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A few days ago I was tipped off that The Carbon Trust will soon be releasing a report claiming that, although heat pumps are an efficient and ecologically responsible solution to heating, most of them are set up so badly they are literally costing the earth to run.

Apparently it claims that in 70% of the cases they have seen, the systems are not set up to operate at their most efficient, so the savings that customers expected are not being made.

I couldn't agree more. In the last couple of years I've spent a huge amount of time running round to people's houses investigating high energy usage from heat pumps.

These visits fall into three categories:

First are those who can't believe there electricity bill has doubled since installing a heat pump. However they have conveniently forgotten they no longer receive a gas bill. There is no helping these people.

Secondly are those who look at the total electricity bill and don't allow for all the lighting, cooking etc. when working out the cost of the heat pump. This is easy to solve. I make them find either a bill from before the heat pump was installed or, more interestingly, install a Watt meter on the heat pump to measure its true consumption.

Thirdly, the largest group is those units which are experiencing finger trouble. Heat pumps are fairly complicated beasts. Most of them have field settings which can be adjusted to fine tune them to the installation. To make matters more difficult the controls do not look anything like those on a boiler and can be confusing.

The installer is supposed to adjust the settings, time clocks and set the units running before he leaves but often the poor plumber has not seen the unit before or is not 100% familiar with it.

It is the responsibility of the supplier to show these guys how to set the unit up efficiently and train them so they can do this.

Let's make sure heat pumps don't get a bad name at this early stage just because they have been set up badly.

As far as the customer is concerned, the installer is supposed to be the experts. It is his job to have the equipment running correctly before leaving the customer's home.

If the supplier doesn't give an installer sufficient training then the installer should look for a supplier which does give the right training and back up.

Now where are you going to find one of them?
Posted by Graham Hendra 13 August 2010 12:38:23 Categories: Graham's Gossip

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