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LPG boilers are the ultimate heating solution for people who are not connected to the gas grid. Top boiler manufacturers produce LPG gas boilers meaning there is a wide variety of options to choose from.
Are you among the 4 million people not connected to the gas grid in the UK? LPG boilers will fulfill all your heating needs just like a natural gas boiler would do. With an LPG gas boiler and a reliable fuel supplier, you will never get short of heating or hot water in all your rooms.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is a fuel made from natural gas, oil extraction/refining. It is not only used to power heating systems but is also as a fuel for cooking, refrigerants, aerosol propellants. Canisters, tankers and large tanks do delivery and storage of LPG.
LPG boilers, just like oil boilers, are off-grid units that require LPG, which is a fuel to be delivered and stored in a tank pre-installed in your home. When the fuel is ignited, it heats water that is sent to central radiators and hot water taps.
An fuel tank can be above the ground or underground, but most homeowners prefer above-the-ground installations as they are cheaper than underground installations.
To install a complete LPG heating system in your home, you need to have a boiler unit, storage tank and fuel supplier.
The unit's cost will average at £600-£2,500 and will vary depending on size and model. This unit’s cost should be added to the installation and LPG storage tank cost to get the total figure. Here, you need to keep in mind that you will spend more on underground tank installations.
Many boiler brands will manufacture independent LPG boilers or natural gas boilers that can be converted to an LPG unit using a special conversion kit. It would help if you did enough research to know what option between the two will suit you best.
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When you’ve installed an LPG boiler in your home, there are a number of factors that influence its running costs, including your energy needs, the unit’s efficiency and the supplier rate. As a guide, LPG will cost approximately 6.16p per kW and £800 annually.
If you opt to rent your tank rather than purchasing it, you will have to pay for the standing charge. Renting a storage tank will cost you around £60 - £70 yearly but will depend on the supplier.
Any off-grid heating unit is always more expensive than mains gas systems as there is a cost incurred in delivering and storing the fuel on-site. You should therefore be ready to pay more for LPG than you would if you were connected to the mains gas. The Energy Saving Trust costs recommendations for different fuel types are as follows:
The unit KWh is meant to standardize all fuel types' costs so that comparing them becomes straightforward.
Practically, LPG is sold in litres and will cost around 33-49p per litre. The exact price will, however, depend on factors such as your location and annual fuel usage. If you live in a remote area and are just a small consumer, you will pay more for LPG.
A typical UK home will require around 18,000 kWh of heat energy and this translates to a cost of around £675 if you are using the mains gas. For the case of LPG, the cost of heating energy for the same house will stretch to almost double £1,215. If you are using oil for the same house, the cost will be around £1,035. The most expensive heating system is the one run by electricity and for this standard house, the price will significantly rise to about £2,250.
As mentioned above, small-scale consumers always pay more than large-scale consumers. Refilling small cylinders will, for example, cost you 60% more than the cost of bulk refilling a large tank. The newest innovation in LPG production is championed by Calor, who now have a new form of fuel known as ‘BioLPG’. This fuel is made from waste materials and satisfies all the characteristics of standard LPG. The manufacturer even says that it can be used as a direct substitute. This fuel is, however, more expensive than standard LPG by 2p.
These are the two options you have when it comes to LPG storage tank installations. If you choose to go with an above-the-ground tank, a concrete sitting platform much first be constructed. A trench with piping connecting the storage tank and the boiler unit must also be constructed. In the UK, there are some regulations dictating where you can install your storage tank and you must understand what these regulations dictate before you proceed with the installation. The regulations may, for example, dictate that there be a good road network to your home so that that delivery is easy and refilling straightforward.
The area where you install the storage must be sufficiently aerated. This ensures that no LPG builds up in the area in the event a leak occurs. Note that LPG is denser than air and may easily replace the air in the area if a leak occurs. Post-installation maintenance practices such as clearing overgrown vegetation and rubbish in the area surrounding the storage tank should be done. As a guide, tanks of 2500 liters capacity should have a clearance area of 3 metres. Massive tanks may require a clearance of more than 7 metres.
In case you want to bar the tank from being seen, you should install the screening platform 1 metre from the tank structure and only on one side of the tank. Perfect building materials for this structure are brick, stone, metal and non-flammable wooden fencing.
The other option is underground installation and here, the storage’s tank components will be under the ground surface. Only the lid is left visible for refilling purposes. An underground LPG storage tank cannot be installed just anywhere. Areas with a lot of clay soil or that easily flood are impractical to install an LPG storage tank. No utility cables or piping should pass through the area where the tank is installed.
A 1400+ litres LPG storage tank should serve an average UK home just fine. To know the exact tank size you need for your home, you need to reach out for advice from a professional.
LPG is more-dense than mains gas and hence the boiler’s components (especially the injectors) are modified to stand this weight. Note that the density factor of LPG means that a given unit of this fuel produces more energy than the same unit of mains gas. From time to time, you need to have your LPG boiler inspected by a quailed engineer. The inspection should include safety checks, a visual checkup of the tank and its support platform, the external fuel pipes, vessels and the modified injectors. The injectors also need to be cleaned from time to time.
Liquid Petroleum Gas must be stored in a tank that is installed outdoors, either above the surface or underground. To connect the storage tank and your boiler unit, piping and vessels must be installed too. Storage tanks come in a wide variety of sizes and it would help if you consulted a professional to know the perfect size for your home. For above the surface tanks, a prefabricated platform where the tank will be installed on, must first be built.
An underground storage tank is the perfect solution if you want everything hidden and barely affecting your home's look. Note that even with an underground storage tank, the lid must be left visible for refilling purposes. Again, always consult a reliable professional when you are confused about what storage tank you should go for- above the surface or underground.
LPG delivery is done by a road tanker and on reaching your home, the supplier will connect pipes and use the tanker’s pump to run the refuel. Now that this fuel is delivered by a tanker, the roads leading to your home must be passable. There should be no obstructions in the road stretch near your home so that the tanker can effortlessly access your storage tank. It’s your initiative as a homeowner to arrange for a refill and therefore, you need to be always updated about your fuel usage. Don’t wait until you use the last drop of your fuel as road or weather factors may delay a refill that you expect to be immediate.
LPG boilers come with numerous benefits, a reason why they a popular addition to many homes today. In the same spirit, they also have their own share of drawbacks. Anyone looking to install an LPG boiler in their home must therefore understand their merits and demerits to make a more sound decision. Below are the pros and cons of using these boilers for your heating and hot water needs:
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