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Going 'Off-Grid'

  1. 22 February 2017
  2. By Abigail Rowley

If you’re moving to a rural area, it can be confusing trying to make sense of all the different fuel types available where mains gas is not an option...

Compare your off-grid fuel options

At Reallymoving.com we understand that moving house can become expensive. Our online services can help you compare costs for solicitors, surveyors and removal firms to make sure you get the best deal and save money when you move.

The same could also be said for your choice of home energy. It’s a long-term decision that you want to make sure you get right.

To help you compare off-grid options, so you can make the right choice for your home, we have brought in the rural energy experts from Calor to explain the different fuels available.  Here’s what they told us...
 
Finding a gorgeous property in a quaint rural village is something many people dream of, escaping the hustle and bustle of city life. Despite the idealistic view of easy country living, there are a few things you must bear in mind before making the move, such as how you are going to fuel your home.
 
Approximately four million homes in the UK are not connected to the mains gas grid, and rely on alternative fuel options. So how do you heat your home and get instant hot water if you have no access to mains gas?
 
There is a choice of fuels available to off-grid homes including oil, solid fuel, electricity, LPG, and renewables.

Oil

Oil has traditionally been the most common fuel used to heat homes in off-grid properties, and modern oil condensing boilers can achieve efficiencies of 90 per cent and more. However, you may want to consider that oil has to be stored in a tank in the garden which can be an eyesore.
 
Another point to take into account is that oil can be easily siphoned and theft of the fuel is a big issue in rural areas. If you do choose to have oil, it’s likely you will have to monitor the fuel levels and be responsible for ordering top-ups when you’re running low.
 
You can ‘shop around’ and use a different oil company each time you have your tank topped up and the price of oil does fluctuate.

Solid Fuel

Many older properties may still use solid fuel heating to fuel fires or stoves –and lack the modern comfort of a controllable heating system, with radiators and thermostats. For a constant heat using oil or solid fuel, you’ll have to refill the stove regularly so you’ll require a good supply of wood or coal. Solid fuel systems often heat homes unevenly, and there will be soot produced.
 
You’ll also require a large area to store your wood or coal – with this often being outside many people find it an inconvenience to move fuel indoors when required.
 
An additional consideration is that electric immersion tanks are often used to provide hot water, which can be costly to run.

Electricity

Electric boilers and storage heaters are another alternative option. Of the two, storage heaters are cheaper than electric boilers to both install and maintain, but are often harder to control.  However, electricity is the most expensive way to fuel your home. On average it costs 2-3 more to heat your home than oil, solid fuel and LPG. Prices can vary, as you may have to use a specialist tariff to help control the costs.

Renewables

Solar and air source heat pumps are environmentally friendly renewable fuel sources, but can be very costly to buy and install. A backup fuel supply such as oil or LPG may be needed for times of the year when the weather does not allow the system to work to its maximum potential.

LPG

LPG is the closest alternative you can get to being on mains gas. It’s versatile, and can be used for heating, hot water, gas cooking and appliances such as gas fires and tumble dryers. Becoming an increasingly popular choice for those living off-grid, LPG is the greenest and cleanest of all off-grid fuels as it produces less CO2 and harmful emissions than oil or solid fuel.
 
LPG boilers typically cost £900 less to purchase than an equivalent oil boiler, are more compact, and can be easily wall mounted, meaning they take up less space in your home.
 
There’s a range of storage options with LPG, including underground tanks and discrete cylinder packs, meaning there’s a solution for most outside spaces.
 
Unlike oil, it is virtually impossible to steal, and automatic top-up technology means your supplier will know when you will need a delivery and arrange this so you should never be left without gas.
 
It can also cost less than you think to install an LPG system. For example, an oil tank can cost as much as £2,000 plus the added expense of installation, maintenance and insurance to factor in. In comparison Calor will install an above ground tank completely free of charge and for a small charge are responsible for its maintenance.
 
Therefore, if you want the closest option to being on mains gas in your new rural home, and benefits from instant heating and hot water, plus a reliable supply, LPG is definitely a fuel to consider.

 
 

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