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Grants needed for cost-effective central heating upgrades

With news that millions of pensioners are concerned about being able to afford their energy bills this winter, Wilo is calling for grants to be put toward central heating upgrades.

Picture courtesy of Ian Briggs I.R.B Heating

The manufacturer highlights how new, variable speed circulation pumps can save as much as 80% in electricity costs compared to old, fixed-speed models, which will help people both during this heating season and beyond.

ThisIsMoney recently reported that three in five over 60s with a household income of £20,000 or less have cut back on heating or powering their homes to make ends meet, following research from Age UK. The charity for older people also found that 8.9 million (54%) of people over 60 are worried about being able to pay their energy bills and 7.3 million people in this age bracket have already reduced social and leisure activities to pay for food and energy.

The findings led to Age UK calling for more financial support from the Chancellor to help older people this winter. Wilo, the efficiency-first pump manufacturer, echoes this sentiment and believes that contributions for cost-effective upgrades must be made available, such as grants to replace inefficient central heating circulation pumps.

Andy Thompson, national sales manager – plumbing and heating at Wilo UK, said: “It is incredibly worrying to hear that elderly people are in a predicament of thinking they’re not going to manage this season. The cost-of-living and energy bills have risen exponentially, and we need long-term thinking to help those that are most vulnerable be able to heat their homes and live comfortably.

“While there are various pots of money available to support people that are struggling this winter with one-off top-up payments, it is critical that the government helps to fund more energy efficiency upgrades as well. Only then can we relieve people of these fuel poverty issues long term. For example, central heating circulation pumps are relatively inexpensive to purchase and install and are a quick win in comparison to other measures like increasing insulation or installing air source heat pumps. People living in older homes using old, fixed speed circulation pumps could be spending up to 80% more in energy and costs, compared to newer heating circulator pump models.”

Wilo estimates that based on a cost of 34p per KwH for electricity, and the central heating being on 24 hours a day, an old, fixed speed 100W pump could cost 82p to run. In comparison, a modern pump with an electronically commutated (EC) motor works from as low as 4W to a maximum of 40W, meaning a 60% reduction in electricity usage, and bringing running costs down significantly to approximately 33p per day. If the pump operates at a lower speed, these costs can be reduced even further, by as much as 80%.

Andy said: “Central heating circulation pumps are critical to a home’s heating system. These products ensure radiators or underfloor heating have the right amount of water circulating to them from the boiler to heat rooms up effectively. If the circulator pump is of an age, it may not be working efficiently anymore, adding even more onto energy bills while not achieving its purpose.

“New, smart circulating pumps can do away with this as they have clever features to help installers balance systems hydronically. For example, our Yonos PICO and Stratos PICO pumps all come with pre-sets and Dynamic Adapt Plus technology, making them easy to commission and meaning they adapt to the requirements of the heating system, optimising energy usage and minimising cost as a result.”

For installers helping people upgrade their circulating pumps this winter, Andy also encourages them to thoroughly check the pumps they are purchasing to ensure they are compliant, following estimates from the BPMA that 100,000 non-compliant pumps are being sold over the counter in the UK annually.

“Unfortunately, there are fake pumps coming into the UK market that are being made to look like the real deal. Not only are these non-compliant and could break down much earlier than expected, but they also won’t help people long term with energy saving. We urge installers to use pumps from trusted manufacturers, like Wilo, to ensure the product you are installing is safe, tested and manufactured according to relevant standards.”

For more about Wilo and its heating circulator pumps, please visit www.wilo.co.uk.

6 December 2023

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