Building a wood and log store around our air source heat pump

by Mars
wood store

I am going to preempt this post by saying that we have never built anything from scratch, so when the air source heat pump was installed, it was an outlandish thought that we should build a log store around it.

A log store was never on the cards as an immediate project. Due to its size, the heat pump would be visible as you came up the driveway, so we decided to build a tidy fence around it and hide it from view. Never having constructed anything from wood, I was comfortable enough with my burgeoning DIY skills that we could cement some pillars into the ground and make a fence. And that’s precisely where we started.

I headed down to the local hardware store and timber yard and purchased six heavy pillars, some cross beams and enough 20cm wide treated planks to build a 6m fence. Within a few days the wood was delivered and we got to work digging holes to drop and cement the pillars into the ground.

With the first four pillars in the ground (after giving the cement two days to set), we starting attaching the horizontal pieces of wood that we would screw our fence onto. I know a lot of people use nail guns for their speed, but we used high-quality galvanised screws to construct our entire fence.

With the basic frame in place, we cut our boards to length and started building our fence.

Within a couple of days, our fence was starting to actually look like a fence. Amazing.

I’m not going to lie, this was hard work, but it was really satisfying to see something like this taking shape. Also, donning my DIY gear, I even felt like a fence builder.

We then finished the remaining side, and were very pleased with ourselves when Kirsten thought the fence could lend itself very nicely to being transformed into a log store. We went online, and were astounded to see some of the prices. In order to get log stores running down both sides of our fence (about six metres in total), we would be paying in excess of £1,500 and we’d still have to assemble them ourselves.

There was no way we were going to spend that kind of money, so I was back at the hardware store and £200 later, we had enough wood to transform our humble fence into a purpose built log store.

After a lot of head scratching, drawings and calculations (and using a mitre saw for the first time), we put up our supports for the roof.

With the roof supports in place, more support beams were cemented into the ground (we weren’t taking any chances) and front panel boards were mounted. We tried to google how to build a log store with a 90-degree bend, and couldn’t find any information so we just used our own rational though and basic DIY skills to keep forging ahead. The roof joint was by far the biggest headache.

We borrowed a mitre saw from our neighbour and it was extremely helpful and really accelerated the building process. Best part, we still have all 10 fingers.

To show our growing confidence, we even decided to add some shelves for our log store so that we could have separate areas for large pieces of wood, medium ones and kindling.

Day by day, we were making good progress, and day by day our log store was looking more and more impressive. It wasn’t without its faults, but with no assistance and experience of this kind, we were proud of what was taking shape.

With the bulk of the log store complete, we got some crates from our hardware store that we would use to store the wood on so that it didn’t have to lie on the ground and potentially rot from the bottom.

With the log store built, and crates in place, it was time to stain the wood so that it matched the surrounding wood cladding around our house.

The entire process, from start to finish took us about three weeks. We didn’t work on it every day, because we were often waiting for wood deliveries or there were other tasks to work on, but we are extremely proud of the way it turned out. We also know that we used good quality materials, so this log store and fence should be around for a good few years.

While it may not be perfect from the way a trained carpenter or joiner would have done it, we still feel it’s a job very well done.

Spacing around an ASHP

When we built the log store around our ASHP we adhered to the manufacturer’s guidelines about spacing, which we’ve addressed in a reply to Bob below.

As a reference and guideline, we’ve provided a diagram to assist others if they want to build a fence around their pump.

4 comments

Bob 17 August 2020 - 21:56

Building a fence round it is totally bonkers. It needs to take air from the atmosphere to work correctly. What will happen now is it will recycle the air it had already used and will end up being about 50 percent less effective. Maybe worthwhile learning the concept of an ashp rather than how your garden looked. Mind boggling. Did you just fit it to look eco friendly?

Reply
Mars 18 August 2020 - 07:36

Bob, Bob, Bob. I’m going to need you to take a few deep breathes. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Better? Good.

We researched and spoke to the manufacturer about the fence. Any structure, and that includes house walls, around the ASHP needs a minimum spacing of 300mm from the back, 600mm from the sides and 1,000mm from the front.

We have over 1000mm around the back and sides, and the air flow is unrestricted. Most importantly, we have nothing but acres of field in front of the ASHP so the cold air is pushed down the valley and is not confined around the ASHP.

I hope that we have been impart some information that will allow others to integrate an ASHP into their garden space.

So we’re eco-friendly and look good doing it.

I’ve also included a new picture at the end of this post with a diagram as guidance for others.

Reply
Rebecca 29 August 2020 - 09:28

Hi, great work. I initially thought the same as Bob, maybe include a final photo showing that the front is open and that the surround is actually three sided not a box? Good to see you learning new skills and sharing tools with a neighbour. These are very satisfying processes and so few people bother these days. Can I ask about the heat pump, is it working well for you? Thanks, Beck

Reply
Mars 3 September 2020 - 07:10

Thanks for the comments and feedback. Yes, we’ve been very pleased with the ASHP and summarized our first year of usage in this post: https://myhomefarm.co.uk/verdict-on-air-source-heat-pumps-in-the-uk

Reply

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