Heat pumps vs Gas boiler ?

Soldato
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7 Apr 2008
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Lorville - Hurston
Hi.

i have been looking at Heat pumps recently and it seems to be way more energy/gas efficient than a traditional Gas boiler.

Has anyone recently installed one to heat up there home?

As some may know i am looking to buy a property and one of the first things i am thinking of "upgrading" is adding a heat pump.

Thought?

What are the pros and cons? Is Heat pups the future for UK house heating?
 
Don
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Spalding, Lincolnshire
You will likely need to upgrade all piping and replace all rads with larger ones, so factor that in as additional cost.

If you have or are thinking of installing solar/wind turbine/storage batteries, then it has the potential to work out cheaper, especially with rising energy costs.
 
Soldato
Joined
24 Feb 2004
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10,240
Location
Hook, Hants
Hi.

i have been looking at Heat pumps recently and it seems to be way more energy/gas efficient than a traditional Gas boiler.

Has anyone recently installed one to heat up there home?

As some may know i am looking to buy a property and one of the first things i am thinking of "upgrading" is adding a heat pump.

Thought?

What are the pros and cons? Is Heat pups the future for UK house heating?

One of the biggest problems with heat pumps is their installation costs. A typical heat pump install can be in excess of £20k, a simple gas boiler swap can be £3-£4k. You'd need a LOT of efficiency savings to offset a £16k cost difference. My typical gas usage is £1000/year at the moment so even if the running costs of the HP were £0, it would take 16 years before the heat pump would be cheaper to install and run.
 
Soldato
OP
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Lorville - Hurston
One of the biggest problems with heat pumps is their installation costs. A typical heat pump install can be in excess of £20k, a simple gas boiler swap can be £3-£4k. You'd need a LOT of efficiency savings to offset a £16k cost difference. My typical gas usage is £1000/year at the moment so even if the running costs of the HP were £0, it would take 16 years before the heat pump would be cheaper to install and run.
wow that is huge cost indeed. I did not know that it would cost that much to upgrade.
 
Soldato
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wow that is huge cost indeed. I did not know that it would cost that much to upgrade.

There were some grants available to help reduce the costs of installing them but they all ended earlier this year and no replacements have come in yet. Although they do benefit from 0% VAT at the moment I think.
 
Soldato
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wow that is huge cost indeed. I did not know that it would cost that much to upgrade.

It's FUD, not typical. Maybe if you are going for a ground sourced heat pump with several deep bore holes. If you are going air sourced heat pump the new £5k government grant can have it well below £5k installed. And unless you have microbore pipe, but decent diameter copper piping then likely you won't need to change it.

Have you done any research at all, or is OCUK the first port of call? :)
 
Associate
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15 Sep 2008
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1,483
I've done the research, even had a visit from Home Energy Scotland to size up my house for a ground source heat pump to replace my oil and biomass boiler combo. Total estimated cost which includes the groundworks (slinky system not boreholes) and the boiler was around £30,000 and that doesn't include any modification to the house such as larger radiators or underfloor heating. Due to a concrete ground floor would cost another £10,000 or more with redecorating.

Sure there was the Renewable Heat Incentive that helped you buy the system but that's now dead and closed to new applicants. It's being replaced with the Clean Heat Grant but it's not as generous or incentivising considering the RHI cost the taxpayer £26bn, failed to meet targets and the new scheme only has a pot of £450m. If you want to make use of the £5k Clean Heat Grant for an air source heat pump get in there quick when applications open as only 90,000 homes will get it.

However make sure your home will suit an air source heat pump, many don't, mine included.

Do a search on this forum, you'll a few threads about air or ground source heat pumps.
 
Caporegime
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Llaneirwg
I kind of dismissed it. Aware that the boiler will need changing soon. (it's as old as the house I believe) but I know this house is too drafty for a heat pump.

It would need so much work doing. So I'll be getting a new gas boiler at some point before the ban (I don't think they are going to be able to force this myself) if there isn't subsidy most won't be able to afford it
 
Soldato
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11,826
I kind of dismissed it. Aware that the boiler will need changing soon. (it's as old as the house I believe) but I know this house is too drafty for a heat pump.

It would need so much work doing. So I'll be getting a new gas boiler at some point before the ban (I don't think they are going to be able to force this myself) if there isn't subsidy most won't be able to afford it
The ban is on new build you'll be able to buy gas boilers for a long time yet.
 
