How we heat our homes in the next decade plays a pivotal role in the UK government’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
The adoption of heat pumps by homeowners and landlords is being hailed as part of the answer.
In fact, Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to install 600,000 heat pumps annually by 2028 and under current government plans, gas and oil boilers will be banned from new build homes from 2025.¹
These are ambitious targets when, currently, less than 1% of UK homes use the technology and most haven’t even heard of it.²
What is a heat pump?
Heat pumps are a renewable energy technology that converts energy in the ground (Ground Source Heat Pumps) or air (Air Source Heat Pumps) into heat.
They use less fossil fuel than most other systems, so deliver a more sustainable, low carbon source of heating and hot water all year round.
How does a heat pump work?
A heat pump takes the available heat from the ground or air surrounding a property and increases it to a more useful temperature for use in the home. The renewable source of heat can be used to create warm air and hot water.
A heat pump doesn’t burn fuel, it simply moves heat from one place to another.
Pros and cons of having a heat pump in your home
High efficiency ratings
Provide both space and water heating and space cooling
They can substantially lower your energy bills
They can also significantly lower your carbon footprint
They can improve your property’s air quality
If your old heating system was inefficient, you are more likely to see lower running costs with a new heat pump
If you heat with electricity, a heat pump can trim the amount of electricity you use for heating by as much as 30% to 40%
When a heat pump is correctly installed it should require very little maintenance and be expected to last for at least 20-30 years
Most heat pumps come with a 5-10 year warranty on parts and labour as standard
You’ll need enough space for the external condenser unit (comparable to an air conditioning unit)
May require planning permission
They can be noisy
Greater up-front cost
Requires a supplementary source of power, usually electricity, so there will still be some resulting CO2 emissions
How much does a heat pump cost?
Heat pumps aren’t cheap. Installing a typical system costs around £9,000 – £11,000. However the great news is that most households will be eligible for Government contribution of up to £5,000.
The UK Government’s Green Homes Grant scheme is available to homeowners and landlords to help fund up to two-thirds of the cost of energy saving home improvements. That includes both air source and ground source heat pumps.
Is a heat pump suitable for my home?
Some homes may require planning permission, and you should also consider where you’ll put the pump and potential disruption during installation. See further guidance from the Energy Saving Trust here.