Nest heating

Getting the best out of your gas boiler.

Heating your home accounts for up to 60% of what you spend in a year on your energy bills (Energy Saving Trust). Therefore anything that you can do to improve the efficiency of your boiler and radiators will lead to significant savings.

Depending on your boiler’s age, a new efficient condensing one could save you up to £315 a year. However a new installed boiler will set you back anything from £1,800 to £3,000 depending on the boiler of your choice and the size of your house.

Adjusting your thermostat at home

If you only have one thermostat for your home, turning it down by 1°C would save around £145 a year, according to estimates from the Energy Saving Trust. For most people, the lowest comfortable temperature to set your heating is around 18°C. 

What many home owners don’t realise is that their boiler can be made to run much more efficiently. The ‘flow temperature’ is the temperature your boiler heats up the water to before sending it off to your radiators. Most gas boilers are set up to operate at what is called 80/60 flow and return temperatures. This means the boiler heats up the water to 80°C. The water returns to the boiler after travelling around all your radiators at 60°C, having given off 20°C to the room.

However an 80/60C flow is too high for a condensing gas boiler to achieve the A-rated efficiencies claimed by the manufacturers. Your installer should have reduced the flow temperature to give the boiler a chance to run in what is known as ‘condensing mode’ as much as possible. This is when you will make a decent level of savings.

Efficiently running your heating in your home

The correct temperature setting for heating on a boiler is ‘as low as possible’, but as a guide most older homes can run their heating systems at 60°C and newer homes at 50-55°C. They start to reach their very highest efficiency potential at 45°C flow temperature or lower, but this can be too low for older properties.

Ultimately how low you can turn your flow temperature down will depend on the size of your radiators, how well insulated your home is and your thermostat temperature. For homes with modern double glazing, cavity walls and good levels of loft insulation you should be able to drop your flow temperature down with no impact on comfort. Even older homes, particularly terraced houses, will be able to do this if they have been modernised and draft proofed.

Smart heating in your home

There are also a raft of smart heating controls like Nest and Hive that allow you to control your home heating via and App. Why have your heating on when no one is at home? Or turn the heating on remotely when you are on your way home? If you add smart thermostatic radiator valves to your smart heating controls you can really start to make savings. At Carter Electrical we recommend fitting Nest and have good experiences with that brand.

Thermostatic radiator valves and a smart heating controller allow you to divide up your home into various zones and then offer smart heating in each zone, so your guest bedroom is heated only when required, the master bedroom is warm in the morning and at bedtime, and the kitchen is cosy at breakfast and tea time.

Get in touch if you would like more advice or if we can help with any electrical and heating issues.

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Solar panels Reading

Saving Energy-Saving Money

We have written several blogs on the subject of saving energy and there are many great blogs out there that also give excellent tips on how to use less power. Therefore we have decided to share some of our favourite blogs from the internet and highlight the best tips to save money this winter.

6 tips to cut your energy bills:

We like this article from the BBC as it gives six simple tips to cut your energy bills that don’t cost a fortune to implement. They are

1) use an air fryer or microwave instead of an oven,

2) install LED lightbulbs,

3) turn your central heating down,

4) insulate and draught proof your home,

5) use your appliances more economically

6) and finally take shorter showers!!

We have previously written a blog about LED lightbulbs

This blog from EDF goes through the house in more detail giving you some more great ideas on how to save on your energy consumption

There are obviously larger expenditures that will save you money in the long run and many of these investments are now showing good returns as the price of energy has soared. Investments such as the installation of double glazing, solar panels, air source pumps can cost thousands of pounds but can indeed save you thousands of pounds over the long run. There are also government grants to enable households to make these green investments.

Installation of storage batteries

Installing a storage battery can also prove to be a good investment as the battery will store the electricity generated by your solar panels or the cheap electricity that is available to purchase overnight. Our latest blog discusses the merits of Tesla and Huawei Luna storage batteries.

You can also take this questionnaire on the UK Government website to see if your home would benefit from home improvements that could make your property cheaper to heat and keep warm.

Please do get in touch with us here at Carter Electrical Installations if you’re thinking about embarking on any of these projects.

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Battery power

Battery Power

Two of the most popular storage batteries available on the market are the Tesla Powerwall and Huawei Luna. We have installed both products so thought that a good idea for a Blog would be to compare and contrast their features. Storage batteries, alongside inverters, are becoming increasingly popular as domestic customers look to store the power created from their solar panels and then release the electricity when needed.

All batteries store DC (direct current) power, and solar panels produce DC power. But home appliances use AC (alternating current) power. This is where inverters and rectifiers come into play.

When solar panels produce DC power, it runs through an inverter, where it’s converted to AC, then flows through your house. If you have a backup power system, excess energy that’s not used in the home will keep flowing to charge your battery. It will need to run through a rectifier to be converted back to DC power in order to be stored in the battery.

