Homeowners Professionals

Off grid B&B choose Viessmann to heat their guests

When a 25-year-old oil-fired heating system began to deteriorate, Little Hinton Farm chose Viessmann to deliver great results with minimal disruption.

Many a weekend away has been marred by cold showers and baths that take forever to fill, something bed & breakfast business owner, Georgina Lewtas, was conscious of when the heating system at her Pembrokeshire property began to deteriorate.

Maximum efficiency, Minimal disruption

In October 2021, the 25-year-old oil-fired heating system at Little Hilton Farm in Roch, Pembrokeshire, was struggling to maintain water pressure and deliver sufficient hot water at peak times when the four ensuite bedroom B&B was at full occupancy. Things came to a head when, as Lewtas comments, “I was finding myself avoiding using our own bathroom and washing up at times that guests might want to shower.”

The B&B owner enlisted the help of installation company, Hybrid Heating & Gas, to specify a new system. Its gas and oil engineer, Gavin Thomas, recommended moving to an LPG boiler as the B&B wasn’t connected to mains gas. Over the course of one week, Thomas and his apprentice worked to replace the old system – even staying as guests in the B&B to ensure minimal disruption to the business.

Thomas used all of the limited available space in the kitchen-adjacent plant room, down to the last millimetre. He fitted a 26 kW Vitodens 100-W boiler, employing Viessmann’s signature four-pipe system, to work together with a Viessmann Vitocell 300 litre cylinder.  

“Because of the nature of the property’s use as a B&B with high peak demand, we set the system up so it was working at high efficiency, with a 65/45 differential via the flow return,” explains Thomas. “This keeps the boiler on condensing mode for more of the time, making it far cheaper to run. Water leaves the system at 65 degrees, and returns at 45 degrees, unlike other set ups where it might leave the boiler at up to 80 degrees and return at 60 degrees. In these cases, the boiler sets ramps-up inefficiently and is unable to condense (i.e. recover lost heat), hiking up costs as a result.”  

Under Pressure

The B&B’s water pressure was insufficient for an unvented cylinder system, so Thomas also installed both a mains booster and vessel-mounted pump to ensure simultaneous and consistent hot and cold water pressure throughout the system, even when multiple bathrooms are being used at the same time.  

The system also incorporates weather compensation control technology whereby a sensor reads the outdoor temperature and communicates with the boiler so that it works as efficiently as possible to provide constant indoor comfort. The heating system at Little Hilton Farm prioritises hot water so as to maximise efficiency. Guest comfort is far from compromised as the cylinder is programmed to heat up before the space heating comes on, and thanks to its superior insulation, it only takes 20 minutes to refill.    

Thomas expects the new system to cut the B&B’s fuel bills by up to a third, with Viessmann’s weather compensation technology alone typically estimated to provide up to 15% of the savings. Furthermore, Lewtas can monitor and control the whole system from her phone, using the ViCare App.  

“I find the system easy to operate,” comments Lewtas. “Sometimes we do full house rentals and being able to adjust the heating whilst we are not at home ourselves is really useful. Generally, though, we just leave it on a timed setting and it does its job without any bother.

“The new system has made a big difference to our comfort and that of our guests. Showers are consistent and heat is felt more evenly throughout the house. It has also taken something off my worry list!

“I can’t say we’ve saved money due to energy prices being what they currently are, but we are certainly spending no more than we previously did and the house is much warmer.”

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