Is Cost Still the Major Barrier for Heat Pumps in the UK?

According to a recent poll, those in the heating industry see a pretty bright future for heat pumps in the UK. These installations have been more popular in other parts of Europe than here and are seen as a sustainable and cheaper way of heating a home in the long term. The initial cost of installation, however, is still one of the things that puts people off, says the poll by Daiken UK.

According to

“When asked what was the biggest barrier to selling heat pumps, 53% of installers identified the cost compared with a boiler or other renewables, while 22% said that clients’ lack of understanding of the environmental or cost benefits remained a barrier to purchase.”

With potential increases to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) over the next few years, installers of heat pumps may well be able to get a pretty good return on investment. That start-up cost, particularly compared to installing something like a new gas boiler, is still going to be a sticking point. But the return on investment in many cases will far outweigh the initial cost.

The Cost of Installing an Air Source Heat Pump

Air source heat pumps are the cheapest to install mainly because they operate above ground and can be attached to an outside wall. The initial cost of the equipment and installation is between £7,000 and £11,000 and how much return you get on your investment depends in part on what system you are replacing and how much you get out of the RHI. If you are replacing an old electric storage heating system you could expect to have savings of up to £1,000 a year and the RHI could provide you with additional payments of between £900 and £1,300. You do have to take into account the extra work you may have to do on your home to make sure that it is well insulated but a good ROI can realistically be achieved over about 6 years.

The Cost of Installing a Ground Source Heat Pump

Because they involve a network of pipes around your property, ground source heat pumps cost a bit more to install. There’s the work required to dig up the garden and there are the changes you need to make to your home insulation that put the costs at around £11-15,000. While it is difficult to make blanket assessments of the benefits, ground source heat pumps are more efficient than air source. If you are replacing old electric heating you should expect to save between £830 and £1,400 depending on the system and size of your home. The RHI is currently quite generous for ground source heat pumps and you could get an additional £2,610 to just under £4,000 a year. Again that means you could see a ROI in about 6 years.

The initial cost of heat pumps at first sight seems high and could well put people off but installation can also deliver a decent return on investment with savings on utility bills and access to the RHI. If you have a home that is suitable for installing a heat pump, meeting the initial costs can bring long term benefits. Heat pumps are also easy maintenance and can last a good number of years while reducing your heating bills and your home’s impact on the environment.


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