HOMEOWNERS faced with a bill for thousands of pounds after a green heating technology system broke down have been offered a replacement free of charge after the Oxford Mail stepped in.
Alison and Daniel Lindenbaum’s home in Old Post Mews, Horton-Cum-Studley, was fitted with a state-of-the-art ground source heat pump, a technology designed to use latent heat stored in the ground to provide cheaper heating.
But they claim the system has never worked properly and has now failed completely, causing their garden to subside, soaring electrical heating bills from a back-up system and a bill for up to £10,000 to install a new pump.
Mr Lindenbaum said: “We bought the house new in 2008 and never found the heating system easy to control.
“We weren’t saving any money with it but we thought we just weren’t programming it properly.
“But when we investigated, we found it had not been installed correctly.”
Ground source heat pumps are installed using either a bore hole or series of pipework loops buried below ground which was the method chosen for Old Post Mews.
The Lindenbaums claim not enough loops were installed to maintain their pump properly. As a result, the pump malfunctioned causing fluid to leak into the garden area and subsidence to occur. Using a back-up immersion heater has meant heating bills for the family of five have doubled to £300 a month.
Neighbouring properties in their development also had similar problems.
Ice Energy, Eynsham – which supplied the system – blames the builder, MD Construction Special Projects, which went into liquidation last year.
But the developer insists it was installed to Ice Energy’s specification.
Former MD director Ollie McGovern, now managing director of Oxford-based Keble Homes, said: “The heat pumps were signed off by Ice Energy.
“They designed and commissioned them and we installed them using their designs.”
Ryhan Clarke, after sales manager at Ice Energy, said: “The system would have been commissioned by us but by the time we came to do it, the pipework has been laid so there is no way of telling it has been installed as it should be.”
After being contacted by the Oxford Mail, Ice Energy has now offered to install the Lindenbaum’s home and two neighbouring properties with air source heat pumps — which absorb heat from the outside air— free of charge.
Managing director Andrew Sheldon said: “We have done this to get a resolution for the people so they are not in any further distress over this.”
Mr Lindenbaum added: “I am very grateful to the Oxford Mail — this has been dragging on for more than a year.”