need electricity to work, but it’s less energy than it produces and therefore are a great way of saving yourself some energy.

Flat plate solar thermal panels on a roof, surrounded by blue skies

8. Solar Thermal Panels can help reduce your gas bill

Solar thermal panels are panels that are installed on your roof for the purpose of using the energy from the sun to heat the water in your home. As they use the power of the sun, solar thermal panels are the most effective in the summer months, however they will still reduce your bills even in the winter.

Depending on the size of your home you can save up to £300 per year by installing Solar Thermal Panels.

Solar Thermal Panels are considered a primary measure under the terms of the Government’s Green Homes Grant, which means that you could get most of the cost of installation covered under the scheme. Plus, if you access the scheme through Hassle Free Boilers, we’ll even throw in a brand new Worcester Bosch boiler, for free!

How to lower your gas bill in winter

In the winter, the biggest use of gas is likely to be through your heating system. Therefore any changes you can make to conserve heat, and heat your home more efficiently, are going to be the most effective. This includes things like:

  • Upgrading your boiler
  • Investing in a smart thermostat
  • Insulation, double glazing and draught proofing
  • Investing in an air source heat pump

How to lower gas bill in summer

In the summer the biggest consumer of gas is likely to be hot water. To save money in the summer, you’ll want to look at heating your hot water more efficiently. Some ways you can do this are:

  • Upgrading your boiler
  • Investing in solar thermal panels

If you order your solar thermal heating solution from Hassle Free Boilers, we’ll include a free boiler and you can cover most of the cost under the Government’s Green Home Grant scheme.

This offer is only available from Hassle Free Boilers, and only for a limited time so why not see if you qualify today?

What Is The Real Cost Of Solar Thermal Panels?

What do solar thermal panels cost? You’ll find out in this article!

Solar thermal panels are an eco-friendly way of heating your hot water. They are not to be confused with solar panels, which is a different technology. 

The installation of solar thermal panels can vary in cost depending on where you get them from, and what type of boiler you have at home. 

At Hassle Free Boilers we’re dedicated to making it as simple as possible for you to evaluate the cost of having your solar thermal panels installed, so we’ll let you know all of the costs up front. 

In this article we’ll run through the costs with you, and give you some great information on how solar thermal panels can save you money.

First of all, what are solar thermal systems?

Solar thermal collectors, also known as solar thermal panels or solar water heating, collect heat by absorbing sunlight. They are usually installed on your roof where they are best able to collect heat. This heat is then used to heat hot water, which you can use in your home.

Not only will they help to make your home greener, solar thermal collectors are a great way to save money on your gas bill, too! They are also quite a low maintenance technology, which means that once they’re installed you can pretty much just leave them to it.

Check out our ultimate guide to solar thermal panels for more information.

Not to be confused with Solar Panels (PV)

For anyone looking into solar technology for their homes they should understand that solar thermal and solar panels (PV) are different technologies.

Despite the fact that they both use rooftop solar panels and are used to generate a form of power for your home, that is where the similarity ends.

Firstly, solar thermal collects sunlight and transforms it into heat. However, Solar panels (PV) transforms sunlight into electricity.

Secondly, solar thermal panels take up much less space on your roof. They are also more efficient and can collect up to 70% more heat from sun rays than solar PV.

Two photos of roofs, one with lots of solar pv and another with just three solar thermal panels

Solar thermal panels cost

Solar thermal panels cost £7,500 from Hassle Free Boilers. This is inclusive of the panel on the roof, all of the connections to your existing water system, all of the electrical systems, and a new hot water cylinder. Plus, we’re throwing in a free A-rated boiler too!

We include everything that you will need in this price so that you can easily see the cost, rather than having to go away and calculate a load of additional extras!

The installation of solar thermal panels is a significant investment, however we think that it is well worth it when you consider the savings you can make on your hot water bill. 

Plus, if you were to make use of the Government Green Homes Grant then you could get two thirds of the cost covered for you!

A piggy bank with a coin about to go in it with solar panels by the side of it, on a white background

How to save money with solar thermal panels

Now we get to the important part!

The first thing you need to know is that solar thermal panels actually work all year round, provided there is sunlight reaching the panel. Obviously, the panels can heat more water in the summer months, but in the winter they will still be contributing and helping you to save money on your water heating. Generally solar thermal panels will cover all of your hot water needs in the summer months.

The Energy Saving Trust has calculated that ‘typical savings from a well installed and properly used system are £60 per year when replacing gas heating, and £70 per year when using electric immersion heating.’ This is an average figure, and will vary from household to household.

