As the cold weather closes in, many homeowners’ thoughts turn to heating their homes. Naturally, you can expect to see an increase in the amount of energy a household will use during the chillier months of the year - but thanks to a new boiler system, this increase no longer needs to mean more expensive energy bills.
Revolutionary micro combined heat and power technology – more commonly known as micro-CHP - has made it possible to save, or even make money while simultaneously heating and generating power for your property.
Utilising mains gas, or LPG, and a heat generation device known as a Stirling engine, a micro-CHP boiler can generate a heat to electricity ratio of 6:1. This means that by using your micro-CHP boiler as you would a traditional boiler, you can generate one unit of electricity for every six units of gas used to heat your home.
To put this into context, it has been estimated that a micro-CHP boiler can generate around 1kW of electricity when working at full capacity – enough to power an energy efficient light bulb for around 40 hours. Of course, the amount of electricity you generate will depend entirely on your own specific circumstances, such as how often - and at what temperature - you heat your home.
The possibility of generating your own electricity by simply heating your home is just one of several benefits that a micro-CHP system can offer – there are plenty of other bonuses too.
A micro-CHP boiler can do more than heat your home while generating electricity - it's a long-term measure that can result in significantly lower bills.
Depending on your energy consumption, you could be in a position where your micro-CHP boiler generates more electricity than you use. In this instance it’s possible to sign up to a government led feed-in tariff scheme and sell any surplus energy back to the grid. So, not only can you meet your own personal electricity requirements with a micro-CHP boiler, but you can also help to support the national grid – and earn a bit of extra money in the process.
Unlike a traditional boiler, a micro CHP-unit is low carbon. This means fossil fuels are burnt more efficiently than in a conventional boiler, which allows an average CHP-system to run at around 90% efficiency during the heating season. Future models are currently being developed to run on an eco-friendly bio-oil in order to further reduce the system’s impact on the environment. This makes a micro-CHP boiler an ideal home energy solution for the more environmentally-conscious among us.
In terms of design, there is very little difference between a regular boiler and a micro-CHP system. Similar in size and shape, in most cases it is possible to simply replace your existing boiler with a micro-CHP system with no need for additional renovation. This can help to control the cost of purchasing and installation, which can set you back up to £8,000.
This inflated figure makes a micro-CHP unit a substantial financial investment, especially when compared it to a typical cost of around £2,500 for a standard condensing boiler. However, based on average savings of around £600 a year, plus additional payments received through your feed-in-tariff - which can be as much as £180 per year – it’s estimated that a micro-CHP boiler will pay for itself in around ten years. It’s a long time, but the technology is a cost-cutting measure that you'll continue to enjoy long after that ten years is up.
In addition, any maintenance must be carried out by a specialist engineer, which means this extra cost could subtract from your savings. For help finding a registered engineer in your area, click here.
If you’re concerned about the cost of heating in the coming years, perhaps it’s time to consider a micro-CHP boiler for your home.
Image: Courtesy of Pete via Flickr.
James is an online content creator at Make It Cheaper. Having previously created a variety of content for a number of websites and media outlets, James focuses on making it easy for SME owners to find interesting and engaging content - as well as useful guides and online tools.You can email James at firstname.lastname@example.org
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