A house without heat is not a home! For those of us who have central heating, the boiler is perhaps the most important appliance in the home. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most expensive items to run. Now, by law, all boilers must be high-efficiency condensing boilers, which basically means that the boiler reuses the heat normally lost by old-style boilers; but the difficulties don’t end there. With a choice of only three different boilers, the Combi, the Vented and the Unvented, and the rules governing what ‘zones’ you can place the boiler in, it’s a wonder we bother at all!

Well, what if there was a boiler that could generate energy, whilst it burns gas? Guess what – now there is!

Electric lightDue to be launched in January 2015, the Flow boiler is the world’s first affordable electricity generating boiler. As revolutionary as it is, it’s built to very similar specifications as your normal boiler, so there won’t be any flashing, pulsating, ground shaking entity in the corner of your kitchen. In fact it’s a neat, wall-mounted design guaranteed to blend in with your kitchen’s decor.

Need to know more? Here are a few of the most common questions people ask:

  • How does it work? – Unlike conventional boilers that heat up the water directly, the Flow heats up a liquid, which evaporates into a chamber, causing a mini dynamo to spin, producing electricity. The vapour then travels through the system into a heat exchanger where it heats the water. The cycle then repeats itself over and over again.
  • How can the Flow boiler save money? – Flow have set out a few packages to suit individual needs. First, there is Flow Finance: the cost of the boiler is paid by the company and you pay back the cost with Feed in Tariff payments from the industry for generating low carbon electricity. These payments are offset against the cost of the boiler over a 5 yr period. Second, there is Flow Freedom: you purchase the boiler, assign the Feed in Tariff payments to the company and they will guarantee reduced energy bills every month for 5 years. Finally, there is a Buy Outright option: buying the boiler outright will enable you to use the electricity the boiler generates in your home, thus reducing your bills.
  • How reliable is the Flow boiler? – As the system is still yet to be launched, there is no data giving exact statistics. However, the £10 million, 10 year research and development that went into creating the patented Flow boiler has undergone rigorous testing. For complete peace of mind both parts of the boiler come with warranties, with an extended warranty on offer once the product goes on the market.

So, with the onus on all of us to reduce our energy bills, without compromising our lifestyles, this could well be an answer. Roll on January 2015, and we can see for ourselves.

Note: with all of these packages, the importance of professional installation cannot be stressed highly enough. Boilers are an investment and like any investment, should be treated with the utmost care and attention.

As Flow Energy claim – “It’s so clever it pays for itself.”

[Photos by philip evans and Elyce Feliz]