You can save even more money by taking further measures like improving your insulation, which is also covered by the Government Green Homes Grant.

Save even more with the government green homes grant

The Government has recently announced that it is extending its Green Homes Grant until March 2022, which is great news if you’re thinking of getting solar thermal panels.

The cost of solar thermal panels can be claimed for under the scheme as a ‘primary measure’ meaning that you can claim back two thirds of the overall value. All you need to do is get a quote from us (which you can do below) and then apply for a Green Homes Grant voucher.

How can solar energy be used to heat water?

Solar thermal panels are filled with fluid which is heated by the sun. This fluid is then transferred into your home where it heats the water in your hot water tank. 

This technology is compatible with all boilers, however if you have a combi boiler you will need to get an additional hot water cylinder installed. These do take up some space, but they can be hidden away in your garage or in a loft.

In the summer months you should find that the panels meet all of your hot water needs and you don’t need to use your boiler at all! In the winter your boiler will probably need to come on as well because there are fewer daylight hours and the energy from the sun isn’t as strong. However, the panels will still be providing some hot water meaning that your boiler can be used less than it would have been.

Cost of solar thermal panels with Hassle Free Boilers

Thanks to the Green Homes Grant, if you take advantage of our Solar Thermal Heating Solution (worth £10,700) you can enjoy all the benefits of solar thermal panels, plus a free brand new Worcester Bosch boiler – for just £2,500

The solar thermal panels cost £7,500 in this exclusive package. The government will pay up to £5,000 towards the installation, or £10,000 if you’re on benefits or low income, meaning that there’s only £2,500 left to pay – in the first option.

If you receive benefits or are on a low income, there’s nothing extra to pay.

The package includes:

  • A brand new Solflex Solar Thermal System
  • A free brand new energy efficient Worcester Bosch boiler
  • Kingspan hot water cylinder
  • HIVE smart controllers
  • 10 year government backed HIES warranty

We’ll even spread the cost of the remaining £2,500 over three years, interest free (£68 per month). 

All you need to do is get a quote from us, and make sure you apply for your Green Homes Grant.

This offer is only available from Hassle Free Boilers.

The greener approach to heating your home

By taking advantage of our Solar Thermal Heating Solution you are not only saving yourself money, you are doing your bit to lower carbon emissions and save the planet.

For the same cost of a new boiler, you can instead take advantage of all the benefits of having a brand new solar thermal system installed, as well as the new boiler too!

If you want to save money with Solar Thermal panels, and bag a brand new boiler into the bargain too, then get in touch today!

How to save money with the green homes grant scheme

In November 2020, the government in England announced they are extending their green home grants scheme by another year, to March 2022. 

The extension is great news for people who have been struggling to meet the installation deadline, and for people who hadn’t heard about the scheme until now!

Read on to find out more about the government green homes grant scheme; what it is, who is eligible and how you can apply.

What is the green homes grant scheme?

The purpose of the government green homes grant scheme is to help homeowners in England to make their homes more energy efficient. The grant will help you to cover the cost of installing low carbon heating systems, as well as energy saving measures such as double glazing or insulation.

See Martin Lewis, on ITV The Martin Lewis Money Show talk about the Green Home Grants Scheme

What is covered in the scheme?

The green homes grant covers the labour, material and VAT on the installation of new insulation and low carbon heating systems to help make homes more energy efficient. It cannot be used to replace existing insulation or heating systems. In addition to this it also covers improvements to windows and doors, and to the control and insulation of heating systems.

  • If you are on benefits or have a low income, the grant will cover the complete cost of installation up to £10,000. 
  • If you are not on benefits or low income you can claim the grant to cover two thirds of the cost of installation, up to £5,000. 

So for example, if you were installing a low carbon heating system that cost £7,500 you would pay £2,500 and the government would pay the remaining £5,000. 

In order to be eligible, all work must be completed by an approved Trustmark or Microgeneration Certification Scheme registered tradesperson. Work must also be completed by the deadline 31 March 2022.

How to apply

If you’re interested in applying for the green homes grant, you can do so online.

  • Go to SimpleEnergyAdvice.org.uk. This is a government endorsed service where you can check your eligibility for the scheme. You can also use it to locate local tradespeople who are approved to carry out work under the scheme.
  • Once you have checked your eligibility, get quotes for your work from approved tradespeople (like us) and apply for a voucher. You will need to have the tradespersons Trustmark license number, and the details of the property owner. Hassle Free Boilers is Trustmark accredited.
  • Your voucher will be emailed to you once your application has been processed successfully. You shouldn’t begin any work until you have the voucher.
  • After the work is completed, you can redeem your voucher. You will pay the installer for the portion of the invoice you are responsible for, and the government will pay the installer directly for the rest.

