Mon, 3 Oct 2011 13:26:00 GMT
It's October already and the year seems to have passed by so quickly, a sign of getting older I guess or that time really is passing more quickly. So this month as winter closes in on us, barring the hot spell last week, I have topped up the loft insulation ready for what could be a long and cold winter with the highest levels of heating bills expected to hit us. We will also look at some of the unethical tactics some solar installers use and what to look out for.
With such as warm week at the end of September and beginning of October it may seem strange to consider topping up your loft insulation. The government recommends 170mm of lagging in your loft and that is the level they will top your loft insulation up to if you are using their home insulation grant system.
I had already used the grants to get my cavity wall insulation done and top up the insulation in the loft to the government recommendations. This weekend I purchased some Knauf glass mineral wall which is made from recycled glass. It is softer than traditional mineral fibre and it is not meant to itch as much although my arms were itchy after I had finished installing it. The 200mm thick rolls mean that insulation levels in the loft are now 370mm, double the recommended amount.
So why install more loft insulation above the recommended figures? Simple it gets your home warmer. In colder countries where they have longer winters the recommended levels of insulation tend to be a lot higher. The colder it gets outside the more heat is lost as the temperature difference between the inside of your house and the outside is greater. More insulation in the loft means that this loss is slowed down which means the heat that your radiators are producing is going to stay inside your home a lot longer.
Insulation helps block heat from entering your home as well. In the summer insulation help reduce the heat gain in the home keeping it cooler. Insulation also acts as a sound absorber so it also reduces noise. So why wouldn't you want your home to be warmer and quieter and most importantly reduce your heating bills.
As with any industry there are always scoundrels and conmen, you only have to see an episode of Watchdog to know this, even the big companies are at it and they get away with it on an industrial scale. Unfortunately most of the stories about unethical behaviour in the solar industry are grossly misleading and only tend to confuse the public even more.
One particular story which was completely misreported was that of a free solar installer installing cheap solar panels that the reporter claimed would not produce enough electricity for the property and to sell back to the grid. This show how ill informed even the media are about solar, let me explain.
Free solar installer provide free panels so the homeowner gets the electricity and the installer gets the feed-in tariff. The more electricity the solar panels generate the more the installer will earn through the feed-in tariff. So it is in the installer's interest to install the best and most efficient panels possible. The reporter was obviously confused about the difference about the feed-in tariff payments and the export tariff payments. The export tariff pays the solar PV system owner a rate for selling back their excess electricity. The feed-in tariff pays a much higher rate for all of the electricity the panels generate whether or not it is used or exported.
So as to keep it useful here are a few tips for those looking for either free or paid solar panels. If you are considering installing solar it is essential that you fully research and understand about solar photovoltaic panels. If you have a question or query you can always contact me via the site.
1. Do not buy from doorstep solar salesmen, they are likely to be salesman who understands little about the product he is offering and may likely mislead you.
2. Only deal with reputable companies, generally the more established they are the better. Make sure the installer is MCS accredited if you are buying solar and they offer a good guarantee protected by an external body should the installer go bankrupt.
3. If you are given any information make sure that you research it on the internet to confirm it is actually true. Some people selling or offering free solar are ill informed and can be misleading.
Again, don't forget if in doubt there is plenty of useful information about solar panels on this site and others like it. If you have a question you can always contact me through the site or directly on the solar panel contact form.
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