Those who know me will be aware that I'm not the biggest fan of officialdom, regulations, accountants etc. As I get older, though, I'm beginning to start liking some of the regs and red tape surrounding our industry.
If you install heat pumps, you have to adhere to a set of regulations laid down by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). As time goes on, MCS tighten the screws on heat pump installers in a steady drive to increase the quality of installations.
The latest part of the MCS accreditation is a rather inelegant sounding calculation called MCS020. In this, you have to make some simple measurements and observations, stick them in a massively complex calculation referring to tables etc, and work out an approximation of the actual sound power level your neighbours will experience. The idea is that, if the unit is quiet enough, it can be installed without planning permission.
After wasting hours of my life doing these calculations, I decided the best thing to do was write a simple-to-use calculator. Now it's done and explained in simple English; anyone can do the calculations in a few minutes. I'm so proud of my new calculator I've decided not to give it out, except to people who attend my training courses.
While writing and analysing this calculation, a few points were raised.
When mounting the unit, you have to make a note of any surfaces, walls, floors, ceilings, etc. within 1m of the unit; the more surfaces the greater the noise. If you have more than four surfaces within 1m of the unit, it automatically fails the noise test.
I have a customer who has bought a heat pump which he is mounting in a specially-made shelter. It has massive amounts of ventilation and the unit is being mounted with a direct discharge to the outside. The unit is only being mounted in the shelter to keep it out of sight. Technically, there is no problem here, but if we apply the RHI noise test, it will be considered too noisy as there are too many surfaces. I feel a visit from the planning officials on this one. I do hope the man can find the unit.