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You can sometimes have your cake and eat it!

Wednesday 19th February 2020

Climate change is a real and pressing issue. It slowly rises up the agenda on the news – ‘PM sacks climate change summit chief’, ‘PM announces bringing forward ban on petrol and diesel cars’, PM speaks to a group of children about climate change alongside David Attenborough’– these are all news items from this week.

In the heating industry, there is noise in the industry about a ‘ban’ on the use of natural gas in new houses from 2025. The gas industry, representing the gas boiler manufacturers and others are however working on an alternative to natural gas by putting greener gas- such as Hydrogen- into the network with the associated research on the required modifications to existing boilers. In fact, also unveiled recently was a new prototype hydrogen boiler that can run on both natural gas and hydrogen. A sign that the Hydrogen is firmly on the agenda for the future of heat production.


But what about domestic hot water production? How can our industry ‘revolutionise’ for climate change?


You may have missed the national ITV news item on Monday evening a week or so ago, if you did then here is the link- The feature reported on climate change from a more, apparently, ‘novel’ perspective, with the householder proudly telling the reporter that he has a “tank”, with an immersion heater connected to his electric solar panel (solar PV) on the roof.  Resulting in FREE hot water, with no gas burnt, and no CO² - winner!


Of course, this will be no surprise to the industry, we are more than aware that ‘you can sometimes have your cake and eat it.’  But there’s more…………Early solar PV installations were offered very generous deals to start the market rolling where the government paid the householder for every unit of power produced, offsetting the utility bills.  Now, if the householder was canny enough to have a “tank” (in the industry we call them cylinders of course) they would use that free power to generate hot water in addition to getting the payment.  Another win-win scenario and perhaps an extra slice of cake?


It all becomes so obvious really when you look at it like that – except that millions of houses had their hot water cylinders removed and replaced with gas “combi” boilers – offering hot water and heating from one appliance.


Householders and the trade alike may be missing a trick if they don’t investigate this option after all the gas combi can be kept and used for heating, but as hot water production can account for up to half of the gas used in the home this is an easy and long term fix for existing houses looking for savings and greener lifestyles.


Geoff Egginton, Director, Advance Appliances and HWA member


P.s No, we didn't buy a cake especially for this blog, that would be glutinous. This was a picture taken for the birthday of the HWA Charter- a promise from HWA members

Driving to improve standards within the domestic hot water industry