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How best to organise for gas shortages

  • 28-07-2022 9:23am
    Registered Users Posts: 28

    Ive looked in the threads but not seen anything specific on this so thought Id ask and see if anyone has any ideas.

    If, worst case scenario with Russia, there's big limits on gas supply ahead, what are options for keeping the lights and heat on?

    For example, we have solar PV (3.8kw array), a small battery, and gas heating.

    We could run the immersion for heating but that's much more expensive even at current rates. An eddi might be an option but hard to see how the upfront cost would pay for itself even at increased rates. We could run the immersion at night but its on a dumb switch so has to be done manually. Maybe a Climote smart immersion if it could be configured to work like an eddi?

    Just seems like there should be a smart way inm a gas crisis to use the solar PV to help i that Im not really seeing.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,261 ✭✭✭Gant21

    There will be no issue with gas supply. No need to panic.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,230 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    Unfortunately geography is your enemy here, our nothern latitudes mean there's a big drop in PV output during winter, which is right when you need more energy

    I guess it's worth saying that we still get 30% of our gas from the Corrib field, so it's not like there will be no gas available.

    However the likely effect will be a sharp increase in gas & electricity prices, making today's prices look cheap

    There will probably be some govenment intervention, but a lot of the current thinking is around restricting industrial output. There might also be another work from home order to cut down on office heating, although from what I've seen offices seem to be heated anyway even when empty 🙄

    In terms of what you can do, well first thing I'd look at is efficiency. Are you willing to wear a sweater around the house and cut down on heating? Can you heat a few rooms rather than the whole house? Can you convince the rest of your family to have shorter showers (I have so far failed to convince my wife that she doesn't need to wash her hair for 15 mins)?

    If you have a day/night meter (or can get one) then you could use cheaper night rates to top off the battery in winter when you don't have enough solar. You can also set your dishwasher and washing machine to switch on at night to lower the cost there

    It's also worth looking at how you cook meals, perhaps invest in a slow cooker or batch cook meals in the oven to save energy? You can also do the cooking overnight to avail of night rates but I'm personally worried about fire hazards. Also waking up to the smell of stew is not always the best wakup call

    For bigger investments, there's the usual suspects like improving insulation and airtightness to lower your energy usage. You could get some electric heaters or a heat pump to lower your gas usage. Some heat pumps can also be used alongside gas boilers, so you aren't tied to a single fuel source

    I feel like at this stage an Eddi mightn't be much use since you'll probably be using all your solar PV to charge your battery and meet the house demands

    If possible, you could look at more panels or a bigger battery to maximise your generation capacity?

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost (Escapist magazine)

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,880 Mod ✭✭✭✭shesty

    We do not take gas from Russia.

    What you want to watch is what the UK are saying. Because we are essentially hanging off the end of their system.

    If gas is rationed here, the UK will have a much bigger problem. The question is what are the arrangements in place between us and them to prioritise gas flowing to us, over their population.

    This is the Security of Supply policy for gas up to 2022, for the UK and Ireland - I can't see a link to the site, but it links direct to the pdf.

    I suspect it has been revised somewhat in recent months, but the basic theory will remain the same - to keep the gas flowing, basically. Not least because our electricity infrastructure also relies heavily on gas.

    I did see an article in passing this week about plans to up the grants for solar panels and the like, but we shall see. The cost is where it will hit us hardest I suspect.

  • Registered Users Posts: 63,640 ✭✭✭✭unkel

    Up to about a year or two ago I was very sceptical about immersion diverters. Most people installing them had small PV setups (up to about 4kwp) and gas was cheap at about 4c / kWh incl. VAT. So the savings of immersion diverter were less than the cost of having the diverter installed. So it was cheaper to not have a diverter and just send the excess production to the grid for free

    Things have changed though with the current energy crisis (that won't go away, not for many years to come) that sent energy prices up by 100-200% and people (myself included) now installing much larger PV arrays than previously imagined. And installing immersion and electric car diverters

    Great post by @the_amazing_raisin above. First do the low hanging fruit like insulation and using less where you can. Then install as much PV as your home allows - particularly if you can do it DIY and get the parts at good prices. The payback time will be quick. It looks like that will be the case even without any battery, immersion or EV diversion. Because of very generous FIT (feed in tariff that you get paid for producing more than you use and sending it back to the grid) being implemented

    There is very little chance that the government will actually throttle the gas supply to your home (as quite likely will be the case in the likes of Germany, totally depending on Russian gas and oil), but that won't stop the gas and electricity prices going further up - possible by another 100-200% (peak rates) in the next year or two

  • Registered Users Posts: 28 sandy2000

    All very helpful! We have the insulation and all that done so we're not in a bad place but these are still great tips. Are there any other immersion diverters out there to consider other than the eddi?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,231 ✭✭✭DC999

    Some good stuff here and something on a lot of peoples minds. Unfortunately we each can only control / find ways to reduce parts - amount of gas, oil and electricity we use per house. Which deffo helps a lot of course.

