Situated just outside Shrewsbury, in rural Shropshire, Heather found herself in a situation similar to many adults in their later life.
While she desperately loved the area that she had lived in for six decades, she was now occupying the 170 square metre family home by herself, after her husband had passed away and her adult children had left home.
“When you get to 78 and recognise that the house you live in is far too big, you’ve got two choices. You can leave the area you’ve lived in for 60 years, or you can try and build a small retirement place for yourself in your own garden.”
Having had an unfortunate heart attack, Heather decided to grab life by the horns and proceed to build her dream retirement house.
A key question for the project was heating. Here, Heather consulted Zak Clay of Holland & Clay in the knowledge that his father went to school with her eldest son, wanting to bring in a local plumber that she knew and trusted.
With Heather having expressed an interest in oil-fired heating, Zak suggested a different approach might be more suitable and recommended underfloor heating via a Viessmann Vitocal 100-A air source heat pump (ASHP).
“I’d heard about ground source heat pumps, and I had heard about air source heat pumps, and while I could understand a ground source heat pump because it is obviously warmer the deeper you go into the earth, I could not understand how an air source heat pump could pull warmth out of freezing cold air in the winter,” Heather explained.
Yet having researched both Viessmann and its ASHPs with the help of her son-in-law, she concluded that her dream property would be in capable hands.
The Vitocal 100-A air source heat pump is the most compact and affordable model in its range. Designed for ease of installation in the standard British heating system – and therefore ideal for the replacement of gas and oil boilers – the monobloc unit’s tight dimensions are ideal for homes where space is at a premium. This made it perfect for Heather’s downsizing dream.
The Vitocal 100-A heat pump can achieve up to 60°C at -5°C outside temperature, ideally suited for the cold British winter.
Equally, being a fully integrated outdoor unit that does not require a complementary indoor unit, the monobloc design means installers are not required to work on, or connect any, refrigerant-carrying parts. A refrigerant certificate is therefore not required, while environmentally-friendly R32 refrigerant is used.
Being A+++ rated in terms of energy efficiency, end-users also benefit from low running costs. This is underpinned by the fins on the evaporator being gold-plated, which also ensures a long service life, reduces defrosting times to promote the rapid flow of condensate, and improves long-term corrosion-resistance.
Indeed, the Vitocal 100-A – an environmentally-responsible heating option that is simple to install – did just the trick for Heather, delivering reliable, efficient, easy to use underfloor heating throughout the property.
Heather found alternative living arrangements during the 14 month build, moving in ahead of schedule thanks to the efforts of Zak as the ASHP installer and a team of local workmen.
“I had the first warm Christmas and warm winter that I have ever had, because I’ve never had central heating,” Heather said. “I said that I’d been used to living in cold atmospheres always, so I didn’t want it overheated. Zak set it at 20 degrees for me, and also set it so that it went down at night and came back up early in the morning. And it’s been no trouble at all ever since, and very easy to work.
“Clean energy is so important and so wonderful. Because it’s running day and night I expected it to be far more expensive than my normal electricity bills, but it was actually very much cheaper. Much to my surprise with my direct debit, I’ve ended up with a very nice amount in credit.
“After the experience I’ve been through, if anybody should ask my advice about an ASHP, I couldn’t praise it enough. It’s been perfect.”