With the sudden rise in wholesale gas prices due to a shortage of supply, many people will soon be experiencing higher energy bills. There has never been a better time to improve the energy efficiency of your home.

Energy saving light bulbs

Energy efficient light bulbs have been common place across the UK since the old-style incandescent bulbs were completely banned in 2016 and halogen bulbs banned in 2019. Still, there are many old-style bulbs still hanging around.

The old-style bulbs are extremely inefficient as only 10% of the energy used to power the bulb is actually turned into light. The remaining energy is wasted as heat. Energy saving light bulbs.

There are two types of energy saving light bulbs that are widely available today. 

Compact fluorescent light bulbs

Compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs, were the first energy-saving light bulbs to replace the old incandescent bulbs. CFL uses 75% less energy and lasts 10 times longer than the old style incandescent bulbs. 

There were a few teething troubles when CFLs were first introduced. They tended to take a few seconds to warm up and therefore reach their full brightness, this put off many consumers to begin with. The technology has massively improved since with the bulbs no longer having a delay in reaching full brightness. 

There is a downside to CFLs. The bulbs contain mercury so are not environmentally friendly especially when they are sent to landfill.

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs)

LEDs are the premier league of energy efficient light bulbs. 

While incandescent bulbs only convert 10% of their energy to light, an LED converts over 90% and emits very little heat. This means they need far less energy to produce the same amount of light as a traditional bulb. LEDs last for a long time too. They can last up to 34 years whereas incandescent bulbs last for just over a year.

The long life and energy consumption make LED bulbs really cost effective. A recent article from the guardian newspaper states “Switching to LED light bulbs will shave nearly £2bn off the energy bills for Britain’s 25m homes. It will stop as much as 8m tonnes of CO2 entering the atmosphere and the energy saved at peak time equates to the output of three power stations the size of Hinkley Point C.”

Replace your old inefficient boiler

A direct consequence of rising gas prices will be an increase in the cost of heating our homes. One way to try and keep costs to a minimum is to replace your heating system with a new more economical heating system using a traditional gas boiler or look at alternative sustainable heating solutions. 

All gas-fired boilers fitted after the 1st April 2005 have to be condensing boilers. This applies to all boiler replacements and brand new installations. 

Condensing boilers have two internal heat exchangers which means that the heat lost to the surroundings, especially through the flue, is decreased. This makes them highly efficient. They also use less fuel and power which makes them the greener alternative, plus their CO2 emissions are much lower than their non-condensing counterparts.

A greener alternative to a traditional heating system is to use a renewable energy source. Ground source heat pumps take the natural heat generated by the earth and use it to provide heating and hot water to homes. Find out more about ground source heat pumps.

Install solar panels

Another way to combat the rising electricity and gas prices is to install solar panels. 

Solar electricity panels, also known as photovoltaics (PV), take the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity that you can use in your home.

There are a few things that should be considered before deciding on installing solar panels.

Do you have enough space for solar panels?

Typically, a roof with 10-20 square metres of space would be enough to deliver between 20% and 45% of the typical household’s electricity needs.

This roof space should also ideally face South, be unshaded, and at a pitch angle of about 30 or 40 degrees.

How much does solar panel installation cost?

According to the Energy Saving Trust, on average solar panel installation costs around £5000. This may seem expensive but generating your own electricity can save up to £330 per year from your electricity bill. Some electricity providers will also allow any excess electricity that may be generated to be sold back to the grid. 

If you are looking to reduce your energy bills and combat the inevitable price rises, now is the time to improve your home’s energy efficiency. HMS electrical are expert electrical contractors and can advise on any new installations in your home.

If you are considering using renewable energy sources for your heating, then a ground source heat pump (GSHP) is an ideal way to do this. 

Ground source heat pumps are also known as earth-coupled heat pumps due to the fact that they extract heat from the ground in the form of geothermal energy. This means they are much more efficient than other heating systems. 

How does a GSHP work?

A ground source heat pump system can be installed in a property to replace the boiler. A traditional boiler burns fossil fuels to generate heat – usually gas or oil – a GSHP, however, takes its heat from the ground. 

In order to extract heat from the ground,  pipes – known as a ground loop or a collector loop –  that contain a mixture of water and antifreeze are buried in the back garden.  

The liquid circulates in the loop and absorbs heat from the ground. The fluid then passes through a compressor that raises its temperature. It then passes through a heat exchange and then into the heat pump. This heat can then be used for heating the home and hot water. 

