The running cost of each thermodynamic unit is dependent on the size of the unit and
compressor within, the volume of water being heated, the length of pipe run to the
panels, the amount of hot water the property requires. Domestic systems will require
between 300-450w of power when in use. An average domestic house would have
approximately 200lt of storage capacity; this means that if the thermodynamic unit was
running for 6 hours a day (2x complete fill & heating of 200lt tank) the unit would cost
you approximately 30p. Most providers state that a typical house would expect to pay
between £40-60 per year in electrical running cost. Commercial units will typically
range between £150-£500 per year to run, dependent on specific hot water
Thermodynamic systems do not need any maintenance. This is because they have very
few moving parts and are a sealed system. Once the gas lines and panel/s have been
correctly installed and filled with the refrigerant there should be no need to top up or
maintain the system in the future. A qualified F-Gas engineer should vac down the entire
system (suck all air out of the system) prior to inserting the refrigerant. This process
removes imperfections such as particles of dust or water vapour, which could hamper
the performance of the unit. Once the refrigerant is put into the system a pressure test
should then be undertaken to determine the correct level of refrigerant needed and to
check for any leaks. We always use a qualified F-Gas engineer.
Method One of
The most common and often cheapest way of installing a thermodynamic panel is to
wall mount. This is achieved by using 6 stainless steel brackets that fix directly to an
If multiple panels are needed for larger installations the thermodynamic panels can be
racked. This is because they do not need sunlight to operated, and will work as long as
there is sufficient air movement around the panels.
Thermodynamic panels can be installed onto a roof. This type of installation is very
similar to how Solar PV panels are installed. Stainless steel runners will go along the
roof for the panels to sit on and attach too. These runners are then attached to the joist
via a metal clasp that slides under the tiles.
First Mounting Method
Method Two of
Panels can be installed on a flat roof using specially made a-frames. The panels must be
louvered to a minimum of 15 degrees so that water can run off.
Second Mounting Method
Will a Thermo Dynamic System add
There is no concrete evidence to suggest with certainty that a thermodynamic system
will add value to your property. However, since the introduction of the EPC (Energy
Performance Certificate), which all properties must have when, being bought or sold,
consumer awareness of properties energy performance has greatly improved. If a
property comes with a low EPC grade this could suggest to the buyer that investment
may be needed to improve its energy efficiency once bought. In 2016 the first
thermodynamic units were incorporated into SAP calculations, which meant that they
would have an effect on a buildings energy rating.
Value to my house?
If you are thinking of selling your house after having installed a thermodynamic system
it may be possible to keep the system and take it to your next property. This is very
much dependent on the type of system purchased and its set up. Thermodynamic
systems are not designed to replace an existing boiler, just switch the domestic hot
water off, therefore if a system were uninstalled the property could revert back to the
existing boiler / heat source. Not all providers offer this option, and if they do
consumers would have to factor in the additional labour cost of uninstall and reinstallation.
The installation of thermodynamic panels in England and Wales is classified as
‘permitted development’ which means that no planning permission is needed. There are
however a few exceptions to this rule. If you are looking to install on a Listed Building
you must take the necessary steps to obtain planning permission through your local
council. If you live in an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) it is advised that
you discuss your plans and panel positions with the local authority. If you live in a
conservation area no planning permission is needed, however the panel/s must not be
visible from the main highway / front of house.
MCS (Microgeneration Certificate Scheme) is the government backed approval of
renewable technologies for application in the UK. Thermodynamic panels were first
included on the MCS register back in 2013. The panels were however quickly rescinded
from this approval, due to a false classification, resulting in them being de-registered.
This removal from the MSC register knocked consumer confidence in the technology;
however what consumers were not told was that the panels were registered under the
wrong classification of renewable energy, Solar thermo. In 2015 MCS created a new
category specifically for thermodynamic panels known as ‘Solar Assisted Heat Pumps’.
The first thermodynamic panel manufacturers and products achieved MCS approval in
early 2016. This approval has helped the thermodynamic panel industry to flourish over
the coming year. Furthermore news was released mid 2015 that Solar thermo would
be losing its RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) payments in early 2017. This helped to
further strengthen the appeal of thermodynamic systems over the ageing technology of
Although thermodynamic panels are now MCS approved they do not qualify for RHI.
Therefore the systems cost effectiveness needs to be judged on its energy savings along.
Although an RHI payment would be good for consumers the general consensus among
thermodynamic manufacturers is that they don’t want to repeat the turmoil of the Solar
PV industry, with subsidies being given and then reduced / taken away. They hope that
the systems will still make financial and commercial sense without payment assistance
from the government. This will help to create a more stable industry able to stand on its
own two feet, without being propped up by the government. Early signs of this seem
Potential savings of a
The savings for each individual thermodynamic system will widely vary, based on
energy consumption, hot water consumption.
There are a few things you can do to maximise your systems performance, such as:
Panels can be placed up to about 20m pipe run from the unit, however reducing this run
can help save on the electrical running cost. If you can face the panels towards south in
an open area you will also benefit from extra performance, due to solar gain. The
average ambient air temperature will also play a part in the overall performance of each
Despite these variances thermodynamic units appear to have a very low running cost,
with manufactories displaying figures of 300w – 450w of electrical consumption when
in use. This means that it would cost you between 3-4 pence per hour to run a
thermodynamic unit. Systems typically only run for a few hours a day as when the water
reaches temperature the unit will automatically turn off. Therefore the equation for
working out savings would be as follows:
Domestic Hot Water Cost - Running Cost
= Total Savings
The main variable in the equation is the domestic hot water cost. For some this is hard
to decipher as it is all lumped into a gas, oil, electric or LPG bill. This will also vary based
on the number of people in the property, hot water usage, boiler set up (combi or
cylinder) and hot water system type (unvented or vented). Combi boilers will have a
lower percentage of hot water on the bill compared to a cylinder system, as they only
heat hot water on demand, whereas cylinders heat and maintain the entire water
volume within. As an average guidance hot water can represent between 30-40% of a
typical domestic properties fuel bill.
Cost of a
thermo Dynamic System
Potential differences in the initial costing’s will vary from project to project.
For example, plumbing costs may be higher if the building has a complicated or
antiquated water system. The installation costs could be significantly higher if
scaffolding is required. The size of system (number of panels and water cylinder
capacity) you will need depends on the hot water demand of your home. The
average person will use around 50 litres of hot water each day; a normal 3/4 bedroom
house would require a 200 litre unit/cylinder.
We have the experience and the correct installation teams and qualified F-Gas
Thermodynamic systems shouldn’t be installed by conventional plumbers alone. This is
why the DIY thermodynamic panel market doesn’t really exist.