Installer Directory
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Written-by

Janet Richardson

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Updated on

Nov 06, 2023

Read Time : 3 Minutes

Are Heat Pumps Worth the Investment

Is a heat pump worth buying?

The decision to install an air source heat pump or a geothermal ground source heat pump system depends on the large range of factors already highlighted in the 'Further Reading' articles on the right. The relatively high initial cost of installing heat pumps may mean that if you are looking for a cheap way of becoming more energy efficient and saving on energy bills, other ways such as loft or cavity wall insulation may be more appropriate.

When considering whether or not to install a heat pump you should be aware that, if you currently use mains gas to heat your home and water, a heat pump system may not provide you with a substantial financial saving in the short term. However, if you currently use oil, electricity, liquid gas or solid fuels to heat your home, an air or ground source heat pump may be a good way of reducing your carbon footprint and saving money on energy bills, especially with the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS), a Government grant that can offer you £7500 towards your upfront costs.

When you are planning to switch from a conventional boiler to a heat pump there are 5 important questions to ask:

  1. Is heat pump technology suitable for your property?
  2. Do you have the right sized heat pump for your property?
  3. Will all your heating and hot water requirements be taken care of with a heat pump?
  4. Will a heat pump save you money?
  5. Are you confident that you have a highly competent installer to install your heat pump per the manufacturer’s recommendations?
     

All types of heat pumps generally perform better with under floor heating systems or warm air heating than with radiator-based systems. This is due to the lower water temperatures required by these heat delivery methods. Delivering to radiators has, on average, 86% of the efficiency of delivering to under floor heating so it may be worth considering investing in a new floor at the same time. This said, if you have radiators they may well be usable. You will need a qualified heating engineer to visit your property and carry out a heat/loss survey. If your radiators are mostly doubles or oversized and on 15mm pipework, not microbore, they may well be up to the task. 

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The financial decicion.

There are many benefits to having a heat pump system installed, but when deciding whether to invest in a heat pump, you will probably first ask yourself whether the unit will be a sound financial investment. The average cost including installation at 2021 prices is:

Type of heat pump

Cost
Ground source heat pump £18,000 - £35,000
Air source heat pump £8,000 - £14,000

As you can see, compared to a standard condensing boiler, these prices can often be perceived as a little on the daunting side. The best thing to do is to try to work out a payback period. To do this, ask your installer how much the proposed system is likely to save you on your energy bills and make sure you are getting a system that is sufficient for you and your property’s needs.

Work out how much this will save you annually then how many years of this saving it would take to cover the initial investment. Bear in mind that the price you pay for your energy is likely to increase dramatically so you could be protecting yourself from future price appreciation. Factor in any possible grants and the current Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS). Also ask yourself whether you will still own the property for longer than the unit’s pay-back period.

Maintenance costs are very low so you shouldn’t have to factor much in for this. A heat pump system is said to last for 20-30 years or longer so you should be able to save a vast amount of money (and carbon emissions) in the long run. As stated before, a heat pump system will most likely have a much shorter pay-back period if it is replacing an electrical, oil or coal-fired heating system.

After considering all of these factors, you should be able to work out your proposed system’s financial worth.  Although we have covered the environmental aspect of heat pump systems in previous sections, it’s always a good idea to speak to your installer as he/she will probably be able to give you a more unique perspective.

Potential issues to be aware of regarding the purchase of a heat pump.

Always make sure that your property is suitable and will definitely benefit from a heat pump system before investing. Check with more than one installer for information and a quote. It is particularly important that your installer calculates the right size of the system needed for your property. If there is ever any problem with the efficiency of a heat pump system, its usually due to errors being made in the sizing of the system.

Heat pumps should be around 3-4 times more efficient than boilers, because they give out a lot more heat than the electricity they use to run.  When assessing the heat demand of a property the assessor must look at previous bills over the course of at least one year to account for heating requirement variations. They should also be using ISO 52016-1:2017: ‘Energy performance of buildings – Energy needs for heating and cooling’. This calculation method helps in the assessment of space heating requirements for buildings in the UK.

Basically, in order to give a positive response to the question ‘Is a heat pump worth it?’ you must make sure that your installer has correctly assessed your heating requirements and that your proposed system’s collector, pump, and emitters are proportionate to your heating demands.

If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our team using the Contact us form or use the installer search facility below:

 

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