FAQs

Why have I been picked?

Your home is due to have a replacement boiler in the next 18 months. We believe air source heating will save you more money on your energy bills than a traditional boiler. If you have the new system installed, we will carry out a detailed survey of your home. As long as it’s suitable, we’ll be able to go ahead with the work.

What is air source heating?

It’s an eco-friendly heating system which could save you money because it uses much less energy than a typical boiler.

Why should I get it?

Apart from the amount of money you might be able to save, you will also benefit from:

  • FREE broadband internet for two years
  • A free tablet computer, (similar to an iPad)
  • Upgrades to your insulation and draught proofing, (if you need it)
  • Expert advice on saving energy and money
  • Monitoring equipment, so you can keep an eye on how much energy you’re using

Plus, it’s better for the environment!

How much money could it save me?

If you have an old boiler that is due to be replaced, you could save up to £100 a year on your bills. Even better, if you have electric storage heaters, you could save up to £200 a year!

We will give you full instructions on how to use the system. If you follow these, you should start to make savings.

To help you save as much money as possible, we will also be able to:

  • find you the cheapest energy deal for your new system, through our partners Community Switch
  • visit you to give you advice that will help you to use less gas and electricity
  • go through your energy bills with you to help ensure that we keep your future energy use down.

Can you guarantee it will be cheaper?

By taking all the steps above, we are sure you will see savings on your energy bills.

Energy prices are always rising, so unless you start to use less energy, your bills will go up no matter what heating system you use. Last winter was mild, so it’s likely you used less energy anyway, but what if next winter isn’t so good?

Air source heat pumps can help you save money because they are designed to use less energy. This means that, along with the advice we’ll give you, you will be ready and able to keep your energy use down.

What do I have to do to get these benefits?

You will be asked to sign an updated version of your tenancy agreement. By signing this, you will be agreeing to:

  • have the system installed
  • let us monitor the equipment in your home
  • allow us access if we need to do maintenance to it

If you have any questions or worries, just get in touch with us and we will happily help.

How does it work?

It acts like a fridge in reverse. A unit is placed outside your home which sucks in air.

This air is then passed over a refrigerant gas, creating heat and energy. This heat and energy is then put into your heating and hot water system. This means that less energy is used to heat your water than if you were using a typical boiler.outside unit

To help save you even more energy, we install new, bigger radiators which run at much lower temperatures than regular radiators, but keep you just as warm.

It won’t use too much energy if it’s used correctly. Full advice will be given on how to use the system in the best way.

Is it easy to use?

Yes. Once it’s installed, you should rarely have to touch it. The system will be designed specifically for your home and will automatically control your heating. When we install it, we will give you full instructions on how to use it to get the most out of it.

What do other tenants who have air source heating think about it?

tenant, jane haytonJane Hayton, of Wigan, has had air source heating in her home since June 2013. Here’s what she had to say about it:

“The air source heating has been fabulous. It took a little getting used to at first, because I thought I could use it like a normal heating system. But the engineer explained how it works and told me that I need to leave it on all the time; I just change the thermostat when I need to. It’s very easy to use, once you get your head around it.

“My energy bills have gone down a lot – in fact, I’m now £43 in credit!

“Size wise, it’s not a massive amount of space that it takes up. The pump is a bit like a water tank, and they put it in an airing cupboard. Water tanks never bothered anyone in the past, did they?

“I’d definitely recommend air source heating to a friend because it’s so easy to use and I’ve made such a good saving with it. Anything that saves us money these days is a bonus.

“Plus, with the radiators being larger, it’s actually a good safety feature if you have children, because the bigger size means that they don’t need to get hot to heat your room. There’s no risk of hands getting burned.”

What happens when it’s cold outside? Will it still work?

Yes. As with any heating system, however, the colder it is outside, the more energy you’ll need to heat your home.

Will it keep me as warm as my current heating?

On your current system, if you keep your thermostat at a set temperature, it keeps your home at that temperature too. Air source heat pumps work in the same way, they just use less energy to do it.

Before installation, we will carry out a survey to ensure that your home is properly insulated. If it’s not, we will fit this for you. We may also do further work to remove any draughts from your home. Altogether, this will keep you warm and make your new system more effective.