Keyring of a house with a key on it being held by a a hand in front of a real house

Who can apply?

The green homes grant is for homeowners. If you own a home which you live in, or you are a residential landlord then you can apply.

People who own new build homes that they are not yet living in are not eligible for the scheme. Commercial properties are also not eligible. 

If you are living in rented accommodation then you can’t apply for the scheme yourself. However, your landlord can, so it could be worth mentioning it to them.

You Must Install One Primary Improvement

To qualify for a green homes grant, homeowners must install a primary improvement to their homes.

You can then use the grant to install a secondary improvement. 

See below what qualifies as a primary and secondary improvement.

Flat plate solar thermal panels on a roof, surrounded by blue skies

What Are Primary And Secondary Measures?

Primary measures under the green homes scheme are new additions to your household to improve energy efficiency. These must take the form of either low carbon heat sources or insulation. Improvements to existing installations are not covered. 

Low carbon heat measures include things like:

  • Solar thermal heating system
  • Air source heat pumps
  • Ground source heat pumps
  • Biomass boiler
  • Hybrid heat pump

Insulation measures include things like:

  • Solid wall insulation
  • Cavity wall insulation
  • Under floor insulation
  • Loft insulation
  • Pitched roof
  • Room in roof
  • Park home

You are only able to get secondary measures if you have had a grant approved for primary measures. If you have a grant approved for primary measures, you can get up to the same amount again for secondary measures provided that the total grant does not exceed the maximum (£5,000 for most households, or £10,000 if on benefits or low income). 

Secondary measures are upgrades to windows and doors like:

  • Draught proofing
  • Double, triple or secondary glazing
  • Energy efficient replacement doors

And work on heating controls like:

  • Adding a hot water tank thermostat
  • Insulating your hot water tank
  • Smart heating controls
  • Thermostatic radiator controls

The above is not an exhaustive list and again, these must be new measures rather than improvements to existing ones.

Is there something similar in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

The government green homes grant scheme is only applicable to homeowners in England. However, there are similar schemes which you can access if you are living in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland:

  • For homeowners and long term tenants (12 months or longer) living in Scotland, Warmer Homes Scotland offers grants to help people to stay warm. The Scottish government will cover the cost of energy saving measures like loft insulation and draught proofing. 
  • In Wales the Nest scheme offers free energy efficiency advice. You may also be eligible for free energy efficiency improvements like a new boiler or insulation if you are a homeowner receiving a benefit, or suffering with a chronic respiratory, circulatory or mental health condition.
  • The Affordable Warmth scheme in Northern Ireland offers grants of up to £7,500 to make energy efficiency improvements for low income households.

Unfortunately, our Solar Thermal Heating Solution is only available to homeowners in England.

What if I need planning permission?

Generally, solar thermal panels will be considered ‘permitted development’ and so you shouldn’t need to apply for planning permission.

Possible exceptions to this are if you are installing panels on top of a block of flats, or if you are installing your panels as a ‘stand alone’ installation away from your home. If in doubt, check with your local council.

Hassle Free Boilers will only be installing solar thermal panels on houses rather than flats.

Is it safe to get work done during the pandemic?

Provided that your installer is following the government’s guidelines, it should be safe to get work done during the pandemic.

The installer will need to ensure that they avoid entering your home wherever possible. If they do need to they should maintain social distancing, and take extra safety measures such as wearing a face mask, regularly washing their hands and coming into contact with as few people as possible.

All of the installers and engineers that we work with are taking all necessary precautions.

Why Solar Thermal Panels are a great option under the Green Homes Grant

We think that solar thermal panels are a great option because they are proven, reliable and low maintenance. Not only can they reduce your carbon heating footprint by as much as 100%, they also reduce usage of your boiler. You could meet 60-80% of your hot water needs by harnessing energy from the sun. This means your boiler won’t need to run as much and that you are protected from the rising cost of energy in this instance. 

Hassle Free Boilers are accredited by the green homes grant scheme, so you could get two thirds of the cost of your installation covered by the grant. Not only this, but if you take advantage of our Solar Thermal Heating Solution, we’ll throw in a brand new boiler too! Applying for a voucher only takes a few minutes.

