Subscribing to our award-winning Hub enables readers to receive regular emails with the top articles most likely to interest them

Carole Titmuss looks at how one Norfolk family have cleaned up their home heating

I’ve just been sent a story about a Norfolk family who have revealed how they have cut their energy bills with an upgrade to an air source heat pump.

Emma Digby and her husband and 7-year-old daughter live in a detached, 3-bedroom house in Reepham, North Norfolk and faced monthly bills of £250 or higher with the previous oil-fired boiler.

With recent temperatures often falling below freezing, the cost of heating was front of mind for the family when deciding whether to turn up the thermostat.

Last autumn, Emma decided to have a heat pump installed after seeing the benefits that her parents had enjoyed with their heat pump installation.

"Both my husband and I work from home and are only in the office one day a week, so we use a lot of electricity," she said. "Plus with a young family, we are doing washing all the time."

Emma now says that she has not had to worry so much about the cost of heating their homes during the winter, even with the recent cold snaps.

It was a really horrid thought to have such a dirty energy source when you can have an air source heat pump

Carole Titmuss Refurb projects Carole Titmuss Editor of Refurb Projects

A sustainable heat source

Emma also explains that she was concerned that the heat pumps wouldn’t be as effective as the old oil heating system: "We had our heating set to 20 degrees because I was worried going from oil to a heat pump we weren't going to feel the warmth from the radiators," she said. "But we actually had to turn it down because it was too hot.

"We've got it set to 19.5 degrees and, as someone who feels the cold, I've not been cold."

Overall, Emma is pleased with their heat pumps and said she would recommend them.

"It is good knowing that we are not at the mercy of oil prices, which fluctuate even without a sudden crisis," added Emma, “"It is also nice to know that we have a sustainable heat source."

More space

The family renovated their kitchen with the aim of creating more space and to move away from using an oil-fired boiler.

Being off-grid, the couple did not have access to mains gas supplies; and they decided that traditional oil and gas fired boilers are damaging to the environment. This left the couple searching for an efficient, low carbon emitting system. Also, with rising oil prices they also wanted to find a cost-effective system.

After reviewing their options, the couple choose an Ecodan 5kW air source heat pump, after it had been highly recommended to them.

The choice of an air source heat pump has given the family more kitchen cupboard space following the removal of the old oil boiler, as well as more space in the garden after the removal of the large oil tank.

The couple did not have apply for planning permission as the system falls under permitted development.

Equivalent to 10 oil boilers

Once deciding on a heat pump, the couple then only needed to contact an installer and organise a date to begin work.

As the house is fairly new, they didn’t have to update any radiators or pipework to work with the new system. Additionally, the house is well insulated having a high thermal performance, making it ideal for the Ecodan unit.

Switching to an Ecodan heat pump, Emma said: "It's a really horrid thought to have fill up an oil tank and have such a dirty energy source when you can have an air source heat pump which is so much cleaner."

And on living with an Ecodan, she said: "It's really good, we have no regrets at all. The installer was good, the energy is good."

Mitsubishi Electric calculated that over the system’s lifetime it will save the equivalent carbon of 10 oil fired boilers.

Carole Titmuss is editor and publisher of Refurb Projects