I just hate being regulated, whether being told I'm not allowed by law to maintain my own motorcycle, or fit a new spur socket, or buy an outboard with a lightweight, powerful 2-stroke engine. Being forbidden to fit my own gas boiler is just on the cusp of acceptability - thinking of the incompetent next door who shouldn't be let within 10 feet of a power drill and who comes knocking for help each time he accidentally destroys some small part of his home. Last time he smashed his clay foul drain while digging a tree pit. No, I wouldn't let him near a candle, let alone a gas supply. But now the bloody gas people have gone too far.
It's coming to that time to renew my boiler. It's over 18 years old, which is about 90 in boiler-years. I found a replacement model from the same manufacturer and phoned my tame service engineer to quote for fitting. "What's your supply from the meter?" "Uhm, half-inch. Twelve mil. No problem - I checked the boiler spec and it's got a 12mm gas inlet." I replied. "Can't do it, Radders. New law says the feed has to be three-quarters from the meter" "But the inlet's only 12!" "Yeah, we have to fit a reducer".
The full tyranny of gas regulations is even worse. You can't run a gas pipe in a void any more, and the gas co will insist on replacing the old under-stair cupboard meter with a huge ugly grey box bolted onto the distinguished Edwardian facade of your home. With a big yellow plastic pipe that will mean digging up your exquisite encaustic-tiled path. No way. Particularly as I won't see any change from two grand for the boiler and all the hideous gas works. And gas is about to soar in price as the muppets in government load on the green taxes. Is there no way round this? Yes, I think there is. This:
It burns wood pellets or pelleted smokeless anthracite and is certified to all Euro standards. It can go in an enclosure outside the back door. I can install it myself (though it needs a building regs nod-through for the flue) and maintain it myself. Fuel is currently about the same price per KWh as gas. The cost of the above is about £1.2k or less (bought in Poland), plus say £300 for plumbing bits. But the best bit is that it will almost certainly qualify for a £950 sustainable heating grant from the Department of Energy from this October, presumably paid for by the increased green levy on gas.