A micro-CHP, or combined heat and power unit, is a small-scale energy generator that uses natural gas or propane combustion heat to generate electricity.

These units are becoming increasingly popular as homeowners look for ways to reduce their energy costs and increase their home’s efficiency. But how long does a micro-CHP last?

And what maintenance is required to keep it running smoothly? This guide will answer those questions and more.

How Long Do Micro-CHPs Last, and What Factors Affect Their Lifespan?

In the future, micro-CHP boilers will use the same connections as a typical condensed boiler and require a similar installation and maintenance schedule.

The lifespan of a micro-CHP boiler will depend on several factors, including its maintenance schedule, how well it is looked after by the installation team, and the usage to which it has been subjected.

A micro-CHP boiler can last anywhere from 20 to 25 years. However, the quality of the boiler installation plays a major role in its lifespan; if the unit is poorly installed or poorly maintained, it will not last as long.

The boiler’s power rating is another factor that affects its lifespan; a more powerful unit will last longer but will also cost more to run. Some micro-CHP units can also have lifespans of 30 years or longer if maintained for longer periods.

Why Should You Consider a Micro-CHP for Your Home or Business?

Energy costs are a long-term concern for businesses—much of that cost comes from energy inefficiencies such as heating, cooling, and lighting.

A micro-CHP is a great way to reduce these inefficiencies and increase your energy efficiency. If you run a large business, a single micro-CHP can power several buildings at once or reduce the energy used by a single building by 50% or more.

Combined heat and power units offer significant savings compared to standard grid electricity; the micro-CHP unit’s power efficiency and efficiency can exceed that of solar PV systems. Electrical appliances and devices (desktop computers, microwaves, televisions) use power when simply turned on.

Lighting is typically the second-largest energy consumer in a home. Natural gas or propane is used to fuel a micro-CHP unit; one of the most common fuel sources is natural gas; it’s a relatively clean-burning and low-cost fuel source.

A small amount of electricity is also generated during combustion, which is fed into your home’s electrical system. The main benefit of the combined heat and power unit is its considerable energy savings compared to standard electrical solutions.

A micro-CHP unit can power up to 60% of a home or business’s daily electrical requirements, allowing owners to save considerable energy. A micro-CHP unit can also reduce your environmental impact. A micro-CHP unit reduces your carbon emissions by 30% to 40% compared to a typical electrical solution or fossil fuel heating system.

How Much Does a Micro-CHP Cost, and What Are Your Financing Options?

The price of a micro-CHP unit will vary depending on the size of the unit and the amount of electricity it can produce—the smaller the unit is and the lower its power rating, the cheaper the unit will be.

A micro-CHP unit will typically cost between £4,000 and £6,000 for the supply and installation of the unit, with an additional £60 to £200 per month for electricity generated by the unit. Micro-CHP units generally pay for themselves in 5 to 8 years, depending on the unit’s size and electricity output.

Micro-CHP units are typically leased or financed for between 5 and 7 years, but many business owners have used tax breaks and investment schemes to finance their units for longer periods. A great way to finance a micro-CHP unit is through an interest-free business loan; many banks will offer interest-free loans for up to three years for businesses that install energy-saving equipment.

Other government-backed schemes, such as the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, will also help reduce the cost of installing a micro-CHP unit and electricity generation equipment.

What Are the Installation Requirements for a Micro-CHP and Who Can Install It for You?

A micro-CHP unit is installed similarly to a standard gas boiler and furnace; each unit has its electrical components that must be connected to the home’s electrical supply.

However, for a micro-CHP unit to be fully functional, it must be connected to the gas supply lines or LPG in the home; a gas engineer must make this connection. For installation, you’ll need to find a qualified gas engineer (typically from the CORGI, the Gas Safe Register, or an accredited MCS installer) to install your micro-CHP unit, flue system, and gas supply lines.

The engineer installing the unit must also be certified to install the electrical wiring that links the micro-CHP unit to the home’s electrical supply. The engineer will not need to disconnect the wiring from the home’s electrical supply and connect it to the micro-CHP unit – the installer will do this.

The installation of the micro-CHP unit will take the same amount of time as a conventional boiler.

How Will a Micro-CHP Impact Your Energy Usage and Monthly Bills?

The amount of energy that a micro-CHP unit generates will depend on several factors, including the size of the unit and the type of fuel it uses to generate power.

For example, a micro-CHP unit that uses natural gas to generate power will generate more electricity than a unit that uses propane or heating oil. The unit’s efficiency will also influence how much electricity it generates; the most efficient units generate 50% to 70% of the electricity produced by the combustion process.

As a result, a micro-CHP unit’s impact on your energy usage will depend largely on the size of your property and the type and efficiency of its power-generating device. To gauge the impact of your new micro-CHP unit, you can estimate (using an energy simulation tool) how much electricity the average micro-CHP unit uses; then, minus that figure from the amount of electricity you use in an average month.

This will give you an estimate of how many kWh of electricity the unit will produce. Take these estimates with you when you visit the manufacturer’s showroom or ask the manufacturer to confirm them.

You may also want to take a look at your current electricity bills; they will give you a rough idea of how much electricity you use each month (for lighting, heating, and cooking), and how the cost varies depending on the time of day the electricity is used. After you’ve generated an estimate of how much energy a micro-CHP unit is likely to generate (or how much your current electrical bills are likely to increase), you can use these figures to estimate the savings of installing a micro-CHP unit.

However, as many people live off-grid in the UK, it is also possible that you can save a significant amount of money on your energy bill by generating your power with a micro-CHP unit – even if you do not generate enough power to offset all of your electrical usages. For example, a single person living in a small home that uses relatively little energy could manage to reduce their energy bills by running a micro-CHP unit for an hour a day.

