During November, the UK government announced plans to ban the installation of gas boilers in New Homes from 2023. At the same time, it set a target of installing 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028.
So how come relatively few of us are even aware of heat pumps, let alone consider them as a viable alternative to a boiler?
Heat Pumps, unlike other forms of renewable energy sources, are actually fairly mature as a technology. They have been used in Europe for over 30 years and as such are reassuringly advanced. In fact, globally in 2019, nearly 20 million households purchased a new heat pump, with some countries citing heat pumps as their most common form of heating in new builds. It is just that the UK have been slow to the party, concentrating on renewable electricity generation, rather than the decarbonising of heat.
So what are heat pumps and what are the benefits for you?
Pumps are electrical devices which transfer natural heat rather than creating it through burning fuel. They suck warmth out of the ground or the air and pump it into your house via underfloor heating and / or radiators. They heat up your house more slowly, but keep it at a consistent, comfortable level.
With appropriate installation, a heat pump will be more economic and give lower carbon emissions than alternatives. Beware of installers with little experience or who do not hold MCS certification.
They can be fairly large, but the units are covered and modern. They also live outside or in an outhouse which frees up the space where a boiler would be situated.
A well-installed heat pump should also not provide you with much, if any noise irritation. A low hum is all that should be detectable.
They do not have a flue and so are very low maintenance.
Will they save you money?
There is no blanket answer to that. It depends very much on your current form of heating, and the suitability of your house for installation. Heat pumps can save you money when replacing oil, coal, LPG or electric heating. Also, installation is mainly cheaper in new builds as retrofitting can be awkward and costly.
However, the government are currently offering financial incentives which mean the technology can be financially attractive to you even if you have mains gas.
Perversely, you are more likely to save money in the long term if you go for a more costly model of heat pump. Although a cheaper initial outlay, they will have bigger associated costs as their efficiency will generally be poorer.
PBT Installations are an MCS and Trustmark certified company. Read more about what we can offer or to discuss your project.