Heating News – Jan 2017

Heating News 2017

2016 has been pretty uneventful on the heating front. Home automation is probably the main game changer and, if you really want to, you can now literally shout at your heating from near or far.  In fact you can shout at many inanimate objects from now on, not just computers which many of us have been shouting at for years.

Prices for heat banks and stoves remain unchanged and transport to Europe still runs monthly. No Brexit issues here, so do get in touch if you need any help.

Eco heating system

Ultimate Eco-heating system

Ultimate Eco-heating system

My ultimate twin tank system has been designed and launched and it can be viewed in detail on this site.  While a single heat bank provides an excellent way to integrate just about any heat sources you care to throw at it, there was scope for improvement when it came to dealing with heat pumps.  The twin tank solution not only addresses all their shortcomings – high flow and lower temperatures – but most of the other heat sources are enhanced in the way they operate.  In particular the solar stripper circuit kicks panel performance up significantly, allowing much bigger arrays to run all year round.  For anyone in need of the ultimate high powered eco-heating system this is it.

Dream House  Down to the details

Just launched on Kindle for £2.45 this is essential reading for anyone improving, building or restoring a house. Actually it makes an entertaining read for anyone who just needs a stir to the imagination. There are well over 100 tips, tricks and tweaks to enjoy but also to serve as a checklist for some of the less obvious tasks on plumbing, wiring and, of course, heating strategy and the changing face of energy management.  Many suggestions could save significant amounts of your hard earned cash as it costs much more to fix things after the main jobs are done and all the workforce has moved on.  So don’t miss out, get it downloaded and start reading.  There are lots of colour pictures and diagrams so it reads best of all on the Kindle app on a PC, a Kindle Fire, even a phone.

PV electric car charger garage

Sun tracker garage

Sun tracker garage

You can find a full description and picture of this here https://originaltwist.com/2016/02/29/electric-and-hydrogen-car-charger/   Think of a garage shaped like a huge fat slice of Edam cheese where the red bits become PV panels and you have the idea.  PV panels like to track the sun so the whole thing is on a turntable to improve performance by over 20%.  The garage can fit into a tight space because it will turn your car all the way round with no reversing needed.  O.K. I know it seems a bit far fetched but I see no technical impediments and if it has an Airbnb pod on top earning £80 a night you might grow to love it.  Any machine that gets paid to fuel up a virtually maintenance free car and earns some £12,000 on top has to be lovable; doesn’t it?

Cheap LED bulbs

I took my own advice and continued to buy LED bulbs from http://www.trillion.co.uk on a deliberate replacement program without particularly waiting for old bulb failures. Now the house is almost entirely LED lit so I will start to compare monthly bills as the year goes on.  I continue to be impressed with the quality and price of these bulbs and I love the abrupt halt to the tedious bulb replacement jobs of the past.  How about you?

Automated electric kettle

The £4 time switch from Amazon, on the plug of a standard electric kettle, has worked fine for a year. As long as the kettle is filled and the switch set to auto, the kettle clicks into life in the early morning and at tea time. It’s a small idea but I just love it, especially on cold Winter mornings when an extra few minutes in bed are so welcome.

Hot water for campers

A friend has a remote shed in the country and wanted a cheap hot water system for washing up and showering; something better than the cold water hose on site.

The final solution has come off the back of the envelope and is up and running.

It has 3 basic components.

1/. A feed and expansion tank with a ball cock (actually a lavatory cistern) is hauled up into a tree to give good water pressure and provide an open vented feed to the tank below.

2/.A steel drum standing on end over a brick fire box with a crude chimney at the back. Cold water is fed to the bottom of the drum via a pipe (from a defunct drum pump) fitted via the large port on the top. Hot water is drawn off the smaller 1” port at the top of the tank.

3/. The feed from the drum could be boiling hot so a temperature limiting valve blends in cold water to make it all safe. It is neatly screwed directly onto the 1” port on the drum and the blended water then connects to a hose pipe which supplies a tap and a shower in the woods.

So there we are; a cheap but very workable solution for shed owners looking for home comforts.

N.B. If you are making the firebox make a ledge some way up for a grill tray. Then you can have a barbie and have hot water to wash up with later.

Solar panels for Italians

I like to thank my clients in Italy with a pretty amazing deal on a big solar panel kit. 3 panels, a pump-station with controller and all the fluids for just €2,000 + IVA.  Every incentive to become a client in 2017 and get your heating issues sorted.  English clients can also benefit although transport costs make it less attractive.

