Any Pitfalls? Buying a house with heatpump and solar fitted

RRV8

GCM
Team,

Can anyone give me advice please regarding any potential pitfalls that may exist when purchasing a house which is fitted with solar panels and heat pumps.

The house in question is c.7-years old and during its original construction it was fitted with geo-thermal heating to the downstairs floors; 18 x solar panels to one single roof elevation and an external heat pump albeit I don't know what specs etc.

Is there any way of checking whether the floors, solar system, heat pumps work properly before a purchase or if such fangled gadgets have been correctly installed in the first instance.....or any other questions that I should be asking the owner/agent/surveyor/insurance company/legal beaver.

Cheers All,

R
 
You could ask the sellers to provide an inspection Certificate from a specialised sparky (panels) and plumber (heat pump)?
 

Blogg

LE
Geo thermal?

Underfloor heating with an air source heat pump sounds more likely but could be some ground source as well

Ask to see all documentation and Certification for the Heat Pump and Solar

18 Solar panels should be a minimum notional 6kW but lots of variables.

What capacity is the Inverter?

Battery?

Get it fully checked out by someone suitably qualified.
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
I’ve got biomass fitted at my place.

As with any of these new fangled things, there are hiccups. It occasionally shits itself and there aren’t too many people around who understand how it works. The ones who do aren’t cheap.

I’d have a look at the local infrastructure regarding solar and heat pumps. See who the best guys are in your area, read some reviews, see what their prices are like etc.

If you end up buying the place and then find out there’s nobody nearby who can repair and service your heating system, then you’re fucked.
 

TractorStats

Old-Salt
Heat pumps (both air source and grounds source) only make sense if the cost of the electricity to run them is less than the value of the heat you extract. In other words, if the cost of the electric to run the heat pump is more than the cost of gas you would burn if you just had a conventional gas boiler then the heat pump is a negative. In summer, it wont matter but in winter when you need heating the cost of the electric could be very high as your solar panels wont be providing much on a dark winter day. It also depends a lot on how well insulated the house is because heat pumps are notorious for not being sufficient to keep a house warm in winter if it not extremely well insulated (i.e. to Scandinavian standards).

With the cost of electric going to be very high this winter, I suspect you would be in a for a nasty surprise. There may also be hidden maintenance issues building up after 7 years. Put it this way, I would only buy this house in winter when I could see the system really working. At the moment it will be barely working at all.
 
I presume as the house has all the green systems fitted that the solar panels are owned by the house owner and not a rent a roof scheme. This means that if you bought the house you could do with them as you wish. If it is a rent a roof scheme and you remove them you would have to pay the company for their lose of electricity generated.
Should they belong to the home owner and they were installed correctly and certified through the Microgeneration Certification Scheme the owner is eligible for Feed in Tariff payments from the electrical companies. This can be transferred over when the house is sold to whoever buys it. The scheme pays a fixed price for 20 (or 25) years. I can’t remember which. On a domestic property to get the FiT the capacity had to be below 4kW.

I have 15 panels on my roof, generating just less than 4kW. I receive about £600 a year FiT and all my hot water is provided between late April to October by a device that switches the immersion heater on when power above a certain threshold is being generated.

So far all I have had to do with the panels is clean them twice a year.

It sounds as if the house was designed with the systems in mind, so it should be well insulated and air proof, so the systems should work well. Radiators that run off a ground or air source system have to be bigger as they get less heat in them.

I’ve got to go to work now so I’ll include a couple of links.



I’d be interested to see the house. Could you DM a Rightmove link if possible please.

RP
 

RRV8

GCM
You guys have been truly tip-top and thanks so much for posting up your points - I've now got a much better idea of the challenges of the systems involved ;-)

The estate agent's article (located in NI) has two seperate sales bullets which refer to the heating:

• Geothermal Underfloor Heating System.

• Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump

...........and then there's the EPC figures which are (Current 77); (Potential 79), albeit I don't have a copy of the EPC yet.