Storage batteries have been in limited supply over the last two years due to many different issues. However we are beginning to see an improvement in the situation with Huawei becoming more available. Tesla batteries are still on a 12 month lead time but we do have some coming in soon.

The Powerwall

Our view of the key features:

*built in back up facilities 

*great name and product

*good product for retrofit arrays eg. Solar already installed 

Here’s a snapshot of key Tesla Powerwall specs:

  • Energy Capacity 13.5 kWh
    100% depth of discharge
    90% round trip efficiency
  • Power 7kW peak / 5kW continuous
    Quick backup transition
    Pure sine wave output
  • Size and Weight L x W x D
    45.3″ x 29.6″ x 5.75″
    1150 mm x 753 mm x 147 mm
    251.3 lbs / 114 kg
  • InstallationFloor or wall mounted
    Indoor or outdoor
    Up to 10 Powerwalls
    -4°F to 122°F / -20°C to 50°C
    Water and dust resistance to IP67
  • CertificationsMeets local safety standards and regulations
  • Warranty10 years

Huawei LUNA2000 Battery key features

Huawei LUNA battery

Our view of the key features:

*Comes in smaller 5kw segments so easier to handle when Installing and capacity can be expanded with ease.

*High end product. 5kw max output power. Most other battery products, excluding Tesla, can only produce power up to 2/3.0kw

*DC coupled so no need for DNO application (general applications take 12 weeks)

*Good for new installs

  • High Voltage Lithium (LFP) modules with 100% DOD
  • 5kWh capacity per module scalable up to 30kWh
  • Power output per module, 2.5kW continuous, 3.5kW peak
  • AI-powered internal cell short circuit diagnosis to avoid fire hazards
  • Cell-level temperature control to detect overheating
  • Optimizer-enabled 0V rapid shutdown for safer installation and maintenance
  • Internal heating system for better performance in extremely cold climates
  • 10-year warranty

Modular battery system

The LUNA2000 batteries are made using lithium iron phosphate cells and can be stacked up to three high for a maximum of 15kWh of storage capacity per stack. However, the system can be expanded with a second stack offering up to 30kWh of total capacity with two stacks in parallel. Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) is widely known as one of the safest and most stable battery chemistries available for energy storage applications due to its wide operating temperature range and reduced risk of thermal runaway (overheating).

Compact, slimline design

Storage Battery
Huawei LUNA2000 battery system installed

The Luna2000 system is one of the most compact batteries available with a very small footprint thanks to the slimline design, which is quite appealing compared to some of the other more box-like batteries. The top section of the battery system is the power module, technically known as a BMU or battery monitoring unit, which is similar to other stackable battery systems controlled via a top-mounted BMU to provide the interconnection and communication to the inverter. The Huawei power module has inverter connections for flexible connection options on either side, while the main isolation switch and an inbuilt fuse are located on the right-hand side. The front led display features a round dial of ten LED lights to indicate the battery state of charge; this is a neat and unique way to indicate the state of charge.

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Carter Electrical team

“Are you looking for a new challenge?”

We are currently looking for skilled and qualified electricians, as well as an ASHP Designer/Engineer.  We would be offering a starting salary from £18ph depending on experience – would consider sub-contractors.  These positions would entitle the right candidates to a performance related bonus. Carter Electrical Installation Ltd are a family owned/run business based in the centre of Reading; and are accredited by NIC EIC to ensure we meet strict guidelines for all work carried out.

We undertake all electrical works, including green energy, so there are plenty of interesting projects to work on. Experience of fitting Solar PV and/or EV chargers would be beneficial, although not essential.

Please email your CV to 

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Solar panels

Golf Courses Go Green

Here at Carter Electrical we are very keen golfers (Some of us are). With our substantial golf course knowledge it has been a real pleasure to work at several golf courses in our region recently. We have had projects at Wentworth, Billingbear and The Caversham over the last year. Also we have have worked at St. George’s Hill and Henley GC. With our expert knowledge of both golf courses and Green energy we bring the best of both worlds to golf clubs. If you are thinking of a Green energy project at your golf club then please do get in touch and we can advise accordingly. Recent projects have involved Solar PV, storage batteries, lighting and EV chargers.

The Caversham: Full electrical and mechanical fit out of the greenkeepers warehouse combined with Solar PV. We also fitted lighting and heating in their temporary marquee during the Covid lockdown.

Wentworth: A large new power supply and fibre optic cable to an events marquee.

Billingbear: We fitted Solar PV and a storage battery to the main clubhouse.

St. George’s Hill: We fitted another marquee with power, heating and lighting. We carried out a lot of testing on power outlets combined with further small works.

