I'm one of the guys who helps run this website. This is the blog of my experiences in trying to reduce my household energy usage by a variety of means.
Despite what it says when you login to uSwitch about being able to save comparison searches in your profile, you can't.
The facility was removed during their last website redesign.
It all started out 10 years ago when I needed one extra PC to run a firewall I was testing.
Since then my computer network has grown unchecked into a hodge-podge of quite old beige PC towers plus a couple of hubs here and there.
A while ago I decided to embark on a project to try and reduce its energy consumption because it was preposterously large as a proportion of the daytime base load of the house.
Having now been through the exercise, I'm able to calculate whether it's been worth it or not.
I've been on a Scottish Power Green Energy H2O tariff for about a year, but following notification of a considerable hike in my monthly direct debit due to price rises (up to £58.50 from £36.50 even though I've been in credit for ages), I headed over to uSwitch.com for a price comparison.
Frankly, I wish I hadn't bothered.
We've just reached the time of year where we're able to switch off the timer for oil-fired hot water and rely entirely on our solar panels again.
That's because the sky's bright enough to provide enough heat for our daily hot water requirements (save for the occasional exception).
Big changes in the refuse collections in our area are underway. Today we got our own kerbside recycling box and a pair of leaflets explaining the new system.
It's hard to see how much more complicated they could have made it...
I'm trying to optimise the heat transfer fluid flow rate in my solar hot water circuit.
Intuitively I feel that a slower-moving fluid will collect more heat energy as it passes through the panels and therefore be able to deliver more heat energy through the heat exchanger in the hot water tank than cooler, faster flowing fluid would - but is my intuition deceiving me?
What do you think?
Came home yesterday to find that the solar hot water control panel display was flashing red and showing the fault code 'SYS'.
For the last two years I've been noting down our daily electricity meter reading every morning.
The original reason for this was because the house was entirely electrically-driven - no central heating, only electric radiators and hot water supplied by an immersion heater.
Our first couple of quarters' bills were ridiculous, and our average daily usage was in excess of 30KWh.
The installers have returned once more, checked/tightened various connections and repressurised the circuit again.
This time pressure seems to be holding - which is good news.
Early yesterday morning, the installers came back to check over and repressurise the solar circuit once more back to 1.5bar when not in operation.
I then set up a webcam to watch and record the temp and pressure gauges in the loft every 15 minutes.
Having spent some considerable time up in the loft recently (fitting 250mm of insulation) I noticed the pressure in the solar heat transfer fluid system was a lot lower than I expected - much less than 1bar.
So I called the installers out and they took a look at it.
The UK Channel 4's programme (8th March 2007) on the doubts around the anthropogenic global warming theory was a rare example of a decent analysis of the subject.
Not that it didn't prevent me from disagreeing with some of the points made...
It's now been up and running for a couple of weeks, so here are some pictures of the various components.
No, Worcester-Bosch don't do a plume management kit for their condensing oil boilers.
No, you can't attach any kind of external flue from another manufacturer without invalidating your boiler warranty.
No, there is nothing in development to mitigate the plume effect in any way.
So that's a 'no' then. Over to Plan B...
... and it only took them 6 weeks. 6 weeks after the plans were re-submitted after they lost the first set, that is.
"...sent in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public enquiry, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as fire lighters..."
Much disagreement in Worcester-Bosch over this - one part of their technical dept says they do a plume management kit for the 32/50 and another part says they don't.
Our Worcester-Bosch Greenstar 32/50 (edit: I originally said this was a 50/70, which was incorrect) boiler's been running for about 6 weeks or so, and now the installers are getting concerned that there's no condensate being produced at the outlet.
An identical boiler installed recently in a different house in our village is producing about 2 litres of condensate/day but from ours - nothing. The other house's plume is practically non-existent, whereas ours is huge.
Spotted a plug-in 'electricity usage datalogger' at B&Q, and since this is something I've wanted to do for a while I stumped up the £25 required and bought one.
"It won't be a problem" - ha!
Given a cold, damp day, the plume from our new condensing oil boiler (now commissioned) is akin to the output from the chimney of a steam loco at full "chat" climbing Shap Fell. Smells a bit like it too.
Heard today from our installer (who's handling the planning process for us) that the council need additional information.
There's a lot of preparation work!
About a year ago, my wife and I bought a place to live having rented for a number of years.
The place we bought has a number of challenges when it comes to being environmentally friendly.