Author Archives: Tuhin Banik
Author Archives: Tuhin Banik
As we approach the summer months insulating the home for next winter, alongside other home improvements, comes to mind for homeowners. The beast from the east caused many issues across the country and certainly tested everyone’s insulation and boiler! As a result, many double glazing and home improvement companies are extolling the virtues of triple glazing, offering special deals and encouraging the average homeowner to upgrade their double glazing. We hope to provide a guide to triple glazing to help you make an informed decision about its viability for your home.
As the name suggests, triple glazed windows are made up of glass which includes up to three different layers. Some triple glazed windows include a double layered glass with a thin film positioned in the middle of these layers. This is a low emissive film. Triple glazed windows have been popular since they provide better insulation.
Triple glazed windows are perfect in areas which experience extreme weather conditions. In Scandinavian countries, for example, it is now mandatory to install triple glazing in all new homes. Experts have determined that for tripled glazed windows to really do magic, Krypton must be used instead of argon as the filler gas. The frame must be insulated as well to ensure the highest level of energy efficiency.
The average cost of installing triple glazing for a 2-bedroom home is around £2,500, depending upon the frame materials. To install triple glazing in a 4-bedroom house with 15 windows you can expect to pay around £6,500 – 8,000, depending on frames and profiles.
Also Read: UPVC French doors – a buyers guide
Triple glazed sealed units are 50% heavier than double glazing which means that hardware, such as hinges need to be more robust, and a responsible company will use more labor, thus increasing the cost even more. Extra panes, heavier frames, and a trickier fitting process mean the cost of triple glazing can be up to 40 percent more than double glazing but is unlikely to translate to 40 percent bigger savings on your energy bills, subject to the design of your home and materials used.
That really depends on whether you want to have an ultra-quiet home and energy-efficient windows. If you are expecting the windows to pay for themselves in the short term, you are bound to be disappointed because the saving accumulates over a matter of years. However, if you are thinking of replacing your windows then the cost of triple glazing is comparable with the cost of double glazed units
Some of the reasons people in the UK are opting for triple glazing include:
From an environmental point of view, triple glazing, which uses 50% more glass than double glazing, needs 90% more embodied energy in production. Whilst you may see a reduction in energy bills (on average 10% compared to double glazing) and your home is warmer, the cost of manufacture is likely to outweigh the
Another point to consider is that glazing of any kind is only as good as the materials used and the quality of the fitting. Poorly fitted triple glazing, which has not been sealed correctly, can be as redundant as single glazing and outperformed by top quality double glazing. Glazing is required to perform as part of wider energy-saving measures. There’s little point investing in the most hi-tech glazing technology if your walls and roof are without proper insulation. If you are hoping that triple glazing will improve your carbon footprint and energy efficiency on its own I’m afraid you will be disappointed!
Essentially it is a personal choice whether a triple is better than double glazing in the UK. Most home improvement companies will now offer triple glazing and explain why you ‘need’ it in your home. However, the National Federation of Glazers have noted that triple glazing is no more effective than double glazing unless insulated frames are also used (http://www.nfoglon.org.uk/Triple%20Glazing%20factsheet.pdf)
But there are a few main points to consider:
There are other ways of increasing the efficiency of your glazing without adding an extra pane and chances are, many of them will be cheaper, offer a better return on investment and contribute fewer obstacles to fitting. Adding special coatings to the glass to stop heat escaping, filling the cavities between the two glass panes with an inert gas, such as Krypton, instead of air and using spacers to enhance heat retention are more cost-effective ways to improve energy efficiency in the average home.
Just over 13% of the UK homes are referred to as being ‘off-gas grid’ and are not connected to the national gas supply network. There is the option of connecting to the gas grid but depending on the distance involved this can be very costly.
The electric boiler has always had a mixed reputation. The main criticism of them as a home heating system is that electricity is more expensive, so in terms of running costs they just aren’t winners compared to gas. However, for millions of homes across the UK without access to the gas network, they are a viable heating alternative and bring with them several other benefits.