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Electric car charging points

The Perfect Storm-Part 2

Following on form our previous blog about lack of supply and high prices we have now had the Price Cap announcement from Ofgem and the government’s response to the expected much higher energy bills this autumn. After a £700 rise in the energy cap this Spring the cap is expected to rise to £2,800 in October. This is a further rise of £800.

The government is helping out the less well off with payments totalling £650 in July and in the Autumn. This money will be given to over 8 million low income families who are on Universal Credit. All households in October will be given a £400 discount on their energy bills

With many households already paying over £300 per month for gas and electricity we are seeing a huge rise in enquiries for Solar PV, storage batteries and Air Source Heat Pumps. With annual energy bills approaching £3,500 to £4,000 the economics of installing green energy in your home are becoming very favourable. It has been possible to install Solar PV and storage batteries for £5,000 in your average UK home. So with energy prices where they now are green energy domestic projects look to be giving a good return on investment.

However the industry is facing critical supply issues.

1. Shortages in Raw Commodities

Heightened demand for certain commodities has resulted in soaring raw material prices as supply shortages continue, a lingering effect of COVID-19. In particular, a shortage of polysilicon, a key component in the photovoltaic (PV) supply chain, has caused solar panel pricing to skyrocket due to exponential demand for solar cells. Other components of PV cells — including silver, copper, aluminum and glass — have also been subjected to inflationary prices as demand outpaces supply.

We have experienced delays in Tesla Powerwalls and Solar PV Inverters. These are two of the biggest parts that we are having supply issues with. Solar panels can be installed but cannot operate without an inverter. Inverters convert direct current (DC) electricity, which is what a solar panel generates, to alternating current (AC) electricity, which the electrical grid uses.

2. Supply Chain Constraints

Commodity shortages are only exacerbated by global supply chain bottlenecks caused by increased shipping costs, factory closures, trade actions and import tariffs. These supply chain constraints hit China particularly hard and have resulted in nearly crippling schedule impacts on the United States solar industry, which is heavily dependent on solar panels manufactured in China. This is having a knock on effect in Europe.

For a variety of reasons manufacturers of solar panels have had to shift production away from China, resulting in higher prices and longer shipping lead times for key project hardware. Shanghai was recently subject to further lockdowns due to Covid19.

Ocean freight rates surged again in April, worsening supply chain bottlenecks. Also issues with P&O ferries have not helped getting supply into UK.

It really is the perfect storm creating product shortages and spiralling prices. We really will try our best at Carter Electrical but patience will be needed from our customers when it comes to completing green energy projects.

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Solar PV

Inflation and Shortages-The Perfect Storm

We are seeing very good demand for our services in 2022 however the perfect storm of Brexit, Covid19, and now the war in Ukraine, are causing shortages of raw materials and electrical products; with prices rising dramatically.

Copper, a key component in wiring, has soared in price over the last two years.

Some electrical products, particularly those using semi-conductors and microchips, are subject to longer lead times. Shut downs in China due to COVID are worsening the availability of semiconductors. As of April 19, more than half of China’s biggest cities were under some form of lockdown. Industrial cities and trading ports—including vital hubs like Changchun, Jilin, Shenyang, Tianjin, Shenzhen and Guangzhou—have shuttered businesses, imposed travel restrictions, or told residents to stay home.

High prices and long delays are affecting homeowners looking to go green and install energy saving products, such as heat pumps and solar panels. Though demand is strong due to the soaring costs of electricity and gas affecting home owners.

Demand is also expected to rise for green products due to the cut on VAT on retrofit measures announced in the Spring Statement, and following the launch of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme this month. 

Moreover, the boiler market has been impacted by unprecedented demand coupled with supply chain challenges for steel, cardboard, plastics and electronic components. 

Here at Carter Electrical Installation Ltd we are doing our very best to keep price rises down for our clients,  but unfortunately they are inevitable. We are using all of our industry contacts to source materials and products but some patience will be required.

In addition, a shortage of qualified electricians is affecting the industry and Carter currently has vacancies for solar and heating Engineers. Experience with solar PV and/or heat pumps is a must.

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VAT relief

Rishi Sunak announces VAT relief for home energy efficiency retrofits

In the recent mini budget Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that VAT on domestic green energy projects would be removed for the next 5 years. Previously the VAT rate stood at 5%. So for the likes of solar panels, air source heat pumps and insulation there is to be no VAT.

The Chancellor commented that with soaring energy prices it was now more important than ever for homeowners to make sure that their homes were as an energy efficient as possible. Sunak criticised the “complex rules about who is eligible”.

“The reliefs used to be more generous but from 2019 the European Court of Justice required us to restrict its eligibility,” he told the Commons.

“But thanks to Brexit we’re no longer constrained by EU law.”