    But none of us can control the inflation on everything we buy. Due to the increased cost to 'make' (including food) and ship everything using that energy.

    Not being fatalistic here. Those with solar (or even a battery on it's own without solar now likely being a runner) are able to manage the 1st parts (direct energy bills). Which is great and will help a lot. And we can buy less too of course where we can.

    It's deffo a worry for sure. But we can each do a fair bit ourselves. Good thread - thanks for raising and is gonna run for some time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16 DeirdreMalone

    It was all very helpful! 

  • Registered Users Posts: 63,640 ✭✭✭✭unkel

    There are others and they cost roughly the same. The eddi has lots of benefits though, mainly that it is part of the myenergi family of products (and just clamps) that can talk to each other very easily. And their prices aren't outrageous. Lots of smarts going on to future proof your setup and be able to control it with home automation too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,230 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    Yeah I think all the diverters come in roughly the same price. Somehow the free market failed and competing products didn't result in lower prices 😏

    If you're handy with electronics and programming you can make your own with some relays and something like a Raspberry pi

    I suppose another trick you could do with the Eddi would be to use the relay board to trigger some electric heaters. I think heating water has some limited use of you're showering in the morning, water might lose a lot of its heat by then

    If you can trigger some space heaters then that seems more useful for winter, or shower in the evening instead, whichever suits you better

    Another trick you can do is use a couple of crypto miners as diverters, so you can make some of that sweet virtual money with your hard won solar power.

    You can even use the miners to heat your home since they generate heat. I know of one or two boardsies who are doing that already

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost (Escapist magazine)

  • Registered Users Posts: 168 ✭✭curioustony

    The most promising reason to divert excess I've seen is to turn calcium hydroxide into calcium oxide. In winter you can reverse the process (just add water :-) ) releasing heat. Sadly it's a long way off. Just research papers so far.

    Still that was also the case for R290 heat pumps, and they are here now.

    🌞4.55 kWp, azimuth 136°, slope 24°, 5kW, 🛢️10.9kWh, Roscommon

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  • Registered Users Posts: 63,640 ✭✭✭✭unkel

    You've just given me an idea @the_amazing_raisin 😂

    I heated my house entirely with crypto rigs last winter. More expensive than heating with gas, but of course it is profitable at the same time.

    And to address your point about showering in the morning - most modern hot water storage cylinders are very well isolated, so the water would still be hot from it heating up the previous day. Mine is rated for just losing 1C per 24h. You could indeed use the second AC output of a diverter like an eddi to power a storage heater, but it's usually more useful to just get the hot water, which in itself, even if you don't use it, is a slow-release room storage heater in its own right.

  • Registered Users Posts: 870 ✭✭✭bb12

    my house is all electric with oil heating and also a multifuel stove. there are solar panels which just heat the water. lots of hot water in summer, luke warm in winter.

    even though i don't have gas, i'm also wary that there may be rolling blackouts this winter, so i've stocked up on portable gas cookers, camping style, and gas canisters so that i can at least cook a meal. i've also gone old school and besides lots of candles and tea lights, i invested in some oil lanterns and lamp oil as they give a better light than candles. i also have led lanterns but batteries eventually run flat and i think the lamp oil is more cost effective...also bought a kerosene/oil cooker...more out of curiosity when i saw it than anything else...apparently these are used widely in asia and africa for's basically like an oil lantern than you can cook off...i tested it and it's a nifty little far heating i guess i can fall back on the stove which also heats the rads but i don't know how that works if no electricity with the water pump...i've an open vented water system so i think if the power is out and the stove is on, the pressure makes it way to the overflow tank.

    maybe if you're in an all gas house it's worth investing in a superser and have a spare cylinder on hand for any shortages of outages or some plug in electric rads...either way everyone is gonna get burnt with the high costs this winter

  • Registered Users Posts: 76 ✭✭TerraSolis

    If you have a condensing boiler for the heating, drop the flow temperature (or tune the weather compensation if you have it.) Most condesning boilers are set up with flow temperatures much too high for them to fully condense, so you can gain about 10/15% efficiency just by lowering it. Rads won't run as hot but you can still get the building just as warm in most cases.

  • Registered Users Posts: 28 sandy2000

    Thanks Terrasolis, we do have one so that's a great tip.

