Radicals take on 16th century Surrey home

Stelrad Radiators award winning new Radical serial feed radiators have been set some difficult conundrums to work with as more and more people are drawn towards this exciting new design radiator to provide energy efficient heating in their homes and commercial buildings. But few had offered the Radical the challenge that a historic home renovation near Woking has provided in recent months!

When Peter White and his partner Tanina – the owners of established property development company Lencrest Homes in Surrey – fell in love with their new Surrey home, one of the major challenges was always going to be heating it! Through his profession, Peter was as well qualified as any to come up with a solution, but he admits even he had to think long and hard about how to approach the ‘u-value nightmare’ he had taken on.

Peter had been able to trace the oldest parts of the building back to arguably 1480 – it had originally been a medieval hall house – and over the centuries, bits and pieces had been added, even including a seventeenth century bread oven! The last attempts to renovate the property had taken place in the late nineteen seventies and eighties, but from the evidence available to Peter, it had proved to be a job too far for those attempting to turn it into a comfortable home.

The current renovation is very much ‘work in progress’, but significant steps forward have been taken. The heating system is just about two thirds installed and much of the house is now ‘liveable’ and becoming the family home Peter envisaged when he first clapped eyes on the property: “We’re getting there,” he says. “The plan was to undertake a sympathetic renovation of the property, retaining all the features inside and out. We started from the exciting position that there wasn’t a straight wall in the house! We have uncovered some of the original wattle and daub walls – many of which are in perfect condition! The hazel twigs they used five or six hundred years ago are still flexible and as good as new – it’s quite amazing. But of course it came with no insulation of any sort, anywhere and a heating system that frankly was totally inadequate, so we needed some help to overcome these very basic issues at the outset! And piping and fixing anything to floors, walls and ceilings was an interesting challenge.”

But where there’s a will there’s a way and with the heating installation pretty much there now, there is significant light at the end of Peter’s tunnel! It’s a listed building of course which puts significant restrictions on what can and can’t be done but Peter joined the Listed Property Owners Club and with help from them and his own experience, it’s all coming together.

He’s gone with a modern condensing boiler – a Worcester 440 CDi – with the latest intelligent controls. He considered heat pumps but decided the boiler option made more sense and made installation simpler. He discovered the Stelrad Radical radiator and was particularly drawn towards them for a number of reasons – one the much higher radiant heat obtained from them in comparison to traditional radiators – 50% more, and the fact that they heat up more quickly than traditional radiators as well – up to 23% more quickly. But he was also keen that the condensing boiler really returned the energy efficiency it claimed – and Radical radiators, because of the cooler return flow circulating water to the boiler, ensure that a condensing boiler actually condenses – giving the 93%+ energy efficiency he was looking for: “We considered ground floor underfloor heating but frankly we needed a heating system that heats up quickly and provides almost instant heat around the home and that’s something UFH can’t provide. In addition, digging up uneven floors with a variety of substrates throughout the house was a ‘no-no’ as well so UFH simply wasn’t right for the job.

“The Stelrad Radicals are performing really well – if anything they provide too much heat at times and we are delighted to have to turn them down – that wasn’t something we were anticipating! With a variety of construction methods throughout the property, we don’t just have to consider room sizes for u-values – we have to consider whether it’s a brick wall, a stud wall, or wattle and daub – that makes things a wee bit more complex! But so far – so good – and we’re really impressed with the performance of the Stelrad Radical radiators we’ve chosen. We have a number of projects through the business coming up and I’m planning on using Radicals for these too now, I’ve been that impressed with them. They’re as easy to install as standard rads, they are aesthetically pleasing and it’s another sales benefit to our customers to be able to highlight that their radiators have been independently shown to contribute a 10.5% saving on their energy bills – it’s win, win all the way.”

To find out more about Stelrad’s Radical radiator, head for stelrad.com or call for further information on 0844 543 6200 or email marketing@stelrad.com . You can follow Stelrad on Twitter @Stelrad or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/StelradLimited.

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