An electric boiler uses electricity rather than gas to heat hot water. Just like a gas boiler, it will heat up the water that warms your radiators, and the water you use in the kitchen and bathroom.
Also Read: Boiler Plus – Everything you need to know
They can come in various shapes and sizes, but in all-electric boilers, you’ll see water running through the system to be heated by a heating element – like the way a kettle works. They can be installed in most small to medium sized homes easily, though for larger homes they may not be suitable.
There are a few different types of electric boilers:
A direct electric boiler uses a heating element to heat water on demand much like a gas or oil Combi boiler does. It doesn’t keep a store of hot water.
A storage electric boiler requires a separate hot water tank so you can heat water when electricity is cheaper and store it for use the next day.
An electric Combined Primary Storage Unit, or CPSU, stores lots of hot water so it can meet demand much quicker at higher pressure.
Dry core boilers are like storage heaters as they use cheaper night-time tariffs to heat bricks overnight, but the heat is then released into the water to be used in central heating and hot water, rather than being released directly into the home.
If we compare the average annual cost for a 3-bedroom house, we can estimate that an electric combi boiler would be around £1,200. The average cost to run a similar gas combi boiler is £900. Although it might not be the cheapest heating technology regarding running costs, electric boiler installation costs are much lower than those of gas boilers and they do not need annual maintenance or safety inspections. Depending on the size of the property an electric boiler may be a viable option, especially if linked with a renewable electricity source.
If you are not connected to mains gas then an electric boiler is much cheaper than oil or LPG, both of which cost approximately £1,300 per year in fuel, in addition to the space required for a storage tank.
Burning fossil fuels has been the staple for heating homes across the world for millennia. However, increased pressure on homeowners to reduce carbon emissions has seen a shift to renewable sources of energy and an investment in improving energy efficiency. One option for many homes is to install a Biomass heating system. There are several industrial-sized biomass heating systems, alongside biomass electricity generators in many UK cities, but companies are improving and refining the systems for use in the average UK home.
Biomass boilers are very similar to conventional gas boilers that you will be familiar with, providing you with space heating and hot water for the entire home, but instead of using gas (or oil) to produce the heat, they combust sustainably sourced wood. There are three Main Types of Wood Fuel:
Every four weeks or so, the biomass boiler will need to be emptied of the ash. This can be put straight onto a compost heap to help fertilize the soil. Biomass boilers are designed to work all year round; however, you may choose to turn them off in the summer and use an alternative heating source, such as solar.
MCS-approved pellet fired, or gasification biomass boilers are comparable with the most efficient conventional gas boilers and, through the Renewable Heat Incentive, they produce a very healthy return (provided the heat demand on your EPC is sufficient). Therefore, provided you have space to house the fuel and the boiler itself and you are happy that you are going to have to ‘feed and clean’ the boiler on a regular basis, then a biomass boiler is certainly worth considering.
Also Read: Going green at home?
Obviously, they are very expensive to buy upfront, so this too is something you must bear in mind. If you have access to cheap finance, then installing a biomass boiler could be a no-brainer!
Biomass boilers start at about £7,000 for a 12kW domestic version, which is sufficient to provide heat and hot water for a 4-bed house. A comparably sized gas boiler will only cost around £2500 to install. A bigger biomass boiler with an auto-feed hopper may cost closer to £12,000.
In terms of the cost of fuel, the average price of wood pellets is around 4.2p/kWh which is very much in line with mains gas, while oil costs a little more at 6p/kWh. However, the price of wood pellets is likely to become more attractive going forward since gas prices have continued to rise in recent years, and this trend looks to continue. Biomass boilers are completely independent of the fluctuating import prices of foreign fuels such as gas and oil.
However, if you are lucky enough to have a free supply of wood, then you can heat your home at zero cost. Maybe it’s time to consider planning your own patch of woodland or buying one which has permission for sustainable felling and clearing. The other option for those in urban areas is wooden pallets; these are often available for free from building yards and depots. However, care needs to be taken with these as some have been treated with chemicals and painted which will then release noxious fumes when burned.