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Heating for 1930s house

(23 Posts)
EmpressMatilda Wed 11-Feb-15 17:57:19

We're about to move into a 1930s semi. It's a lovely house but needs quite a bit of work. The heating system is a back boiler behind a dodgy looking old fire. The radiators are all a bit past it as well. We are going to replace the whole system and are looking for something that can heat this old house effectively and that is also quite future-proof. We have a quote from someone about installing a Worcester Bosch combi and replacing all the radiators. It came in at £8000 which seems like a hell of a lot. We are also looking into Baxi back boilers as they would be cheap and easy to install given it would just be updating what we already have. My MiL has recently gone 100% electric and says it's brilliant (but she only has to heat a 1 bedroom flat). Anyone got any feedback about these 3 options or other suggestions.

wowfudge Wed 11-Feb-15 18:31:58

Was that from British Gas by any chance? They think of a high number and treble it ime. Over to PigletJohn for this one...

PigletJohn Wed 11-Feb-15 18:32:51

electric will be expensive to run

if you can still get a back boiler it will not be as good as a modern boiler

As you are going to fit a complete new system, have a look at fitting an unvented hot water cylinder. Look at Vaillant, Viessmann and Worcester boilers. On the makers' websites there will probably be a list of approved installers in your area. The guarantee will probably be longer if you use an installer from their list.

A quote for heating in the middle of winter (now) will be more expensive than when the weather warms up and the installers are less busy.

If the house is still on the original steel cold water supply pipe, it will be quite rusty by now and liable to leak, probably under the kitchen floor. Take the opportunity to replace it with a new plastic pipe, in 25mm or preferably 32mm, all the way to the pavement. It will give a much better, and probably quieter, flow.

PolpoPolpo Wed 11-Feb-15 18:38:48

I've just renovated a three bedroomed 1930s house. Had to install a completely brand new central heating system. I had a WB Combi as you describe, it came to £6,500 - this was with very fancy radiators and in the SEast. British Gas quoted me £10k for the same spec job.

And a big thank you to PigletJohn, I followed a lot of his advice that I came across on Mumsnet.

TalkinPeace Wed 11-Feb-15 20:57:14

When we added rather a lot onto our 1930 house - all that was left were 4 radiators from the old system

- new vaillant boiler
- new 240 litre tank
- new solar thermal panel for free summer hot water
16 new rads
TRVs to every rad
full first and second fit plumbing to 8 rooms
and the bathroom /3 and kitchen and utility room plumbing

under £7000

TeddyBee Wed 11-Feb-15 21:36:19

We have a WB combi and mostly new radiators. Upstairs is roasting, downstairs is freezing. We are gradually coming round to the idea of insulating under the floorboards. But it will be a vile job as our crawl space is rancid. We have a woodburner too which is lovely. Our new boiler and a few new rads cost £3.5k. We also had some of our pipe work replaced, but I wish we had replaced all of it and updated all of our radiators as the difference between new and old ones is amazing. Coldest rooms still have old rads in them. I have been dithering about replacing them, but j think it's a job for the summer (and cheap plumbers) rather than now.

limesoda Thu 12-Feb-15 09:33:43

Changing our heating over to gas, including making good what needs to be made good and all that jazz has come in at �2600. DH is doing a lot of the prep work though, and that doesn't include any radiators. I really want feature radiators, and I think we will change them room by room.

I cannot WAIT to actually have proper hot water. I haven't had a shower thats lasted for more than about 3 minutes since December hmm

EmpressMatilda Thu 12-Feb-15 10:22:43

Wow, thank you. Some really good advice here. Sounds like our quote is a bit steep then. I suspected as much. We'll also consider the idea of doing it in the summer. My DH thinks the current system will be adequate for a few months.

Those of you who went for under floor heating and wood burners, what did you combine them with for the rest of the house, how much did it cost and how long did it take to install? I think these things are pretty disruptive, aren't they? Also, we are going to redecorate over the next month or so. Did the work seriously disrupt this or would just keeping a bit of extra paint for touching up?

EmpressMatilda Thu 12-Feb-15 10:27:04

TalkinPeace I love the combination you have gone for. We had thought about solar panels. Impressed that was all under £7k. Definitely time to get some new quotes in I think!

yomellamoHelly Thu 12-Feb-15 10:37:19

1930s house. New vaillant boiler and megaflow cylinder. New mains pipe from stopcock for boiler. Was £3,500. Optional extra £400 to replace pipe outside to increase pressure - which we didn't do. (Not touched radiators and associated pipework though.)

yomellamoHelly Thu 12-Feb-15 10:38:26

Sorry - finally reading other posts - we did get new TRVs to all radiators included.