    If anyone has any recommendations on eddi installers, do feel free to PM!

  • Registered Users Posts: 63,640 ✭✭✭✭unkel

    Any electrician can install an eddi, it's very simple. A lot of people do it DIY.

    Problem is that for love nor money could you buy an eddi now. There are production problems with the manufacturer in the UK, myenergi. And all wholesalers have run out of old stock at this stage.

  • Registered Users Posts: 478 ✭✭Shauna677

  • Registered Users Posts: 63,640 ✭✭✭✭unkel

    It's an immersion diverter. So if your solar PV produces more than you are using, the excess can be sent via the immersion diverter to heat your hot water cylinder.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,109 ✭✭✭Paul Kiernan

    But if there are good FIT's is it not simpler and cheaper to just let the excess go back to the grid?

  • Registered Users Posts: 63,640 ✭✭✭✭unkel

    Yes indeed. But we don't know yet how good the FIT is and if you are forced onto a smart meter plan with terrible rates. We're all waiting and seeing for now...

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,002 ✭✭✭Ubbquittious

    Definitely have a few yellow dhrums of gas for the winter, plenty wood/turf if you have a means of burning it. Now is the time to stock up when it's nice and sunny and nobody is thinking about cold weather. If you don't have a hybrid inverter it would be handy to have a small charge controller and couple of car batteries and inverter so at least you won't be completely without power if there are prolonged blackouts

  • Registered Users Posts: 485 ✭✭guyfo

    I see a few comments along the lines of it'll be grand, we don't fet our gas from Russia.

    This is true, we don't get our gas from Russia, but everyone in Europe that does is now looking straight at our suppliers.

    If your on a gas line, nothing you can do to ensure supply. A stove or solid fuel fireplace would be the best, if not only way to ensure heat that isn't reliant in some way on imported fossil fuels. Pity "progress" made most of us reliant on importing the energy to heat our homes....

  • Moderators Posts: 12,326 ✭✭✭✭Black_Knight

    Solar with a battery to run alternate heat sources (portable heaters) during cooler times is an option.

  • Registered Users Posts: 485 ✭✭guyfo

  • Registered Users Posts: 63,640 ✭✭✭✭unkel

    No, not really. Even with a very large 10kW array, you will be making just about 1kWh on the most miserable of days in winter (when you need heat the most). You can of course with a large battery charge up at night rate and use that for heating during the day. Cost wise that's similar to using gas or oil, but obviously much cleaner and greener as most of it will have come from wind energy

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,230 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    CAN other buyers get gas from Ireland? I mean there's no physical pipeline they could use and no LNG terminal to load onto tankers

    Of course I imagine gas prices will still go up because they're somehow all magically linked

    The government and CRU could respond by introducing a price cap on the Corrib field, or even (gasp) consider nationalising the company. As if that would ever happen

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost (Escapist magazine)

  • Registered Users Posts: 485 ✭✭guyfo

    But that's the issue, right now there isn't the extra capacity in our grid to compensate for everyone going electric because of the price of oil and gas.

    Germany have been able recommission their ligmite power plants, we have turf powered plants sitting there that can't now be used because the government sold off the infrastructure and the renewable sector isn't producing anywhere near enough to fill in the gaps.

    If ye can, get a stove installed, oil and gas prices and shortages won't just affect heating bills, the backup option of sticking on the electric heater is just as dependent on them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,231 ✭✭✭DC999

    I'm hoping to be able to use an electric rad for the likes of late Sept, Oct... and same in March for our solar. Won't replace the gas heating but more to reduce the usage needed when it's not really cold. If I get a small rad that runs on something like 600watts it should be OK. Tried one oil rad I have yesterday and uses 1kw on lowest setting or 2kw on high. So that's no good to me.

    But I'll deffo be watching it's not chewing power from the grid or costs more probably. I know others here have slick auotmation that checks if there is X spare watts and then turns on the smart plug for the rad. But that's not something I have any experience of yet. Might try to get it going as we head to autumn

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,230 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    Time is also a factor, the crunch time for the grid tends to be in the evening when everyone is cooking dinner and heating the house, whereas at night there's the opposite problem, too much available wind power and not enough consumption

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost (Escapist magazine)

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  • Registered Users Posts: 689 ✭✭✭fuse

    I was thinking the same. Looking at getting this so I can set it at 600w/900w/1.5kW to heat up the office. Main thing I need to verify is that it will start running when a smart plug is activated and doesn't need manual switching on.

    Got Home Assistant up and running so should be able to configure some kind of logic to turn it on in the mornings when there's available power.