Get Pumped! (Air Source Heat Pump Edition)

The title says it all. Actually, it says a bit of it. The story is a little more complex than originally planned. Welcome to what was originally dubbed “Pump Week”.

At least we’ve got an air source heat pump…

Welcome to the future! The latest air source heat pumps are quiet. Energy efficient. Stylish. Wireless? Pipe-less…cable-less? Yes, it’s a heat pump but not one that is actually connected to anything. Sit back and let me tell you a tale. It may have you re-evaluating your choice of energy provider or heating installers. First off, there was some preparation afoot.

Frantic Preparation

More selling has been happening. Not as much as I intended, but I’m getting there. I haven’t quite got the hang of capitalism though. I sold a washing machine door for the grand total of -£2. It was more of a donation through eBay courtesy of an error in postage weight. A small price to pay for saving it from landfill. (What an innocuous word for the biological diaster we perpetrate on concentrated portions of the earth)


Carrying on from last week’s painting edition, I’ve been killing myself getting as much long overdue colouring done as possible. There was a lot of grey in the house, but bit by bit we’re replacing it with light colours (and the occasional dark blue and yellow courtesy of the previous owners). It made sense to get it done while the sofa was disassembled and has made a significant difference to the brightness in the living room. Grey is just so…grey. There’s no other way to put it. I also fitted some conduit to hide the network cabling connecting downstairs with upstairs and the cable cable. You know what I mean. The cable company’s cable carrying cable. That one.

Lilac and light blue have replaced the dull grey

Packing and Moving

The weekend also involved a desperate rush to pack things away in the workshop and disassemble the shelving boxing in the pipes. The same was true for the hot water tank and hot press which was completely enclosed not allowing for any access. The previous owners priorised form over function at every turn. It’s fine as long as nothing goes wrong.

(D)elivery Day

The box van arrived with the new radiators and hot water tank. The first thing the delivery driver said was,

“Have you got any idea how much stuff there is?”

That’s always reassuring. And sure enough, there was a lot of stuff. Hundreds of kilogrammes. The second point to note was that he turned up single-handed. I am not a strong man, I will readily admit, so the prospect of lugging around nearly a tonne of steel was not appealing. We managed to get everything into place without major incident, but it was less than ideal. Ordinarily there should have been a second delivery person or an engineer waiting to help but these are no ordinary times.

Radiators don’t sound that bad to carry, but the biggest of the bunch weighed 97 kg. That is signicantly more than I weigh. Now all of that stuff is in a grand pile in the conservatory.

The reason they have to be so big is that air source heat pumps run at a lower temperature, and a larger radiator (35% bigger) is required to achieve a similar effect to conventional central heating systems. I didn’t mind having a pile of installation stuff. The installation was happening in a few days, after all. Right? Right?!

The Team Arrives

The British Gas installation team arrived early on the Monday (around 8am) to get started. After a quick walk around the house, it sounded like there may be more piping on show in the final installation than was ideal. We were oversold on the possible piping routes, although between the team members they came up with a compromise to reduce the amount of surface piping.

Then it came to the hot water tank. The cupboard was too narrow for a standard tank, so the sales rep had measured up for a narrower cylinder. That would be fine if he had measured correctly, but we ended up with a cylinder that wouldn’t even fit in the cupboard, and certainly wouldn’t allow any of the pipes that were required. There were two options at this point. Option one, order a narrower cylinder which would be made to order and take around two weeks. Option two, put the cylinder and buffer tanks in the workshop after cutting up one of the units and have the hot water tank at the opposite side of the house from where it’s required. They had already lost a morning of work at this point (and we were up to six team members on-site), so continuing with option two would have been less than ideal.

Option one was the only decent choice, so the installation was abandoned and the preparation was for almost naught. At least I got some painting done.

This week was planned out perfectly and was the only suitable installation date for weeks to come. To add insult to injury, a single-handed white van man was sent to collect the incorrect cylinder and he came without any lifting gear or dolly. More manual handling fun!

So we have a wireless heat pump. It’s incredibly efficient, using no power whatsoever, and so quiet you’d swear it wasn’t even plugged in.

On the plus side, it motivated me to get going on my shelves. Swings and roundabouts.

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