Every year, thousands of redundant oil-fired boilers need to be replaced. In many cases, there are few oppotunities to choose an alternative fuel source - including renewable technologies – due to the lack of mains gas to the property or the need, from a cost-saving point of view, to retain the same radiators and heating distribution.
Which is why it’s important to consider taking a different approach to resolving the problem via, for example, a ‘hybrid’ system that utilises air source heat pump technology alongside an oil-fired boiler.
Mason Gillibrand Environmental are currently working on a couple of projects in the North West involving the installation of hybrid boilers. It’s a practical solution where the property is in a rural local without easy access to mains gas. In addition, it’s possible to retrofit the hybrid solution to some existing oil boiler systems and avoids the extra cost of having to resize and replace radiators. Importantly, it circumvents the need for homeowners to manage without heating for an extended period of time while the heat pump is being installed.
Hybrid systems work by automatically choosing the most efficient fuel source; the hybrid unit monitors the outside air temperature and only engages the heat pump when the outside air temperature is high enough for it to meet the heat demand of the building on its own. The oil boiler acts as a backup when the heating system needs a boost.
This type of system has several advantages over other heating solutions. It occupies less space than an alternative Biomass boiler system, reduces the reliance on (and the carbon footprint of) oil-fired heating systems, while helping to future-proof against unknown energy costs. Currently, hybrid systems also benefit from RHI (renewable heat incentive) payments.