As part of the Government's move to make the UK carbon neutral by 2050, gas boilers will become extinct. We ask Dave Brown, Heating Compliance Manager, what the future might have in store for your home heating.
Q: So, are the days of the gas boiler numbered?
A: Yes, but they will be phased out over a number of years, rather than coming to a dramatic end all of a sudden. That’s good news for our team at Karbon because we have almost 23,000 gas boilers to change!
Q: Why do they need to be changed at all?
A: Britain has always favoured gas boilers and heating, in fact 80% of UK homes are currently heated with natural gas – a higher number than many other countries. That’s because of our North Sea gas reserves, which have made it convenient and cheap. But according to the Committee on Climate Change, heating is responsible for almost a third of the UK’s harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
Q: What does this mean for customers?
A: If you’re worried about having to ditch your gas or oil burner right now – don’t be. Housebuilders will have to install an alternative in newbuilds from 2025 but there are no laws to ban gas and oil boilers in existing homes. That said, the Government is looking at ways to encourage everyone to switch. And when we do make the change, the costs of running new, greener systems can be cheaper.
Q: What are Karbon’s plans for our boilers?
A: We’ve already begun looking ahead to future ways to heat your home. Over the coming years we will be reviewing all of our existing properties to consider what type of heating best suits the type of property and the location. As a rule of thumb, rural locations tend to be best suited to air source heat pumps, while urban areas will work well with hydrogen but we will carefully consider every property. Where we are building new homes, we’re already looking ahead to some really exciting ideas. For example, in South Hylton in Sunderland, we are looking at Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery. This involves recycling heat created in the home, recovering up to 90% of what would normally be released to outside air.
Q: What are the alternatives to gas central heating?
A: There are some really innovative and viable ways of heating your home. In some countries, natural resources have been providing ‘free’ heat for many years. For example, in Iceland, nine out of ten homes are heated by hot water springs. Here are a few of the more common options:
District heating systems
This is all about connecting whole streets, developments and even communities with heat from one central place. Sources of heat can come from water beneath the ground through to waste heat from factories. District heating is usually most suitable for densely populated areas – in fact it’s used already at the Byker Community Trust development in Newcastle.
These work by simply moving heat. They work like a fridge going backwards, pumping heat from outside your home into your hot water or heating system. There are two main types of heat pumps. Air source heat pumps extract heat from the outside air. And ground-source heat pumps take it from pipes laid in the ground.
This type of boiler works in a similar way to existing gas boilers, looks similar and (once available) will be connected to the existing gas network. The key difference being that they could not only heat your home with natural gas but pure hydrogen too – a greener option.
This heating works by using the sun’s energy to heat the water in your home, using solar thermal panels.
These allow residents to use all kinds of organic material to generate heat. Wood, grass, crops or even dung can be turned into pellets that are burnt to create heat for the home.
Don’t miss your boiler’s annual health check!
With lockdown keeping us all indoors, our heating systems have been under much more pressure than usual. It’s hugely important that they get the annual service they need to keep them running efficiently and to keep you safe. The Government is very clear that we, as your landlord, must continue to carry out these inspections to make sure that all residents, including the vulnerable, are protected from potential deadly carbon monoxide leaks or gas explosions.
Your safety is our priority. We’ve put in place extra COVID-19 measures to protect you and our team. We will:
- Send you a letter with an appointment date and details of the robust safety procedures we will follow. You can change this date if it’s not convenient.
- Call you in advance to check on your circumstances
- Explain what happens next depending on your answers. If you’re shielding, self-isolating or have tested positive for COVID-19, we will still need to make arrangements to visit your home – even if that’s at a later date
- Check your circumstances again when we are on our way to make sure nothing has changed
- Remind you of exactly how we will carry out the check when we arrive
- Provide dedicated customer services advisors to answer any queries and concerns
So, when you’re contacted for your service, please help us to keep you and your family safe by giving us access to your home.