Zero gas – nearly

You may have heard it all before – heat banks, solar and stoves – and wondered if it all really works.  Well, to reinforce the point let me say that as our LPG gas tank was lasting 7 years between refills we had it removed and now use small gas bottles. Used mainly for cooking and just occasional gas boiler use the bottles last for months rather than weeks and it is easy enough to swap them over at the ferramenta 3 or 4 times a year.  This would only be possible with a properly engineered wood and solar system.  If you spend over €1,200 for a year’s hot water and heating in your Italian house it might be time for a strategic review.

Wishing you all a very happy and warm 2017

Patrick Littlehales

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Heating News – Spring 2014

Heating News SPRING 2014
In this issue:
Heating Seminar – 28th May
500 litre heat bank – SPECIAL OFFER
Electricity bills audit
Back issues – on http://www.originaltwist.com
Stuff for sale

Heating Seminar – 28th MayFor anyone contemplating a heating project this will be a useful day spent discussing just about everything you need to know including:

Traditional heating – why it is out of date
How to evaluate your needs
Design your system on the PC
Accounting for seasonal demands – system alignment
Balancing and integrating a variety of inputs
Why heat banks are so good
Solar thermal and photovoltaic
Wood as a power source
Heat pumps a new era
Pool pumping on 200W

A great day out with lunch and a chat about your projects from 9am to 4pm. €90.
For delegates flying in the nearest airport is Perugia and accommodation can be arranged.
To reserve a place email me or use the contact form on the other page of this site or call 0039 (0)75 782 1816

500 litre heat bank – SPECIAL OFFER £4,100 including delivery to Central Italy worth £360. (Factory price for tank as specified here is £4,029)
There are many of these fitted in Umbria now and they all work a treat. This stainless steel Xcel heat bank from Specflue (they took over DPS) is still the easiest way to install a turnkey heating system that will run straight out of the box and integrate all your heat sources. The specification has been refined over the years and is now known as ‘The Italian Job’. All the pumps and controls are fitted and wired leaving just a days work to connect a few pipes. There is so much time and labour saved that this could be not just your best option but also the least expensive one too.

Specification
500 litre stainless steel tank (Telford) with 3 bar rating
35l/min plate heat exchanger for domestic hot water
Extra large 1” ports for gravity circulating stove.
Temperature regulation for a condensing boiler + thermostat
Class-A circulation pump for heating
Class-A pump and temperature control for underfloor heating
3kW immersion heater with Grasslin booster/timer
Over heat thermostat
Solar coil with sensor pocket.

You might notice some upgrades over the previous Italian Job. The tank is bigger and the pumps are the much more expensive A rated ones. The plate heat exchanger has been down graded to 35l/min. This is like 2+ combi boilers running at once but with less tank depletion than the previous 45l/min version. The latter is still available if needed.

Clearview 750 wood burning stove £2,200
Including gloves, temperature guage, colour of choice and UK delivery to the shippers. Free delivery to Italy with a tank order.This lovely stove has been so successful in many installations that I’d countenance nothing less. For most houses this will provide heating, hot water and even cooking without any additional heat sources. The best thing with this stove is the stainless clip-in back boiler which can easily be replaced if needs be. A stove with an integrated cast iron boiler usually means the whole stove has to be replaced – penny wise pound foolish!

Electricity bills audit
A fascinating exercise every time. Give me a stack of your last electricity bills and I’ll crunch the data into a table and graph to reveal all the interesting details along with some ideas for money saving changes. Your background consumption will be compared with the norm to show whether those bills are reasonable (as if) and that you are being charged fairly. An explanation of the Enel bill is part of the survey pack.
Surveys from €50. Report in print or pdf.

Back issues – on http://www.originaltwist.com
A selection of ‘heating News’ back issues can be found at the bottom of the blogs list to your right. The Heatingitaly web site has been superseded by http://www.originaltwist.com which gives more scope to discuss all sorts of interesting topics and to make the heating side less country specific.
The old site had a few useful spreadsheets for calculating various things to do with solar and heating in general. I can still send them out on request.

FOR SALE – ANYTHING
This is a market place for anything you want to sell not just heating related items.
One line per item please: as many items as you want
If you are a local send your list to my normal email title PATSMART
Petrol powered water pump as new €120 3313 404 008 Umbertide
Cast iron radiator, large – under half price €180 3313 404 008 Umbertide
Radiator, very small, white – under half price €20 3313 404 008 Umbertide
5 Blu-ray discs or DVDs with free Sharp Blu-ray player €50 3313 404 008 Umbertide
Toyota RAV4, 2007, 110,000km, chains, metallic black €10,000 3313 404 008 Umbertide
Restoration – lovely carved French bed, padded head board €100 075 782 1816 Umbertide
Childs bike 6 – 10 yrs knobbly tyres, good condition €40 075 782 1816 Umbertide