What do I do if I have a problem with the system?

You will be able to call our customer service centre to report any problems.

With the monitoring system we use, we should know if there is a problem at the same time as you do anyway, so we will come and repair it.

How much space does the system take up?

cylinderThe system has an outside unit that we will put near to your home in a suitable place. This is likely to be at the side or back of the property, but we will agree this with you during the design.

Inside, it takes up slightly more space than a normal heating system, but we will use your storage space to keep it out of the way as much as possible. If you haven’t got one already, we may need to install a cylinder as well as larger radiators and some monitoring equipment.

The monitoring equipment and tablet will not be ready until April 2015 as they are still being designed. Therefore, if you have air source heating fitted before this date, we will have to visit you afterwards to fit the monitoring equipment, but this should only take one day.

A full system will be designed specifically for your home, and we will speak to you about the position of all items to ensure that you are happy with them.

How long will it take to install and how much disruption will there be?

The work should take around 2 – 3 weeks to complete, but we won’t be in your home every day. A resident liaison officer will be available during this time to talk with and keep you updated on how it’s going. The disruption will be similar to that of a normal boiler installation.

It’s worth noting that Electricity North West will be carrying out work to homes in your area around the same time that we’re fitting these air source heat systems. If you are one of the homes affected, you could cut down on disruption by having your new heating system fitted at the same time.

What if you damage my home?

As with all new heating systems, we will be very careful to avoid damage during the works. We’ll do a survey of your home before we start so that we can easily identify if we need to make any repairs afterwards.

As with all heating systems, Northwards does not redecorate after installation. There may be some cases where we have to move the position of radiators, but we will discuss this with you before making a decision.

Will my energy supply be affected during installation?

As with any heating system, you may experience some small disruption to your supply. You will be told before any disruption occurs by the Resident Liaison Officer.

Any time your heating is unavailable, we will give you temporary heaters to keep you comfortable.

Any disruption will be kept to an absolute minimum.

Why do you give me the internet and a tablet computer for free?

We install an internet connection so that we can monitor your system without having to visit during the first two years. If you already have an internet connection, we will cover the cost of it for these two years.

We’ll also show you how to use the tablet so that you can keep an eye on exactly how much energy you’re using. The tablet will be available from April 2015. It will be yours to keep, and you will be able to use it to access the internet for your own enjoyment! If you want advice on using the internet, just let us know.

What happens if I lose the tablet?

The tablet should remain in your home for the two year trial period. If for any reason it does go missing during the two years, you would be expected to buy a replacement. However, by keeping it in a safe place in your home, this should not be a problem.

What happens after the first two years?

The heating system will stay, and you will be able to contact us about it if you ever need to, but the monitoring will end (unless we ask you for permission to continue).

All monitoring equipment (except the tablet, which will be yours to keep) will be removed from your home, and the free internet connection will stop. If you wish, you can pay for it to continue.

Where will my bills come from and will they be easy to understand?

Your bills will come from the same energy supplier you have now, but if you agree, we will ask our partners Community Switch to contact you. They will ensure that you are on the best deal so that you pay as little as possible for your energy. This may mean changing your supplier, or changing to a better deal with your current one.

Your bills will be similar to what you get now. As part of the installation process, we will give you advice on how to read your bills.

What do you do with my data?

We will use the data we get from you to make sure that you save as much energy as possible. We will monitor the system constantly over the first two years to check that it’s working properly and that you’re getting the best out of it.

Any data collected will be protected by the data protection act and not shared with anyone other than those involved in the scheme.

What are the benefits to the environment?

Air source heating helps to reduce climate change, which causes extreme weather and rising sea levels. Climate change is the result of too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. When we burn fossil fuels like gas, it increases this carbon dioxide. By moving away from gas heating and hot water systems, we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide we’re making.

Gas is running out. But air source heating uses more electricity than gas, and electricity is a renewable energy. This means that, unlike fossil fuels, we won’t run out of it: we can use things like solar panels, wind turbines and heat from the ground and the air to keep making it.

This scheme is a trial to see if air source heating can help to reduce the demand on the electric grid at peak times (e.g. at tea time when people cook and switch on their TVs). We will explain more about this to you before work starts.