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TerryE last won the day on March 24 2017

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About TerryE

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    Northamptonshire, UK

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  1. Yup, especially as there is a complete section of the submission for invoices where the VAT isn't separately itemised! It seemed a bit capricious to reject what is clearly a valid order confirmation and payment from a major retailer because net amounts and VAT were not separately itemised. Perhaps this would be reasonable if there were multiple VAT rates, but in this case everything is at 20% anyway. I suspect that the processing admin needed to "add value" or be seen to do her job by finding at least one error, and this was the one she chose. However, I feel it totally counter-productive to let any irritation or sarcasm show in your responses when dealing with this sort of process administration, whether it is Planning, BControl, or as in this case VAT Reclaim. The person that you are dealing with is usually having to do a pretty shitty job on a pretty low salary, so being a smart-arse is quite unfair, IMO. I just try to bite my tongue, and write a friendly but direct response to any issues raised. I also leave it for 12+ hours before both Jan and I reread the response, in case I've left some signs of irritation in. Get rid of it.
  2. I spoke too soon. One of the salesman has just emailed us a VAT invoice. It just took some shaking of the tree Let's hope that HMRC accept this one.
  3. The good news is that HMRC have settled our claim on all items bar one. The bad news was that this was our single largest item: our fitted kitchen which we bought from Wickes. The claimed total was correct in that we excluded the non-claimable items. The refusal reason wording was "Not a VAT invoice -- Pro--Formas / Quotations / Sales Orders / Order Confirmations / Illegible Invoices / Photocopies / Invoices without company VAT registration numbers are not acceptable invoices". The Issue seems to be that Wickes Document does not have the word "Invoice" on it. It does include everything else: Customer details Seller details Order reference VAT number Order itemisation Pricing details based on Wickes list prices plus discounts, and itemisation of installation services (£0). Confirmation of Payment details. What it doesn't do is to separately itemise VAT and excl VAT subtotals. We've chased the Wickes salesman a couple of time and we getting the run -around. "That's what we issue customers; we don't give any other document". They got no interest in this as this was an order completed a couple of years ago. I've tried the customer service -- no response. And time is ticking towards or 30 day appeal limit. Very frustrating as this is worth £2K to us. We will see what happens, but the main lesson learnt is that you should make sure you get a valid VAT receipt for big ticket items at the time of purchase.
  4. As Ed says, definitely not true in our case. No BGas installation fees; no daily standing charge, no boiler maintenance charge, and that's before we do any other side-by-side comparisons. (The annual maintenance on my last BGas boiler was over £300). Because my house is very energy efficient, the Willis does the job fine; it's tiny and doesn't need an area of external wall for its install. We have about a 6-year payback if I self-install and self-maintain an ASHP, and if I reckon on a 10 year working life then this is just about viable -- but there's no cost-benefit case for a professional install. One nice side-effect of having the Willis as a fallback is that the ASHP isn't "mission critical". If it were to break down in peak mid-winter and I needed to order a part or even replace it, then the only real impact would be that my electricity bill would go up by maybe £10 or so per week for the outage.
  5. Martin as Nick says, limescaling is a slow killer for plumbing systems. It knackers everything over time. See https://youtu.be/yF_dLlQ6RIo as an example of what I mean. This is what is happening inside your SunAmp if you don't use a softener.
  6. @K78 You need to be careful with sources. The Institute for Energy Research is an NFP funded largely by Charles Koch and oil industry money. A quote from the WP article: "IER was among the most prominent organizations questioning the existence and extent of anthropogenic climate change". I wonder why they conclude that diesel cars are greener than EVs? Humm. The large majority of studies which have also cranked the numbers come with the opposite conclusion.
  7. As Jeremy says, I can only make the payback work if I do the install myself (around 5-6 years). If I use a typical provide and install quote then this would go up to nearer 15 than 10 years, and with the expected life of an ASHP being around 10 years, this makes no sense at all. Of course this equation and payback would all change if I had a lower-spec energy efficient house.
  8. Yup, we've still got 2×SunAmp PVs and we've had no problems so far except that the total actual thermal capacity seems to be a bit less than stated. Perhaps as a bit of kit, this is over engineered. Given that I love my little Willis (which heats our UFH) and the probs that many of the UniQ users have had, I think that if I did have to replace the PVs then I'd go for something like a UniQ HW 9 with an external Willis and pump to top it up -- that way I can do the heating control integrated into my overall heating strategy. One Q for Martin: do you use a water softener on the HW supply-side? IIRC, when I talked to the SunAmps guys, they though one pretty essential, so we use a Harvey and no complaints here.
  9. We've had our twin cylinder Harvey 2 water softener in commission for coming up to 2 years and I haven't done much apart from change the salt blocks as required, yet I've noticed that there is now a definite asymmetry: the left block seems to get consumed at roughly 1½× the rate of the right one and I am getting salt crusting on the sides of the salt-block slots. I just feel that it could do with being taken outside and my giving the whole thing a good hose down and make sure that no small orifices are blocked. I was just wondering if any other members with these do any form of annual maintenance. @JSHarris, @jack, etc.?
  10. TerryE

