Solar Panel v Traditional Energy source

One of the things that people consider in the recent world is the ability to save energy as much as possible, in relation to the electricity. The most common way of saving on the electricity is by utilizing the solar energy. When you need to choose solar panels for your home, you will need to put some factors into consideration. Here are some factors to consider before installing any solar panel on domestic homes;
Compare The Cost And Value
There are different solar panels that have varied prices, but they have different value altogether. For that, before you choose the right solar to use, consider if its cost relates to its value. If it costs higher, the quality must be high as well.

The tolerance, or lenience is the limit in which a panel can reach or exceed the evaluated power. There are some solar panels that might be rated at about 200 watts, but they are only designed to reach 195watts. And there are some that can go beyond the 200watts limit. All in all, ensure you choose a panel that is reliable enough, and the positive tolerance can be more efficient.

Co-efficiency To Temperature
This aspect is vital, since it will determine the impact that the heat has on the operation of the solar panel, when it has already been installed. Here, you will need to choose one that has a lower percentage per C.

Efficiency To Convert
The proficiency of the solar panel to convert the light into electrical energy will affect the amount of power that is generated by the system. For that, this rating must be higher.

LID And PID Resistance
The PID is the Potential Induced Degration, while the LID is the Light Induced Degration. The PID is caused by the loose currents that have been triggered by a number of climatic conditions. If this occurs, there might be some loss of power, and for that, you would choose a better seller with a lower or no PID.
The LID is a process, which will occur during the initial months when the panel has been installed on the roof. Though it will be steady after a while, it will limit the power produced by the solar. You would also go for a solar panel that has little or no LID.

You will need to have a solar panel that will last for as long as possible. The longer the solar panel can serve you, the better. This is a clear indication that the product that you use is stable enough. The best period to rate a solar panel warranty is 25 years. And even though there are panels from different brands and model, it is always better to choose that last for about 25 years. You will need to be sure that the solar panel will work perfectly, and it that it can be fixed any time it has a problem.

When choosing the solar panel, it is always advised to contact a reliable solar panel provider, who would supply you with reputable solar models and brands. The brand of the solar panel might also matter, but ensure that you put these factors for consideration.

The Traditional Source of energy and Heat

One option is to attempt drying firewood yourself.  We found this handy youtube clip  of a chap demonstrating how to dry out firewood.  This looks like it will work ok, but for optimum efficiency and to get the best heat is to kiln dry the wood.  Still worth a look

Of course if you wanted to stick to a more traditional form of generating heat, the best option for many is the traditional open fire.  The best Kiln Dried Firewood in the Belfast area is available for delivery today.  Follow the link for a good and recommended supplier.

To delve deeper into wood drying processes take a look at the wiki article here on wood drying.

Things to Consider When Buying a Wood Burning Stove

Wood burning stoves for indoor heating are available in various options so you need to know which one is best for your specific requirements. Buying a wrong stove can mean spending more money than necessary. There are many things to consider when buying a wood burning stove.

Type of Stove

Stoves in this range are available in many options. Wood burning stoves use wood as fuel source. Most models have manual ignition but units with digital control for automatic ignition are also available. The place where the stove is installed must have a chimney. A blower in the stove distributes heat evenly across the room. The process of wood-burning can be seen clearly through the glass window. It is easy to remove the ash bin when cleaning is needed. This type of stove can be fitted in existing fireplaces but there are standalone stoves as well. If heating in a large space is needed then a wood burning furnace is better for the purpose. It can be used as a standalone or add-on unit. There are wood pellet stove. The multi-fuel stove can burn either wood or solid fuel.

A wood stove should be purchased according to the size of the room that requires heating. Stoves to heat 1000-3000 square feet spaces are available. Large units are needed to heat large residential or industrial spaces. For large rooms, only a stove with blower should be used. The heating efficiency of a wood stove also depends on the environmental conditions. An average room can be heated with a stove that has 4-5kW rating, while a minimum 8kW rated stove is needed to heat larger spaces. It is important to remember that if the room has high ceiling then a large stove is needed even if horizontal size of the room is small.

Energy Efficiency
Wood stoves with latest technologies burn wood more efficiently. Such units release less smoke and provide more heat. In old type of wood stoves, the heat was wasted in gas form but the new units have catalytic converter that convert the energy stored in smoke into heat form. It results in 70-80 percent increased efficiency compared to earlier wood stoves that provided only 40-50 percent efficiency.

Some wood stoves have digital controls for automatic ignition. A stove with blower is needed to heat a large room. The removable ash bin makes it easy to remove ash. Additional accessories for some stoves are also available. Stoves with additional features and accessories cost more.