I'll get a list together of everything mentioned by you guys in your posts and start asking some questions.

That said, with the energy prices rocketing then this could turn out to be an expensive house to heat in the winter

Cheers All,

R
 

RRV8

GCM
I fired off an email yesterday to the estate agent with twelve questions on the various green systems as per all of your advisory points above. I'll see how honest the owner is when the answers come back?

In the meantime the EA has sent me the EPC, dated 2018 and valid until 2028. You'll all note the 'poor' ratings in the screenshot below for both heating and hot water so I suspect the bills will be quite high; there's no secondary heating source installed or else I would be off wood-pikey'ing to save a few quid ;-)

The majority (above 98%) of the houses in the area are all oil-supplied so the whole green-thing is quite new to most folk.

Will revert when I have an update ;-)

Cheers All,

R

20220526_143644.jpg
 

Diko

Old-Salt
You should point out to the new owners that they may not be able to sign up to a new Feed In Tariff as none may now be available. You should be able to transfer the remainder of the Solar panels, inverter etc to the new owners.
When we sold our old home I put the solar instillation outlay onto the estate agent’s estimate property value and it did sell no trouble.
 

Blogg

LE
Ground source Heat Pump feeding underfloor PLUS electric radiators?

"Poor" performance in terms of hot water from "main system", (ie Heat Pump) which can be typical because unless a "high temperature" heat pump has been fitted (still rare in domestic set ups) most HP's struggle to have an output temperature above 45C without becoming hugely inefficient.

So the hot water top up comes from immersion heaters which in any event are supposed to heat the water above 60C once per day to reduce risk of Legionella infestation

Tell them you want to see annual energy consumption statements in terms of kWh and ask the vendors how much they use the electric radiators and secondary solid fuel room heaters on top of the under floor heating
 

RRV8

GCM
Ground source Heat Pump feeding underfloor PLUS electric radiators?

"Poor" performance in terms of hot water from "main system", (ie Heat Pump) which can be typical because unless a "high temperature" heat pump has been fitted (still rare in domestic set ups) most HP's struggle to have an output temperature above 45C without becoming hugely inefficient.

So the hot water top up comes from immersion heaters which in any event are supposed to heat the water above 60C once per day to reduce risk of Legionella infestation

Tell them you want to see annual energy consumption statements in terms of kWh and ask the vendors how much they use the electric radiators and secondary solid fuel room heaters on top of the under floor heating

You are a star. I'll use your final paragraph to write a new question to the EA/ home owner.

Thanks mate, I really appreciate your help.

All the best,

R
 

RRV8

GCM
Guys, just to close this one out:

I sent my questions to the estate agent approx 29-days ago and the vendor has still not replied to the EA so I've now binned the enquiry.

If the vendor can't be arsed to reply within a month then there must be something wrong/suspicious IMO.

FYI: This is the questions list which I sent so I hope it covered everything that you guys had suggested.

Thanks again for your help,

R

Questions:

1. How much does it cost to service the heat pump each year? Can you also specify the make and model?

2. What is the overall cost of maintenance, including scheduled maintenance for the solar system? Also, are there any major/minor maintenance schedules due in the next 5-years?

3. Are the solar panels owned by the house owner or are they owned under agreement via a rent-a-roof-scheme?

4. Was the solar system registered through the Microgeneration Certification Scheme?

5. Is the current owner eligible for Feed in Tariff (FiT) payments from a specified energy company? If so, when was the scheme registered and for what term? Also, what is the annual return from the grid?

6. What is the designated capacity of the solar system (in Kw) and can you confirm the inverter rating and the condition of the battery storage packs.

7. Were the solar and heat pumps installed by local contractors. If so, are they still in business. If not, who do you use for maintenance and repairs.

8. Do any of the 'green systems' come with an existing warranty?

9. Could you supply a full copy of the EPC?

10. Is the garage connected to mains power?
 
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