This would mean that, over a year, the micro-CHP unit would save as much as 750 kWh of electricity — which could represent around £120 a year. With all that money sitting on the table, installing a micro-CHP unit is a no-brainer!

What are its Benefits Over Traditional Heating Systems?

There are many benefits associated with installing a micro-CHP unit in your home.

For example, converting your home to a gas fireplace or LPG heating system is considerably more expensive than installing a micro-CHP unit. The micro-CHP unit will pay for itself much faster, generating enough electricity to power the needs of an average household.

This allows for considerable savings that can be invested back into your home. Listed below are some other benefits of using micro-CHP over traditional heating systems:

  • Savings on energy: A micro-CHP unit reduces electricity usage by up to 50% to 70%.
  • Improves your home’s environmental impact: A micro-CHP unit reduces your household’s carbon emissions by up to 30% to 40% compared to a typical electrical solution and a fossil fuel heating system.
  • Improves your quality of life: A micro-CHP unit not only reduces your carbon footprint but can also improve your comfort and your home. Most micro-CHP units can be installed in areas your home’s current heating system can’t reach, meaning you often get even heat distribution throughout your home.
  • Reduces your energy bills: A micro-CHP unit not only lowers your energy bills but can also save you money by generating electricity that otherwise would have been purchased from your energy supplier.
  • Increases your home’s value: A micro-CHP install does not impact your home’s value, which means that installing a micro-CHP unit will not impact your sale price if you decide to sell.
  • Provides hot water: A micro-CHP unit can produce a constant hot water supply, meaning you do not have to rely on alternative heating methods to keep water in use.

How Long Does a Micro-CHP Last and How Often Do You Need to Service It?

Micro CHP units are small, compact, and easy to install.

They can typically last between 20 and 30 years with regular maintenance. Maintenance involves replacing the air filters every 6 months and cleaning the heat exchanger every 3 months.

An expert will be needed for the maintenance, but it is comparable to any other boiler in terms of requirements. The micro CHP unit should run similarly to a traditional boiler daily, except for the amount of energy it will produce, which is indicated using an LCD readout.

A typical maintenance routine for a micro-CHP will last around 30 minutes. However, some professionals may double the routine if your micro-CHP unit is larger. The maintenance routine can be replaced every few years, but it is important to remember the schedule to avoid downtime and repairs on your micro-CHP unit.

What are the Costs of Running a Micro-CHP Compared to Other Forms of Heating?

Depending on your heating needs, micro-CHP systems can cut your yearly heating expenditure by £60 to £200 at an installation cost of £4,000 to £6,000. Up to 1.5 tonnes less carbon dioxide emissions are produced annually, or about 20% fewer emissions per home.

Micro CHP systems are eligible for payment under the government’s Feed-In Tariff (FIT) programme, which offers a predetermined tariff rate with a 20-year guarantee. The export tariff covers electricity exported to the national grid, whereas the generation tariff applies to electricity produced by the micro-CHP system.

The system’s lifetime is usually at least fifteen years, while the payback period is often fifteen years or fewer. You can arrange a Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), which is repaid through power bill savings if you don’t have the funds to install a new micro-CHP system.

Micro-CHP systems can provide both useful power and heat, but caution should be exercised to prevent one from overtaking the other. Instead of producing more heat than is required to satisfy the power demand, they should always be operated to fulfil the building’s heating needs.

The production of electricity should be considered a beneficial by-product of heat production.

How Much Space Is Required for a Micro-CHP, and Where Can It Be Installed?

A micro-CHP system is normally installed in place of an old boiler or over an existing boiler and hot water cylinder.

You will need space to fit a high-efficiency condensing boiler with a hot water cylinder and a hot water storage cylinder. The boiler will need to be on a sturdy wall and will need to be accessible for maintenance.

It’s important to size your unit properly because if you pick one too big, you’ll use it less, lowering the amount of electricity you generate.

What Are the Safety Features of a Micro-CHP and How Easy Is It to Use?

The safety features of a micro-CHP system are detailed in the manufacturer’s instruction manual.

Each will have different safety mechanisms, so make sure that you familiarise yourself with them before attempting any maintenance on your micro-CHP unit. Some common safety features are:

  • The automatic operational function stops the heating boiler or micro-CHP from working if any safety settings are breached during maintenance.
  • Electronic safety control is intended to protect the micro-CHP unit.
  • The Micro CHP units are extremely easy to use. The thermostat units on the side indicate when the system is heating your home and providing power.
  • The readouts on the micro CHP unit also indicate how much energy has been produced and how much has been used, allowing you to monitor your usage. You can read these readouts using a hand remote or a mobile app.

Who Should Consider Installing a Micro-CHP in Their Home?

Anyone looking to reduce their household’s carbon footprint should consider installing a micro-CHP unit.

Micro-CHP systems can be installed in any home with a mains gas supply, making them accessible to most homes in the UK. If you own a large home that is difficult to heat, invest in a micro-CHP system because micro-CHP systems are easy to add on to and can even be installed in those hard-to-reach areas.

If you don’t have the funds to install a micro-CHP system, consider taking out a loan or a personal loan. Often, you can finance your micro-CHP system over a longer period, meaning you are more likely to make repayments and less likely to experience any difficulties paying off the loan.

Summary

If you’re still on the fence about whether a micro-CHP is right for your home or business, don’t worry.

We comprehend how challenging it may be to make a significant choice. That’s why we’ve compiled all of the information you need to make an informed decision in one place.

Contact us today, and one of our experts will help guide you through the process of choosing and installing a micro-CHP that fits your needs and budget. Thanks for reading!