Local Council Rule
It is important to check such rules regarding installation of a wood burning stove in home. Some areas prohibit use of such stoves. Some councils just regulate and allow only certain types of wood stoves. These details should be checked before buying any such stove.

Expert Installation
The wood stove must be installed only by professional installers. For heating large spaces in residential or commercial area, the place should be first inspected by a qualified heating engineer. The professional inspects the place and offers expert advice on the best suitable stove, hearth, surround, mantel, frame, flue system, and building regulations.


If you in the greater belfast area and you need a reliable source of wood for your stove,  you should check out some local suppliers for comparison. I have always found these guys a great source of logs belfast based but they deliver to the surrounding area, including bangor and newtownards.

You are advised to properly insulate your home’s walls, roof, doors and windows to increase the heating efficiency of a wood burning stove.

Is the UK Energy Gap widening?

The world depends on fossil fuels for energy, but the problem with these is that they emit carbon dioxide, which in turn causes greenhouse effect and accelerates climatic change. Moreover, the fossil fuels are a finite resource, which will run out eventually.

According to experts, the UK energy gap is the result of the closing of old power stations, combined with the decline of reserves of the North Sea gas and the need to combat the climate change. It has been estimated that unless new generating plants are built, electricity supply could quickly fall short of demand.

Energy uk graph trends

Graph depicting the energy gap in the United Kingdom, as per last year.

What can help reduce demand is using energy efficiency measures. However, in the same time, experts expect that demand will increase due to the constantly increasing use of electricity for transport and heating. This means that we have to come up with new power stations to cater for the energy demands.

On suggestion by Denmark, UK government has decided to try wind energy to fill the country’s energy gap. However, according to experts from Centre for Policy Studies, this policy is in fact misguided and would not prove useful. Moreover, it would turn out to be quite expensive (according to data from CPS, the cost of meeting the 2020 renewables target will be around £4,000 per household and this figure could rise substantially). The main problem with wind energy is that it’s unreliable, as well as expensive. The mass use of wind energy would in turn increase the price of electricity and would contribute to the difficulties, faced by almost 6 million households in UK.

However, the process of building new power stations is one that takes quite a long time, which means that any decisions, made in the present, will have long-term consequences. Right now, there isn’t a single fuel available that could present a satisfactory and, most importantly, complete solution to the energy gap problem. The main issues are with price of different type of fuels, as well as the contribution of some of these fuels to the global climate change. Also, there are implications, regarding the dependency of UK on import fuels and the simple fact that most of the resources are finite and are in fact running out. Experts suggest that the key to solving the energy gap in the UK might be in the combination of all these types of fuels – in this way, the different energy sources could compensate for their limitations.

Further reading on government plans available here

Thinking about installing underfloor heating, there’s what you need to know.

The underfloor heating installation is a type of central heating system. They are basically two types of underfloor heating systems: electric (also known as dry system) and water (pump-driven). They can be placed beneath virtually any type of floor, including stone, tile, wood or even carpeted. If you’re installing underfloor heating system in a carpeted room, make sure that the carpet isn’t too thick and the heat cannot move upwards.

The electric underfloor heating is installed via a series of electrical wires, put beneath or within the floor. The electric system largely depends on the type of room, as well as the size. But don’t worry, most electrical systems are quite flexible and can be put in even small spaces.

The wires are then connected to a thermostat, which allows you to control the temperature of the room. The benefits of the thermostat include also the opportunity to pre-set the system to turn off or on automatically. Remember: you need a qualified electrician to connect the system!

The prices for underfloor heating mats vary greatly, but most start at $100-120 per square meter. You have to keep in mind that you’ll also have to cover the cost of the insulation board, the screed and the heating controls and also the electrician’s fee. Electrical underfloor heating is definitely cheaper than a wet system, but it turns out to be more expensive in the long-turn. That’s why it’s recommended to consider water underfloor heating, if you’re planning to heat larger areas. The water systems require deeper space for the pipes, which is their major disadvantage. You also need a professional to set up the system and link it to the boiler.

The main advantage of the underfloor heating is that it keeps your floors warm throughout the cold season. It also spares you the need for large radiators, which means extra space and more aesthetic look in your home. Also, because the heat is distributed from the floor upwards, the underfloor heating can maintain a more constant, moderate temperature.

The main disadvantage is the price of the system (again, if you’re planning to heat larger areas, better stick with water heating). Small systems are also not as effective as larger ones and you would still need radiators to heat the entire room. There are some issues with maintaining the system, and generally the underfloor heating is considered more of a luxury than a cost-efficient choice.