What about heat pumps? As the government makes plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, we are hearing more and more about alternative ways we will have to heat our homes. You will probably have read that no new gas boilers will be sold after 2035. To ease the transition to new technologies, the government will offer £5,000 to people in England and Wales from April 2022 to replace their gas boilers with heat pumps. This initiative is part of the government’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. Currently, gas heating accounts for 21% of the UK’s carbon emissions.
What do heat pumps cost?
If you’re thinking about replacing your existing gas boiler with a heat pump, you will find that they are quite expensive costing from £6,000 to £18,000, the price will depend on the type and the size of your home. However, there is the government subsidy of £5,000 which will reduce the cost to a figure similar to that of installing a new gas boiler.
How does a heat pump work?
A heat pump is powered by electricity and works by absorbing heat from the air, ground or water around your home. Air source pumps suck in outdoor air and pass it over tubes containing refrigerant fluids to produce heat.
Will it be cheaper to run than a gas boiler?
It’s not clear at the moment and will depend on how gas prices rise in the future.
The government has committed to considering ways to make sure that heat pumps are no more expensive to run than a gas boiler.
Can I install a heat pump at my home?
Your home can be fitted with a heat pump although it’s much easier to fit them in new build homes.
Air Heat Pumps
Most domestic heat pumps will work by extracting heat from the air. The pump is a metal box measuring approximately one metre by one metre and will be fitted on an outside wall of the property or close to it to draw in air.
It must be positioned at least one metre from neighbouring properties so they will not be able to hear it, although it the noise level shouldn’t be much louder than your fridge.
Inside you also have a heat pump unit and a hot water cylinder. The heat pump unit will be about the size of a gas boiler and the size of the cylinder will depend on the size of your property.
Ground Source Heat Pumps
There is another alternative to air heat pumps – ground source heat pumps. However, these need a lot of space outside: either a bore hole as much as 100m deep; or a horizontal system dug into the ground over a large area.
What are the cons?
- Cost of installation is high, and you may need to replace all your radiators and dig into your floors
- Installation can be difficult depending on your property
- There aren’t many engineers trained to fil and service heat pumps at the moment
- It is unclear what will happen with rented properties