The process then continues as the cooled liquid passes through the loop once more.

Depending on the space available, the collector loop is laid out horizontally in a shallow trench around one meter deep. If space is an issue, boreholes between 90 and 160 meters deep can be drilled to accommodate the loop. Due to this, it is essential that a qualified renewable energy installer that specialises in ground source heat pumps is consulted to design the system based on the available space and the heat requirements.

How much does a Ground Source Heat pump cost to install?

Depending on the size of the home and the available space for the collector loop, the cost of ground source heat pump installation can be between £14,000 to £19,000. This is much more than the cost of installing a conventional boiler. 

However, according to the energy saving trust, on average a typical, well insulated, four-bedroom detached house could save up to £435 per year on running costs. There is also financial support available via renewable energy funding in the UK through the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive. The domestic RHI scheme pays homeowners for 7 years and the amount is dependent on the amount of renewable heat that is generated by your heating system. 

Benefits of Renewable Energy

Renewable energy comes in many forms, from geothermal energy – the type utilised by a GSHP –  to wind, solar power and biomass energy. The main advantage is they will never run out. Using renewable energy creates proven environmental, economic and even human health benefits.

Some of the other benefits of renewable energy are:

Is a Ground Source Heat Pump right for me?

In order to evaluate if a GSHP is right for your property there are a few things you should consider:

Do you have space for the ground loop?

A GSHP is better suited to larger properties as there needs to be space to dig a trench or a borehole. You will also need to provide access to digging machinery.

Is your home well insulated?

Ground source heat pumps produce heat at a lower temperature but over a longer length of time than traditional boilers. So to get the most out of the system it’s essential that your property is well insulated.

What type of heating system do you have?

Ground source heat pumps perform better with underfloor heating systems or warm air heating than with radiator-based systems because of the lower water temperatures required.

How can HMS Electrical help?

If you would like to speak to someone regarding the installation of a ground source heat pump or any other renewable energy technologies then please contact us today.

With rising petrol prices and many manufacturers now offering far more models and government grants to help with purchasing, tax and charging many people are now investing in an electric vehicle for the first time.

So you’ve just invested in your shiny new electric vehicle but what do you do about getting it charged? There are increasing numbers of charging points around the country but the most cost efficient way to charge your car is with a charge point at your home.

There are a few things that need to be considered before you get your home charging point installed.

Electric Cars Charging Point Installation

Get your main electricity fuse checked.

In order to install a charging point in your home you need to have a compatible main fuse. You will need to have either an 80 or a 100amp fuse installed at your property.

What sort of charger do you need?

There are several types of chargers available today. The first thing to decide is the output you require. You can get 3kW, 7kW and 22kW chargers, the more powerful it is the quicker it will fully charge your car. The 7kW chargers are generally the most common.

Do you want a cable?

You can choose between a tethered or untethered charger. A tethered charger will have a cable, this means you won’ have to carry around a cable in your boot so is more convenient. Tethered cables don’t fit every electric car though. An untethered charger has no cable attached to it, meaning you will need to carry the cable around in your boot. The big advantage of an untethered charger is that is will connect to almost any electric vehicle.

How much does charger installation cost?

The cost of home charging points varies depending on the type of charger you choose. An average cost is around £800 however there are cheaper options. The lower powered 3kW unit could cost you between £250 and £500. The faster, more powerful 7kW chargers can cost between £450 and £800 – and if you want a really fast charger, that can cost up to £1,500 or more.

Grants for Electric Vehicle Charging Points

There is a government grant that can help with the cost of your charging point installation. The electric vehicle homecharge scheme (EVHS) provides a 75% contribution to the cost of one chargepoint and its installation. The grant is capped at £350 and has a couple of requirements for eligibility.

Firstly the person must own, lease or have ordered a qualifying vehicle and secondly they must have off street parking available. The government’s website has more information about EVHS and the vehicles that are eligible

HMS Electrical Can Help

If you’ve just bought a new electric vehicle and are looking to get a home charging point installed, give us a call today and we can help you get the best charging point for your needs.

Make the most of your outdoor space this summer

Over the last year or so most people have been spending far more time at home. As a result the number of people looking to renovate or improve their homes has grown. So now as the summer is finally upon us many of us are looking to improve our outdoor spaces as well. Many garden projects can be as simple as getting new patio furniture or creating a decking area but what if you want to try something a bit more adventurous?

