Mr and Mrs Wilkins – Braintree
After an unseasonably cold spring exacerbated by an outdated heating combination of storage heaters and a log burner, Terry and Gillian Wilkins had an air source heat pump installed at their property thanks to Essex County Council led Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme.
Mr. Wilkins explained: “Our old heating setup wasn’t very efficient. Initially we were looking to replace it all with newer, more economical storage heaters but air source heat pumps were suggested to us. We were surprised to learn that the pump could be fully funded by the Green Homes scheme!”
With up to £10,000 of funding available and further information provided by Aran Insulation and contractors at Warmer Homes UK who installed the pump, it was clear to Mr. and Mrs. Wilkins that their home would be far more sustainably run once the heat pump was in place.
Mrs. Wilkins said “The heat pumps were totally new to us and we didn’t know anyone else who had one, but we were happy to try them as our storage heaters didn’t provide enough heat. Having the heat continuously is something we’re really looking forward to this winter, as the house used to get very cold towards the evening when we had used the heat from the storage heater.”
She added, “It’s early days for us having this pump installed but we’ve had constant hot water and the pump doesn’t make any noise, it’s not intrusive.”
A renewable energy source, air source heat pumps are an ideal option for households looking to reduce their carbon footprint and benefit from reduced running costs as an additional perk. Generating more energy than they use, heat pumps are around three times more efficient than a boiler, and they can save an even greater percentage on household heating bills if they replace more expensive systems such as electric storage heaters, oil, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) or coal.
The pumps are particularly useful in off-grid, remote properties or areas without access to mains gas, like Terry and Gill. Terry said: “We did look into oil briefly but there’s uncertainty over it being phased out. Plus, we didn’t want to go down the fossil fuel route, we’d rather do our bit to be environmentally friendly.”
More disposable income at the end of the month due to lower fuel bills, and a significant reduction in their carbon footprint were just two of the huge positives Terry and Gill took away from their experience with the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme.
Mr. Wilkins said “The installation took five days and the contractors worked very hard. You wouldn’t know they had been in. They needed to lift carpets and move furniture to do the install, but they put everything back, hoovered up and they were excellent. We just feel so grateful to have had this whole installation fully funded by Essex County Council and the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme, and we couldn’t fault the process at all. ”
The couple enthusiastically recommend the scheme to other eligible households and told us “We’re even looking into solar panels as well now for our home. That’s the next step we’re researching now in terms of future cost savings and reducing our carbon footprint.”
Elizabeth Sadler – Tendring
Elizabeth Sadler (aged 75) is a retired radiographer who has lived in her Tendring home for over five years. She recently had unsafe loft insulation replaced as part of Essex County Council’s Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme.
Speaking about how she found out about the scheme, Elizabeth said: “I came across a post on the Essex County Council Facebook page advertising the free funding, so I made a note of the contact number and gave the council a call.”
After making initial contact Elizabeth’s query was passed to Aran Insulation, Essex County Council’s contractor for the scheme.
She continued: “The Aran team took it from there and it was an incredibly straight-forward and simple process. I had a survey carried out when I bought my property, so the team could see, even before visiting, that I already had some green measures in place, such as cavity wall insulation and a modern boiler.
They did however note that my loft insulation wasn’t up to the government’s current standards, so they organised for a surveyor to come and take a look.”
During a visit to inspect Elizabeth’s home, which was built in the 1970s, the surveyor was alarmed to see that not only did the original loft insulation fall below today’s standards, it was actually paper-based, meaning it was highly flammable.
Elizabeth added: “It was very frightening to hear that my loft insulation didn’t comply with any fire regulations and posed a real risk to my safety. The surveyor said that Aran would replace the insulation as soon as possible for me. I was so grateful.”
Less than two weeks later, the contractors arrived at Elizabeth’s home to replace her flammable loft insulation. The whole process took less than a day to complete.
Commenting on the works, Elizabeth said: “I was so taken by the Aran team, they did a wonderful job. They put covering up the stairs to protect my carpet and left no mess at all.
“They even insulated neatly around the previously exposed loft hatch, which has already stopped a draft coming through. I particularly noticed the difference when it was cooler a couple of weeks ago. My upstairs rooms were so warm as the heat wasn’t escaping through the gaps like it used to. I know I’ll appreciate the new insulation in the winter as it’s made a vast difference to the warmth of my house already.”
Once works were completed, Elizabeth was sent a certificate in the post to show that her new loft insulation meets all current fire and energy efficiency regulations.
Elizabeth added: “I’m so relieved my home now has a reduced fire risk. I would strongly urge all Essex residents who feel they fit the scheme’s criteria to just pick up the phone and call Aran Insulation. Like myself, many others may be living in a dangerous home and not even realise it. Getting my loft insulated didn’t cost me a penny as was so simple to sign up for. If I can do it, anybody can!”