How Much Money Could it Save You?

You could save up to an average of £360 per year on your energy bills.

Not only that but personal finance experts money.co.uk has researched if the available improvements on the grant can increase the value of a home.

They found that Solar Panels make the most significant increase in value to your home over the other 6 improvements they researched.

Solar panels can on average increase the value of your home by 14% or £34K. This is based on the average home in England being worth £248,271.

How to get solar thermal panels with the government green homes grant

The first thing you will need to do is check your eligibility for the green homes grant scheme. Once you know whether you are eligible you can start thinking about what improvements you want to make to your home!

What if I need to replace my central heating boilers?

There aren’t currently any government grants for replacement central heating boilers. The Boiler Scrappage scheme ended a while ago. However, some of the bigger energy companies are offering subsidised replacement boilers, under the Energy Companies Obligation scheme. People on certain benefits could qualify for this.

The green home scheme covers new installation of energy saving heating and insulation solutions rather than boilers. However, Hassle Free Boilers offer a free boiler when you take up our Solar Thermal Heating Solution, and this solution is eligible for the government green homes grant scheme! 

Our exclusive Solar Thermal Heating Solution means that you can get a new solar thermal system installed, and we’ll include a brand new Worcester Bosch boiler for free.

Solar Thermal Heating Solution – get a free boiler!

Solar thermal panels are classed as a primary installation under the green homes grant. 

This means that you can get your brand new solar thermal system installed, and two thirds of the cost will be covered by the grant (or 100% of the cost if you have a low income or are on benefits).

Our Solar Thermal Heating Solution is covered by the green homes grant, and includes:

  • Installation of solar thermal panels. Solar thermal panels will cover all of your hot water needs, and could save you around £360 on your gas bill each year.
  • Brand new Worcester Bosch boiler. This energy efficient boiler could help you reduce your carbon emissions by over 55%, and reduce your energy bill by up to 30%.
  • Kingspan cylinder. This stores the hot water from your new solar thermal panels.
  • HIVE smart controllers so you can take control of your heating.
  • HIES 10 year government backed warranty.

This package is worth £10,200 but if you get it on the scheme you will pay just £2,500, or nothing at all if you’re on benefits or have a low income. This is an exclusive offer, only available through Hassle Free Boilers.

We can even spread the cost over three years, interest free, at £68 per month. Or, if you would prefer to pay over a longer time period, we can also offer credit options over five years.

Take our survey to find out if you qualify or contact us to get your Solar Thermal Heating Solution.

What are solar thermal panels and why should you get them?

Find out everything you need to know about solar thermal panels in this article! Put simply, solar thermal panel technology is an alternative, eco-friendly method of heating water in your house. They will save you money on your gas bills, and make your home a lot greener. And, the great news is, unlike solar PV (which generates electricity) where you might need lots of panels, Solar Thermal only needs one.

In this detailed guide, we’ll explain how solar thermal panels work and why we recommend them. We’ll also include how you can save money and energy by having them installed!

In addition, we have an exciting new offer for solar thermal panels that works in conjunction with the new Government Green Homes Grant. This means you can make your home greener and save money with financing from the government – it’s win-win!

What are solar thermal panels?

As mentioned above, solar thermal panels are a method of heating the water in your home, using energy generated from sunlight. Sometimes called Solar Thermal Collectors or Solar Water Heating. They are fitted to your home’s roof and use the sun’s energy to heat your water through a connection with your boiler. They are very popular in Europe, so you may have seen them whilst on holiday.

In the UK, we have two types of solar thermal collectors: Flat Plates and Evacuated Tubes. These names refer to how the water interacts with the panels. You can see the 2 different types here:

Flat plate solar thermal panels on a roof, surrounded by blue skies

Flat Plate

Flat Plate solar thermal collectors look a bit like solar PV panels and can be fitted individually or in pairs. Instead of using lots of thin tubes like an evacuated tube panel, it’s actually made up of an absorbing surface, a heat insulated back and a see through cover. It uses a fluid to carry the heat from the panel to the hot water tank. This is how the water is heated.

Evacuated tube solar thermal panels on a roof, blue skies in the background

Evacuated Tubes

This type of solar thermal collector is made up of many thin tubes that carry transfer fluid, which is used to heat the water. These systems, overall, are very efficient but are not so efficient in warmer months because they risk overheating. These are the type of panels that you may have seen on buildings if you’ve been on holiday to Greece, Turkey or Spain as they’re very popular in those countries. However, they aren’t as popular in the UK as they’re not so aesthetically pleasing.