    More Pi

    And the RPi 4 is now out: thePiHut -- Raspberry Pi 4 Model B. USB3 so SSDs are about 7x faster and now supports TRIM protocol. The Gb Enet is now proper 1Gb throughput. The CPUs are maybe 50-100% faster and you have 1,2, and 4Gb RAM options.
  11. Not true, IIRC in out case the wall losses were only about 30% of our total heat loss so this would on its own represent perhaps a 5% increase in your heating bill forever. However as Mike says, it is really worth playing with the numbers using a simple spreadsheet approximation such as Jeremy's. Your heat losses are primarily mix of wall, floor, roof, fenestration and air leakage circulation losses and you need to get a good balance. So for example, IMO, if you had to chose between 0.17 + no MVHR and 0.2 + MVHR, then the second option is by far the best. I went through all of these trade-offs when I was trying to decide whether to have a single-wall or twin-wall TF. In the end we went with MBCs twinwall Larson-struct construction. In retrospect, I have absolutely no regrets -- not for the slight U-value improvement, but for other factors that I didn't even consider in my design trade-offs: The cellulosic-filled twinwall has a far higher thermal capacity and decrement delay which makes the whole environment a lot more thermally stable and pretty much insensitive to external diurnal temperature variation. The blown-fill open panel cavity is intrinsically more airtight than pretty much any of the construction alternatives. You are also far less vulnerable to quality issues with insulation fit and potential airgaps / cold spots. So at the end of the day this is all about trade-offs. A good exercise is do the first design iteration then give yourself a £5K improvement budget and look in turn at using this to improve any one of the above components. If one stands out then you've got the balance wrong.
  12. Andrew, why the floor void? This really complicates this type of floor. Quite a few of us use MBC raft designs. Their SE demands a geo survey and the approach that he adopts in perhaps 90% of cases is to build the raft on a sub-base made up of 50 mm layers of course crushed gravel. The depth varies account to soil conditions, but we had 450mm for ours on Gault clay, IIRC. We used MOT 1 for the top 50mm to blind it and this was then topped by a 50mm sharp and leveling layer and the slab poured into structural grade EPS which both acted as the former for the slab and the insulation. No void at all. We had a land drain around the perimeter of the sub-base emptying into a sump that we could pump out before the proper drainage was in place. Having a void below ground level is a bad idea IMO. It's not a good idea to have a lake below your living area. And either way foamGlass should easily support your frame. Get your SE to do calcs. It solved a bridging issue that we had and our SE signed it off.
  13. I am another self-builder with an electric only passive-class non-certified house. A couple of things to consider: Your loft space: if you are considering making this living space then at a minimum do all of the structural and at least 1st fit work during initial construction. Also make sure that you have any roof lights, etc. in the initial build so that commissioning it doesn't change the external look of the house and therefore fall foul of further planning approval. Our estate agent for our old house had a look at our new plans and he was the one that suggested that we include our loft space as living space from day 1 -- far cheaper to do than doing a conversion later on. A decision that we have never regretted. We haven't got a thermal store. We use a SunAmp system (lots of discussion on the pros and cons here on the forum), but the big pluses are that it this is thermal energy dense and also has incredibly low heat losses, so our entire 'plant room' is a cupboard off our ground floor toilet. We use our ground floor slab as our thermal store for space heating. Do the math: that amount of concrete has more than an order more specific heat capacity than any conventional TS. Again we've had various threads on this. ASHP vs GSHP. Again research all of the threads on this. I realise that you might be tempted to go the GSHP route given your acreage, but the consensus here seems to be that ASHP is better in terms of through-life costing.
  14. To which Jan replied "F*** knows; I can't remember." Unfortunately we are in Alonnisos and the paperwork and invoices are in a folder in the UK. As others have said, the problem is that the whole job involves a lot of itty-bitty trades and site visits. Better to split the work by trades IMO, and do the ones you are doing yourself, and the others to your preferred tradesman. The tanking bit is pretty straight forward but time consuming and something either of you should be able to tackle.