Jon Carter, MD of Carter Electrical Installations, commented on this change. “We are already very busy with green energy projects. The absence of VAT can only help more householders want to go ahead with alternative energy sources”

At the last Budget, delivered in October 2021, Sunak confirmed a new rates relief scheme for businesses looking to fit low-carbon technologies onsite, including rooftop solar, battery storage and cycling infrastructure. Heat network installations will benefit from a 100% relief. 

This was originally set to run from 2023 to 2035. With these announcements, Sunak has brought its introduction forward to April 2022. 

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Solar panels

Solar PV Panels

How do Solar Panels work?

Frequently Asked Questions

Solar panels are made out of photovoltaic (PV) cells that convert the sun’s energy into electricity.

Photovoltaic cells are sandwiched between layers of semi-conducting materials such as silicon. Each layer has different electronic properties that energise when hit by photons from sunlight, creating an electric field. This is known as the photoelectric effect – and it’s this that creates the current needed to produce electricity.

Solar panels generate a direct current of electricity. This is then passed through an inverter to convert it into an alternating current, which can be fed into the National Grid, or used by the home or business the solar panels are attached to.

What type of panels are available?

Options include: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, hybrid and thin film. Solar panels are typically fitted on top of your existing roof. With new builds we can use recessed solar panels so that they are not so obvious at first sight.

How much will Solar Panels cost?

Solar panel system sizes are measured in kilowatt peaks (kWp). This is the maximum output of your system.

“The most common system size, from our survey of more than 1,000 solar panel owners, was between 3.6-4kWp” Which? Prices are from approximately £1000 per 1kW installed (depending on specifications) Therefore the average cost would be around £4,000.

What else do I need to run the system?

Solar PV panels need an inverter to convert the direct current produced by the panels in to alternating current that is used by the household. Inverters are often situated in lofts, though this can be problematic due to high temperatures experienced during summer months. Most inverters now have internet connection capability, so you can keep an eye on your system using apps or web browsers, even when you’re away. The technology also raises awareness of your energy usage, encouraging you to be more sustainable, and save more money.

Consider a storage battery to store the power that is generated from your solar panels during the day. Storage batteries can also be used to store cheap power during the night. This power could then be used to charge your EV or used back in the house when power demand is high.

Who Can I trust?

Carter Electrical Installations are a MCS-accredited installation company that installs MCS-certified products. MCS is an industry-led quality assurance scheme, which demonstrates the quality and reliability of approved products and installation companies.

Being MCS certified demonstrates to our customers that we install to the industry-expected level of quality every time. MCS gives you a mark of quality which provides assurance.

We are also a member of the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC). This means that they have agreed to abide by high consumer protection standards. RECC also runs a dispute-resolution process if you have a complaint against an installer registered with it.

What is the Smart Export Guarantee?

The Smart Export Generator (SEG) launched on 1 January 2020 and is a government-backed initiative. The SEG requires some electricity suppliers (SEG Licensees) to pay small-scale generators (SEG Generators) for low-carbon electricity which they export back to the National Grid, providing certain criteria are met.

Anyone with one of the following technology types could benefit from the SEG (provided they meet the rest of the eligibility criteria) up to a capacity of 5MW, or up to 50kW for micro-CHP:

  • Solar photovoltaic (solar PV)
  • Wind
  • Micro combined heat and power (micro-CHP)
  • Hydro
  • Anaerobic digestion (AD)

These installations must be located in Great Britain.

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Home EV car charging point

EV Charger Grants Ending Soon.

The current grant scheme for the installation of home chargers is due to end on 31st March 2022. The current Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) provides a 75% contribution towards the purchase and installation of an electric vehicle home charger; although this grant has been capped at £350.

We are expecting a surge in demand, so if you are thinking of installing a home charger please do get in touch as soon as possible so as not to miss out on the grant. You don’t have to physically have the vehicle you just need proof of an order, deposit or a lease agreement.

According to the UK Government a reformed EVHS will start in 2022. However, changes will be geared towards boosting uptake of EVs for people in blocks of flats and rental accommodation, landlords and social housing providers, plus apartment block owners. On top of this, the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) will be extended to allow SME’s to install chargers for employees. We are also experiencing strong demand for EV chargers from commercial sites and have plenty of experience in fitting multiple charger units.

The last claim for an installation that the government will accept under the scheme will be 30th April 2022. Also, the last date for an installation accepted under the scheme will be March 31 2022.

To qualify for the current EVHS grant – also known as the OLEV (Office for Low Emission Vehicles plug-in grant) – you’ll need to:

  • Have a qualifying electric vehicle that produces 0g/km of Co2 and must cost less than £35,000
  • Have access to off-street parking
  • Be parked somewhere that an electrician can run a charging cable from the distribution board (electricity supply) to your car
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