6 Things to Consider About Heat Pumps
There’s a lot of talk around heat pumps being the next big thing in home heating as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions when heating Britain’s homes. The Government want 600,000 new heat pumps to be installed each year by 2028 and have banned the installation of gas boilers in new build homes by 2025.
But, what is a heat pump.
There are two types of heat pump; air source and ground source. Quite simply an air source heat pump uses compressed air to take heat from the air and a ground source heat pump runs a long pipe through the ground to draw heat from the ground.
So far so simple, but are heat pumps right for everyone?
Here are six things you should consider:
1. Heat pumps aren’t cheap
An air source heat pump is the cheaper of the two options, but still comes with an average cost of between £7,000 and £14,000 to purchase an install. A ground source heat pump is a little more complicated to install as you need to complete the ground works for the underground pipe and so a ground source heat pump is more expensive, costing between £15,000 and £35,000 to purchase and install.
That’s a lot more than the £1,000 to £3,000 that a traditional gas boiler might cost to install and more than the £5000 for an average Sunflow system.
There are plans to offer a grant of up to £5000 to households to help buy a heat pump, but the funding and availability are limited and so the purchase and installation costs will still be very high.
2. Where you live
Live in an apartment building? The chances are neither type of heat pump will be suitable for you. A ground source heat pump needs underground pipes, and although an air source pump requires less space, they usually need to be sitting on the ground to work. Some models can be wall mounted, but still need to be accessible for setting to be adjusted, sounds unlikely if you live on the 9th floor!
If you live in a house, the chances are you will have space for some kind of heat pump, but if you have limited outdoor space, it isn’t ideal to have a big metal box in one corner of the garden.
Then there is the space you need inside your home. You need a large hot water cylinder and most ground source heat pumps will need a plant room inside to house all the bits of equipment you need.
3. Your bills
Given the push for heat pumps and their green credentials, you might expect to save a lot of money on your energy bills. If you have a very old and inefficient boiler, then you can make some pretty good savings on your bills. But, if your boiler is more modern and has a high efficiency rating, the chances are it will cost more or less the same to run as a heat pump.
Then there is the servicing and maintenance costs. Unlike Sunflow radiators, both gas systems and heat pumps need annual servicing which doesn’t come cheap.
4. They can be slow
Heat pumps run at a lower temperature than most home heating systems, only reaching around 65ºC. This means they usually take longer to get your home up to temperature, so you have to plan ahead a bit more if you don’t want to be left feeling cold when the temperature changes.
If the temperature drops suddenly, you might be waiting a while for your home to start feeling warm again as the heat pump slowly gets going.
5. Home insulation
As a heat pump works with low temperatures, for it to be efficient and make your house feel warm your house needs to be really well insulated.
If you live in one of the roughly 25 million homes in Britain that need better insulation, you need to think about this extra upfront cost too.
For a three-bed semi-detached house you might expect to pay around:
- £350 for loft insulation
- £500 for cavity wall insulation
- Between £5,000 and £7,000 for internal insulation and plastering
- Between £8,000 and £15,000 for external insulation and rendering
It can add quite a lot of money to your installation costs, although insulation will eventually pay for itself as your energy use goes down.
6. Heat pumps are still in their infancy
In an interview, Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng stated that “heat pumps are still in their infancy”.
As with any new technology, heat pumps will get better and cheaper over time as the technology advances. This means that households buying a heat pump now, might be buying them too early and may miss out on cheaper more efficient models in the future.
A heat pump system might reduce your carbon emissions, but it will be expensive to install and they won’t be suitable for many properties. So what’s the alternative?
Sunflow radiators work with mains electricity or solar PV and can be plugged into any normal power socket. Our heaters can be installed anywhere which is why we’ve installed over 20,000 of them in homes all over the UK.
To find out more about how a Sunflow system might be suitable for your home, get in touch with the team by booking a survey.