The right move

David Mallett, owner of D&J Plumbing, explains the benefits that moving into renewable heating technologies has made to his business.
Cambridgeshire-based installer David Mallett has seen the renewable heating section of his business growing rapidly in recent years as customers increasingly turn away from older, inefficient fossil fuel-based systems towards renewable technologies.
David moved into the heat pump business after installing a heat pump system into his own property. “We mostly operate in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Lincolnshire, where most of the houses are not connected to the gas grid, so there are fewer choices for heating. Of the available options, heat pumps are by far the cheapest to run.
“People don’t know a lot about them and don’t just take our word for it in regards to how good they are – they often go online and do their own research too and see the benefits. But nine times out of ten, on new-builds especially, we recommend heat pumps and the customer finds out more and goes with them.
“We installed more than 19 Daikin Altherma heat pumps in the first three months of this year. Our customers have been extremely happy with them – and so have I. The pumps themselves do what they need to do and we never get any complaints about them. If a product doesn’t work or breaks down, then there’s no point using it. But we never have that problem – we’ve found Daikin systems to be very reliable.
“There’s also really good backing from the company. On the few occasions when there are issues that need to be dealt with under warranty, it’s straightforward. The people at Daikin UK are very approachable and they look after me well.”
On the subject of the actual installation process itself, David believes that being both MCS accredited and F-Gas qualified has given the company greater flexibility when it comes to finding the right solution – whether it’s new build or a retrofit project.
“Some other plumbers, or big companies, will criticise heat pumps and try to push less efficient alternatives, but often that’s because they don’t have the right skills or qualifications to do the installations. But you don’t have to be a big company to be good at what you do and smaller installation companies who are actually fitting the technology and seeing it work are often the best people to go to for advice
Educating the customer
One of the challenges that David’s company has faced has been to educate end-users on how to achieve the best results from heat pump installations. Many of his customers don’t realise that you don’t need to run the heating at full temperature for short bursts. For the best results, the heat pump should be on at a lower temperature for longer.
“We make sure that we spend a decent amount of time educating people about this when we’re doing an installation. It’s a new technology for this country and people are talking about it and getting the idea now.”
One of the benefits of Daikin Altherma systems that David is enthusiastic about is the inverter control feature.
“Heat pumps really need to be inverter driven. An inverter works to regulate the heat pump’s output according to the outside temperature. When it’s freezing, of course, you need full temperature flow, and the inverter will regulate this and will ensure savings are made when the outside temperature means a cooler flow is sufficient.”
Older properties
One of D&J Plumbing’s recent installations was to retrofit an old manor house with a Daikin Altherma high temperature split system. Some older properties are better suited to high temperature installations because they’re less well insulated – and there’s not much that can be done about this because of the nature of the buildings themselves.
“The old manor house we recently worked on had solid stone walls and large open chimneys, there was insulation in the roofing but adding extensive insulation elsewhere in the property was not possible. However, using a high temperature system, there’s the same scope for warmth as with an oil system but with around a 50% reduction in bills.
“Anyone thinking about having a heat pump installed should always make sure they speak to an MCS qualified installer. For installers, there are definite benefits to becoming MCS registered and offering heat pumps. It’s the future