Moving parts: when tech gets expensive

Replacing dirty furnace filter in home

We look at the maintenance requirements of all of your moving parts, if you plan to invest in tech for your new build or renovation project.

In this article we cover:

  • Eco house maintenance: what can go wrong with tech and what parts need to be replaced
  • Maintenance on boilers and heat pumps
  • Maintenance on wastewater treatment systems
  • Maintenance on solar panels
  • Filter changes

There’s no point buying every bit of tech around if you’re not in a position to maintain and replace the component parts when they fail.

Panels, pumps of all kinds, mechanised parts. They all require components to be replaced over their lifetime, at a cost. These pieces of kit are a long term investment. Like a car, when a component fails each one of the moving parts can be costly to replace. And then there’s labour on top.

moving parts tech

Know that most of these systems come with a yearly maintenance schedule. Do budget for these (cost from £100/€100+ a pop). A well maintained system will last longer and will perform at its best.

When you’re shopping around for suppliers, check how much the maintenance visits will cost you. And get acquainted with how much it will cost you to replace valves, pumps, compressors, and electrical components.

This may sound obvious but for optimal performance, also make sure that the system you buy is one you understand and one you can operate easily.

Wastewater. Onsite wastewater treatment systems pollute waterways for lack of upkeep. Desludging charts are available from government departments so you can plan for when to get your septic tank emptied. With a new build, your installer will automatically offer a maintenance contract as part of your quotation for the installation. Consider systems that rely on gravity; pumps and other mechanical equipment will eventually need replacing.

Boilers and heat pumps. Servicing your boiler or heat pump will ensure those systems are working efficiently, safely and environmentally. Heat pumps have a refrigerant in them, which would be harmful to the environment if they were to leak, not to mention reduce performance. Compressors are expensive to replace so ensuring the system isn’t working too hard will keep it lasting for longer. Meanwhile boilers that aren’t serviced can lead to the build up of carbon monoxide (CO), which prevents blood from absorbing oxygen. CO can be emitted by the burning of other fossil fuels including wood and coal.

moving parts tech

Filters. Cleaning out filters for everything from ventilation to central vacuum systems will mean minimal energy consumption, and less pressure on the motor meaning less chance of parts to break down.

Solar. For photovoltaics (PV), your invertor is a key piece of kit, for solar thermal panels tubes can break and so can pumps and valves. When shopping around check what happens if one of the panels in the array fails; will the system shut down or will the panel be bypassed until it’s fixed.

Day to day products

Maintaining a home has a lot to do with choosing products, from furnishings to cleaners. The EU’s Eco Label is a quality assurance mark for sustainable products.

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Written by Astrid Madsen

Astrid Madsen is the editor of the SelfBuild magazine. Email

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