Our View – Heat Pumps
Heat pumps are the most efficient way to heat an off-gas grid property. They utilise some really clever physics to convert electricity to heat at very high efficiency (anywhere from 250 to 450%). There are 2 main types of heat pump – air source and ground source, with very different benefits and costs. The bottom line is that heat pumps can really work for some homes, whilst for others they will be an expensive waste of time, so make sure you read up and make the right decision!
What type of heat pump?
Air source heat pumps are more compact and suitable for smaller urban properties, but a ground source heat pump is more efficient and will pay you more via the RHI. You can read more about the differences in this article.
Insulation a key factor
Insulation is absolutely key for a heat pump. If your property is poorly insulated, the heat pump will not be able to sufficiently heat the property. Make sure you get you loft and cavity walls insulated to the latest building regulations, or if you have an older solid wall property that you have installed solid wall insulation. More information on insulation for heat pumps can be found here.
What is the cost of a heat pump?
An average air source heat pump will set you back anywhere from £5,000 to £10,000, whilst a ground source system will be closer to £25,000. If you need to add in a wet central heating system as well, you will need to tack another £5,000 on to the price, dependant on the size of the house of course. You can read more on costing a heat pump here.
What funding is available for heat pumps?
Unfortunately you can’t use the Green Deal to get some help towards the initial cost, the reason being that the initial outlay should be recovered through the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) subsidy. The RHI will pay you a regular income for the system over 7 years, in some cases paying back around half of the initial costs, which means that if you can afford it up front, a heat pump can really pay back for you.
Expected returns on your installation
This will depend on what you were using before hand, but combined with the RHI the payback should be within 7 years of the initial investment.
What is the best setup?
Your heat pump should be installed in the property along with excellent insulation and ensuring there are no draughts or cold spots. You should also consider underfloor heating for your ground floor as an option instead of radiators, because underfloor heating works at a lower temperature – ideal for heat pump efficiency.