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Oil central heating

Nick Trollope

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I have decided to ditch my fioul central heating, and replace it with electric (old 200MSq stone house), because;

I can't afford to buy oil at the rate of 2000L/year & it ain't gonna get no cheaper,

The radiators are all 25years old & not very efficient.

The pipework is what I remember from my days in "industry" as "black pipe" - we used it for air,

The burner is new, but the boiler is old,

It doesn't really heat the house,

The tanks take up most of the garage,

I have HC water heating (new C-E) and a 15Kw supply,

I am an electrician (although I understand wet CH systems).

Am I being short-sighted?



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hi nick

     ok funny question this comming from you  ( i would be expecting you to be replying to it not asking it )

 no one better qualified but you to work out the electric heating costs ... 15kw supply  for heating and the rest you could have to go up here.

  the pipe work is black iron  bsp thread same as our house no problem there

old boiler ??????? you should have a think here prehaps ????

rads should be ok , people hound out old rads and fit them to new systems and they work . so just taste here

oil prices rising ... leccy goes up with so does gas and wood

insulation could be worth looking at

a second heating source ... a wood burner ???

short sighted never, not when it comes to  try and save a bit of coin


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Will the gradual privatisation of EDF mean that prices are bound to rise? Dunno..........

Oil should come down to a more stable price after this Winter, since the oil majors have to adjust their prices in line with falling crude prices. Should: who knows?

I have always considered electric heating expensive: unless it is storage running off cheap rate.

But storage heating runs out at the very point that one needs it: 4-5.00 PM until bedtime!

Black Iron Pipework: I am reliably informed that the reason France originally adopted this was to use up musket barrels after a major war: honest! And it sort of went on from there............

Horrible stuff to bend. Used to use 3/4 galvanised water barrel for airlines: a pig to thread!

Black iron was usually used for gas feeds. All copper and plastic now.


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I looked very carefully into the various options three years ago.

Yes, a heat pump using either slinkies, borehole or water source can be very effective and cost-efficient.

Problem one; it is not well suited to rads: it only really works well if used to provide underfloor and even then, will simply maintain an ambient temp well beneath most people's expectations (e.g. 22 C in the main living area). During the Winter, some additional heating source is required: = more capital and fuel cost.

Retro-fitting underfloor to old buildings is normally not on, apart from (e.g.) a barn conversion or restoring a wreck. Retro-fritting to newer buildings is also a significant problem.

The significant capital cost has to be amortised over say ten years: at which point, the extra capital cost (using a technique such as DCF) is lost in the fuel cost difference, in many cases.

The key secret, of course, is insulation: unfortunately, again, with established houses in France this can prove a huge problem. Lack of cavity walls means one real choice: to dryline the interior, thus losing interior space and creating visual eyesores around windows appertures.

Unfortunately, one simply has to accept heatloss as a reality: which means throwing into the building significant heat: much of which heats the atmosphere!

Focusing on waste at the point of heat generation is one way to reduce costs: using a condensing boiler helps to reduce costs. Sadly, these are only now beginning to be readily available in France.

Every comparative analysis I have seen, lists electricity in terms of cost of heat/BTU or /Kw as more expensive than either gas or oil.

Personally, since oil is probably the most widely used for heating in France and since Total and ELF fall marginally under government control, I feel eventually, the French government will stabilise the prices to avoid an inflationary economic cycle.

Most of the price rises were sheer exploitation, as oil major buys on a 6X6X6 contract: thus their porices are fixed for six months and rotate. Their prices don't zoom up overnight! It's an oil industry rip off!

We shall see. BTW bulk heating oil peaked at circa 65 cents and is now already down to 50 cents.

Nuclear: yes; obviously the true cost has never been passed on to the consumer. Same as Concorde Syndrome.


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