How can solar energy be used to heat water?

The energy generated by the fluid in the solar thermal panels is used to heat the water in your house, that is then stored in a hot water cylinder. The solar thermal collector will replace or enhance the heat from your boiler, using the free heat from the sun. However, when the sun isn’t shining, in the deepest, darkest winter, your boiler will support the solar energy. There’s a more detailed explanation of how the solar thermal system works below.

Solar thermal panel diagram connected to a boiler, showing how it heats water inside the boiler

Can solar thermal panels be installed using the Government Green Homes Grant?

Yes! We’re hoping to help many people save money and green up their home using this grant. It’s simple to apply… 

The government has created a Green Homes Grant Scheme in 2020. This means that homeowners and landlords in England can apply for upto £10,000 to make their homes greener. There are a number of energy saving home improvements included in the list that this grant covers. It includes (but is not limited to):

  • Solar Thermal Panels
  • Air Source Heat Pumps
  • Draught Proofing
  • Double and Triple glazing
  • Cavity Wall insulation

To apply for this grant, you’ll need to get a quote for the Solar Thermal Panels installation from us (you can do this below). We’ll ask you a few simple questions about your property. The questions include things like; if it isn’t a new property, if you’re the homeowner and if you claim any benefits. There are a few extra questions to fill out for landlords.

Start the application process here.

How much do solar thermal panels cost? 

Solar thermal panels ordinarily cost around £7,500. That includes the panel on the roof, all the water and electrical and digital connections, and a new hot water cylinder. You need the new cylinder for the special additional circuit in your heating system. This allows it to work with the solar thermal panel for the solar heated water. And, of course, you need the smart controls too.

Do all boilers work with solar thermal?

All boilers do work with solar thermal collectors, however you must have a specially designed hot water cylinder too. That means if you have a combi boiler, you will also need a hot water cylinder to be installed.

It is worth considering whether you have space for a water cylinder to be fitted before getting a quote. Remember – they can be hidden away! Often hot water cylinders can be installed in a garage or a loft if space is an issue.

Energy rating scale with a phone and coins around it

How to save money with solar water heating

This is the big question, isn’t it? The solar thermal panels will provide hot water when the sun is shining (or in daylight) which is then stored in the cylinder, for use immediately or later in the day. So this technology could provide 100% of your hot water in the summer and will contribute to heating your hot water in the winter. Why not harness the energy of the sun using our fantastic offer?

To qualify for payments through the Green Homes Grant Scheme from the government you will need to apply for a voucher.

You can save even more money by making sure your home is as energy efficient as possible. Of course, one benefit of having a super energy efficient system is that less energy will be wasted too. You’ll be making the most of the energy that you’ve got and therefore getting better value, and needing less of it because little is wasted!

Depiction of an energy efficient home, a diagram shows each room and how they're green

You can also consider draft proofing, cavity wall insulation and double glazing to help improve energy efficiency, and save even more money too.

Do solar thermal panels work in winter in the UK?

Yes! Solar thermal energy can still be generated in winter! Where there is sunlight, there is energy that can be generated. However there are a couple of things to remember:

  • There are fewer daylight hours in the winter, so therefore less time for the panels to generate energy.
  • Snow can affect the output of the panels. Especially the evacuated tube type of panel. This is because they are designed to not lose heat. That means snow doesn’t melt off them as easily as it does on Flat Plate collectors.
  • Even though the panels will still generate energy, it won’t be as much as during the warmer months when there are more daylight hours. Your boiler will then pick up the slack.

Are solar thermal panels worth it?

Overall, we think solar thermal panels are very much worth installing in the UK. Especially while homeowners can take advantage of the Government Green Homes Grant! 

New Solar Thermal Offer!

Our introductory offer will be launching soon. The government has launched a £5,000 grant for all homeowners through the Green Homes Grant Scheme from 30th September 2020, ending on 31st March 2021.

This £5,000 voucher, together with our exclusive Kingspan Hot Water Cylinder Scrappage Scheme, will enable you to get your new free hot water solar system. Key benefits include:

  • Reduce your utility costs by as much as £300 p/a, depending on fuel type and number of people in the house
  • Lower your carbon footprint by generating green energy!

We’ll be launching our offer soon, we’ll update this blog with the details as soon as it goes live.

To find out more about solar thermal and how you can be notified of our amazing offer, just fill out a quote form below and we’ll get in touch with you as soon as possible.