TalkinPeace Thu 12-Feb-15 10:40:19

Empress
We sourced our system through here
www.vaillant.co.uk/products/renewables/solar-thermal-water-heating/
The installers come and go, but the actual products come with manufacturer guarantee.
I always planned an airing cupboard so the storage tank is great.
My boiler switches off in about early April and back on in mid October. Between those dates the sun provides all the hot water four of us need.

NB Solar thermal is NOT electricity - no feed in stuff.

TalkinPeace Thu 12-Feb-15 11:27:45

FWIW my Solar panel is running at the moment - yes, on this grey and miserable February day - and its heating the water by 5 degrees .... that is 5 degrees that the boiler does not have to do.

TalkingTree2 Thu 12-Feb-15 11:40:55

I also live in a 1930s house. We've been here a couple of years and have gradually been updating parts of our heating system. What I'm going to say may seem obvious, but insulation has been the biggest thing for us. The house was absolutely freezing our first winter here, and we have insulated absolutely everything we can, and the difference is massive. However, 1930s houses were built to be well ventilated, and it can be difficult to insulate to a modern standard. For instance our ground floor floors (Lovely old oak herringbone) are all raised up above the ground level, with air bricks going to the outside from underneath. So the floors are always cold.

We do have a problem of the upstairs being over warm and the downstairs cold, and the layout of the big staircase means all the heat goes straight up to the top. I've been thinking about putting a curtain across the stairs, but it would be hard to fit.

Still, it's better than it was, thanks to the insulation.

OliviaBenson Thu 12-Feb-15 11:49:01

I think I'd hold off on the decoration until after you've had it installed. It can be quite messy job and we had a very unexpected leak which would have ruined new decoration.

EmpressMatilda Thu 12-Feb-15 15:20:32

See, the decoration is part of the problem. The carpets will absolutely have to be changed as they are so filthy I wouldn't let my toddler run about on them. The decor I guess I can put up with though there's a limit to my tolerance of orange! I am keen to get it all done right away, especially as baby no.2 is due in April, but as you say, the heating thing can be so risky.

wonkylegs Thu 12-Feb-15 15:58:01

If you really can't live with the decor Could you do a quick refresh in white/cream and then decorate properly when you've done the messy stuff.
I'm finally getting my decorating done after 1yr+ renovation but we did paint DSs full on purple bedroom within a week of moving in.

ChunkyPickle Thu 12-Feb-15 16:03:57

We have a 30s semi (half timber! I was shocked when I realised that the top half of my house doesn't actually have brick walls!) and a Worcester Bosch Combi boiler which I wouldn't change for the world. We have minimal insulation (it's on the list to get done, when we replace the tiles on the outside of the building), and actually only one small radiator downstairs that works, but we've not had any trouble staying warm over this winter.

There used to be a back boiler, but the previous owners changed it, radiators were already in place (old.. I think they've replaced one of them), and from receipts I've found they paid about 3.5k to get the boiler in, back boiler and a water tank removed - oh, and the water tank in the loft gone too, this was back in 2010.

TeddyBee Thu 12-Feb-15 16:23:05

We just painted out white and then did it properly as we finished the extension/renovation. Our plaster is shot though and I'm wishing we'd gone back to brick now I see all the cracks reappearing after I painstakingly gouged them out, filled and sanded sad

grumbleina Thu 12-Feb-15 16:54:53

What's under the carpets? If it's floorboards, could you live with ripping up the carpets, removing any nasty nails and having bare wood for a bit?

Our heating was installed via pipes under the floors, so there was quite a bit of floor-lifting, and there was Dust. I definitely wouldn't have wanted new carpets in situ. And that x10 if you're going with underfloor heating!

TeddyBee Thu 12-Feb-15 17:07:12

Floorboards are draughty, but we've thrown a load of cheap ikea rugs over them and they aren't so bad. Actually quite practical for toddlers.

EmpressMatilda Thu 12-Feb-15 17:33:31

Thanks for those tips -yes, I think there are pretty good floorboards under them and we're looking forward to wooden floors (much better from a hoovering point of view...) but I was wondering whether this was a dumb idea when combined with lack of good quality heating Feb-Apr. The rugs are a good plan though. In the long term I think we will re-carpet the upstairs but leave the downstairs as wood. Hence giving underfloor heating serious consideration!

Painting it white is a great idea. I guess I could get a big lot of white paint from Wickes or something. It will be nice to have it just like that until after all the heating stuff has been done and then we can choose some nice colours at our leisure!

kali43 Sun 26-Jul-15 17:36:25

marking this for later - just embarking on our own big 1930's project!

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