There are many projects to make your garden a nicer place to work or relax this summer that will require electricity, in this blog we will take a look at some of the most common garden projects that HMS electrical can help you with, to make sure you get the most of you garden for work and for play.

Outdoor Offices

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic many people have been working from home for the last 12 months or so. Not everyone has the room inside for an office, so an excellent solution is to convert an existing out-building or shed into a garden office building.

In order to function as an office the room will need electricity; for lighting and to power your computer. But not only that, there may be a need to install data cabling to access the internet. Unless your building is close to your house it might not be close enough to pick up your Wifi.

Also, in any shed or garden building that contains expensive IT equipment you want it to be safe and secure, so alarm systems and security cameras are a necessity.

Shed Conversions

Not everyone will want or need to convert their shed into an office, there are other options for the humble shed.

One of the most popular uses for the garden shed is to create your very own pub. No pub will be complete without power. Who wants to be drinking a warm beer in the dark afterall?

From lighting to refrigeration and even a big screen to watch sports on, having power in your shed pub will make it just like the real thing. If you’re feeling really adventurous you could even install your own pumps and get practising pulling your own pints.

Hot Tubs

A hot tub can be a relaxing addition to your garden. Because they are large, electrically complex systems, hot tub installation can be tricky. Modern hot tubs tend to be self-contained, which means there is no plumbing involved in the setup. Even so, installing a hot tub can be difficult, due to the size and weight of the unit.

A hot tub will need an outdoor power source. The voltage of a hot tub is higher than regular home outlets, so you will need to install a breaker to your electrical control box. This is one of those jobs where it is best to hire an electrician.

Outdoor Lighting

Even the simplest of touches can transform any outdoor space into a nice place to relax even after the sun has gone down. By installing outdoor lighting you can continue to make the best use of your garden or outdoor space well into the night.

From LED decking lights to solar lights, there are many exterior lighting solutions that are suitable for any garden. Of course many types of lighting will require an outdoor electrical source or an outdoor power socket.

HMS Electrical are here to help

So if you are about to embark on a project to transform your outdoor space or garden shed HMS electrical can help. We have the knowledge and expertise to power even the most adventurous projects.

Whether it’s installing garden lights or outdoor sockets – outdoor wiring to give power to outdoor office spaces – or installing security cameras and alarm systems to protect your IT equipment then get in touch with us today for a quote.

Smart Home Technology, sounds like such a futuristic concept.

Imagine turning up the central heating with your phone, so your house is warm when you
arrive home. Turning on the lights with a voice command and not getting up from the sofa to
press an old fashioned switch. Even answering your front door when you’re not at home can
all be done with a simple click .The advances in home automation have been huge over the
last 10 years or so.

The introduction of voice controlled home assistants such as the Amazon Alexa and Google
Assistant, and their ever-expanding range of compatible devices, mean smart homes are
accessible to most people and not just some futuristic dream.

Home automation is the ability to control household devices, like clocks, TVs, cameras,
central heating, lights, doorbells with a voice command or the push of a button.

According to market research, in 2020 22% of adults in the UK owned at least one smart
speaker and the average Brit owns over 9 connected devices (smart phone, tablet, games
console etc) each.

Connecting to the internet

In order to run smart home device, you must first be connected to the internet. Some devices
such as some home security camera systems will require a direct wired connection. This
could be a problem if you don’t have enough data points. HMS can help. We can fully install
new data points needed in the most convenient place possible, for any new devices that
need a wired internet connection.

Installing smart home devices

Whilst most smart home devices are wireless and easy to install, some will need
professional installation. They may need a constant energy supply or are too complicated for
the average DIY enthusiast. Smart thermostats, security cameras and some doorbell
systems will need to be wired by a professional electrician. HMS can help. We can fully
install smart home devices, putting your mind at rest that the job will be done thoroughly.

Smart thermostats

There are many brands of smart thermostat available today. Two of the most popular; Nest
and Hive thermostats, enable you to control your heating from a smartphone or a tablet and
both connect to voice assistants. Some models will even give you a breakdown of energy
consumption allowing you to monitor usage and make changes to save energy and money.
However, installing a thermostat can be complicated. HMS can help. Unless you are
qualified it is not recommended to try to install new components to a central heating system,
always leave it to the experts.

Contact Us

HMS Electrical have all the knowledge and expertise to install a wide variety of smart home
devices. If you have a new smart camera and are unsure how to wire it in, or are considering
upgrading your current light switches to smart lights or you’d like a smart thermostat, then
contact HMS Electrical for free advice and a free quote.