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FAQs

Assessments and quotations

1. What is an Energy Performance Certificate and how much does it cost?
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is produced by an accredited energy assessor who visits your property. They collect data on the construction and type of dwelling, heating systems, electrical fittings and insulation. They input the data into a government-approved software system which produces an Energy Performance Rating and an Energy Performance Certificate. A current EPC is a requirement for some government funding schemes.

At Plumb-Line we charge £120 (including VAT) to complete a full assessment of a property, which includes an Energy Performance Certificate and an Occupancy Assessment. The EPC is then yours to keep.

2. Do you provide free quotations?
Yes, we provide free quotations for new heating systems and we will come and have a look at your property free of charge for an initial consultation and feasibility check. However, we do charge £120 for a full energy assessment, which is required for the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme. 

3. Are there any planning restrictions relating to solar panels?
In many cases, solar panels on domestic properties are likely to be considered a ‘permitted development’ so they do not require planning permission. There are general planning requirements which we observe when installing solar panels to reduce their visual impact. If a property is within a conservation area, you are advised to contact your local planning authority. There are also restrictions to solar panels on listed buildings. 

Funding and regulation

4. How can I find out about funding schemes for low carbon and renewable energy systems?
There are several government schemes currently available to get money back on low carbon and renewable energy heating systems such as the Renewable Heat Incentive and Feed in Tariff. The Green Deal is a loan that is paid back through your energy bills.  More information is available on the Ofgem website: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/environmental-programmes

5. How can I spread the cost of my new heating system installation?
We can put you in touch with a company that specialises in loans for renewable heating systems, or you can apply for a loan through the Green Deal. The Green Deal loan is linked to the energy meter on the property and paid back over time through the energy bills.
6. What rate of return can I expect from the Renewable Heat Incentive?
The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive aims to provide a rate of return of 12% for early adopters. This is paid over seven years in quarterly payments directly into your bank account. The actual payments depend on the type of technology installed and the amount of heat produced. It is anticipated that the tariff payments will be reduced to new entrants into the scheme over time, so to gain the highest return it is advisable to act as soon as possible.

7. Which is the best government funding scheme for me?
This depends on the type of renewable heating system or renewable technology that you would like to install. We can advise you on the most suitable scheme for you.

8. How do I register my heating system for funding?
If we have installed your heating system for you, then we complete all the necessary documentation and register the installation with the regulating body. You can then claim for your funding.

9. What does MCS mean?
MCS is the Microgeneration Certification Scheme and a requirement of government funding schemes. All renewable systems and installers must be MCS accredited to ensure that they meet the required quality standards. Plumb-Line Contracting Limited is MCS accredited demonstrating that we install to the highest quality, every time.

10. Can I receive payments under the Feed in Tariff scheme?
Yes, the Feed in Tariff scheme is still open to new applicants and pays you for the amount of electricity that you generate from Solar PV panels.

11. Will adding a renewable heating system add value to my property?
All renewable energy products are designed to reduce heating bills and ensure energy use is as efficient as possible, so they will benefit future owners of your home. The investment that you make is likely to be recognised by any potential buyer.

Renewable technologies

12. What are the benefits of renewable heating technologies?
Renewable heating technologies help to reduce the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere so they are more environmentally friendly. Also, by generating your own heat, (e.g. with a biomass boiler or air source heat pump) you are likely to reduce your fuels costs. This is especially true if you do not have mains gas. In addition, you can apply for government funding to help pay back the cost of installation and create a better return on your investment.

13. Which is the best renewable technology for me?
This depends on the type of property you have, your current heating system, whether or not you have mains gas, and your energy usage.  We can discuss the various options with you to see which will be the best value.
14. How can I find out how much energy or heat my new system will produce?
Your new heating system will be designed according to the size of your home and specifically to meet your needs. 

With regard to Solar PV panels, we will survey the property and establish the location of the panels then calculate the anticipated energy production.

15. Can I combine renewable and traditional heating systems?
Yes, for example, solar PV can be used to generate electricity, while the central heating is powered using a condensing gas boiler. Alternatively, solar water heating systems can help to reduce fuel bills by providing almost all of a household's hot water during the summer months, and around 50-60% across the whole year. 

In addition, hybrid domestic heating and hot water systems combine renewable and traditional forms of energy. They use advanced controls to select the most cost-effective method of heating at any one time. For example they generally combine an air source heat pump with a central heating boiler. The boiler can be an existing gas or oil boiler or even a biomass boiler. 

16. Can I use my existing radiators with a biomass boiler?
Yes, you may be able to use your existing radiators, we will need to check whether they are suitable.

17. Can I use my existing radiators with an air source heat pump?
An air source heat pump heats water to around 40 - 45C, compared with boilers which heat water to 60 – 70C or more, so radiators usually need to be two or three times larger. We will complete a room by room heat loss calculation to establish the heat requirement and the correct radiator sizes to emit this output at 40 – 45C. This usually means that the radiators will need to be larger, but they may well have been oversized in the first place, so they might be suitable.

With a hybrid system (heat pump plus another heat source) then existing radiators can often be used as the control system works out which heat source to use. This means that if the heat pump is not heating the home effectively, then the other source takes over.


Installation of renewable heating systems

18. What guarantees are available?
We only install products from high quality manufacturers and these carry a minimum of a one year guarantee. The renewable products that we install are covered by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) which is a mark of competence and quality. In order for you to register your installation with any government funding schemes, the appliances and installers must be MCS accredited. 

Plumb-Line is also a member of the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC).  We agree to comply with the Code, which is backed by the Trading Standards Institute as part of its self-regulation initiative, the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme. It reflects Plumb-Line’s business ethics and dedication to customer service, providing clear information to customers and behaving in a safe and environmentally responsible way.

19. What quality accreditations does Plumb-Line have?
In addition to MCS and RECC, Plumb-Line has international standards ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001. Our engineers are trained and qualified to install all types of central heating, receiving accreditations for gas, electric solid fuel and oil. We also have Green Deal Assessor and Green Deal Installer status. For full details of our accreditations, click here.
20. How is Plumb-Line different from other installers?
Plumb-Line has been established for over 25 years and has been specialising in domestic central heating systems throughout this time. Our engineers are highly qualified and we place great importance on investing in quality management and training. We have the flexibility of a small company but with the staff and structure to deliver excellent customer service. This is combined with close relationships with boiler manufacturers so that we remain competitively priced. 

21. How long will installation take?
This depends on the type of technology and the work involved. A boiler change may take one to two days, while full installation of a new heating system can take up to a week, maybe longer, depending on the size of the property.

22. How often should I have my heating system serviced?
Your heating system should be serviced a minimum of once a year to ensure that the manufacturer’s guarantee remains valid.