Soldato
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Would say that AC is a better option as a) they are much cheaper to install, you could do a whole house with ducted upstairs for less than £10k and b) allow the option to cool in summer. They are currently at 0% VAT as they are classed as energy efficient heating, and cost approx the same to run as gas boiler. If you have Solar definitely the way to go in my opinion.
 
Soldato
OP
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The ban is on new build you'll be able to buy gas boilers for a long time yet.
Ban on combi boiler gas?

So does new builds al use heat pumps now?

Anyways i saw a property yesterday for the 2nd time and took my engineering friend with me.

Basically to even update its current heating and wiring(owner has lived there for 40 years and ain’t done much regarding these areas) thats around 20k for updating to bog standard combi boiler for the heating part,

Now imagine a heat pump!!


Before i do that i need to insulate the place properly with cavity walls and check that the windows are sealed tightly. And i would need to change teh radiators regardless if its a heat pump system or not as they are very old and need throwing out
 
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Wilds of suffolk
Would say that AC is a better option as a) they are much cheaper to install, you could do a whole house with ducted upstairs for less than £10k and b) allow the option to cool in summer. They are currently at 0% VAT as they are classed as energy efficient heating, and cost approx the same to run as gas boiler. If you have Solar definitely the way to go in my opinion.

I think this, but as ever its highly house dependant

With so many variables in houses and previous systems

eg my old 1890s house had a gas boiler but mega piping, i think most was an inch so probably great if you went to air source heating, also a lot was surface mounted so it would lose heat from that as well as just the rads

My current house has microbore (12mm) for most and small rads since the house is well insulated. So current 60 degree or whatever water heats it very quickly. But lower temp water would probably be an issue.
Seeing as I am detached other than some planning rules in regards placement of heat exchangers I could probably run AC type units all over without much issue. Wouldn't look super attractive as the places I would ideally put them to make it look nice wouldnt be technically allowed (side of house too close to neighbours fence)

I actually stayed in a holiday cottage a few years back that the owners had spent a fortune on as thay had bought the property as a dooer upper. As such they had converted part of a small barn into a temp place for them, which they then turned into a holiday let.
This has a heat pump and it was COLD for anyone used to gas central heating. There was also a log burner which you needed to bring it up to a decent temp (it was Nov we stayed there).
When we spoke to the owner he said he had spent a lot of money on that heating and was very disappointed with it. It was clear that the place needed a lot more insulation.
Which again is very house dependant in what you can do cost effectively.

Smaller houses, particularly terraces are going to be a real problem, (im thinking my 1890s again here) cant place heat exchangers on the front, so only the back. Drains and piping (water,elec,gas) etc mean going down would be rather difficult.
So highly limited on options. Solid walls so hard to insulate well without other issues.
Really not ideal at all.

Maybe we should flatten all the really old housing and build more modern energy efficient ones.
I think energy efficiency of houses is going to become more and more of an issue affecting value over time.
 
Soldato
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Hook, Hants
Ban on combi boiler gas?

So does new builds al use heat pumps now?

Anyways i saw a property yesterday for the 2nd time and took my engineering friend with me.

Basically to even update its current heating and wiring(owner has lived there for 40 years and ain’t done much regarding these areas) thats around 20k for updating to bog standard combi boiler for the heating part,

Now imagine a heat pump!!


Before i do that i need to insulate the place properly with cavity walls and check that the windows are sealed tightly. And i would need to change teh radiators regardless if its a heat pump system or not as they are very old and need throwing out

The new-build ban doesn't come into place until 2030
 
Soldato
Joined
9 Apr 2007
Posts
11,826
Ban on combi boiler gas?

So does new builds al use heat pumps now?

Anyways i saw a property yesterday for the 2nd time and took my engineering friend with me.

Basically to even update its current heating and wiring(owner has lived there for 40 years and ain’t done much regarding these areas) thats around 20k for updating to bog standard combi boiler for the heating part,

Now imagine a heat pump!!


Before i do that i need to insulate the place properly with cavity walls and check that the windows are sealed tightly. And i would need to change teh radiators regardless if its a heat pump system or not as they are very old and need throwing out
I fitted my own Central heating and rewired the house when we moved in, excluding the boiler I bet it was less than 2k.
You can save hugely on labour as requiring and Central heating is 90% labour costs id say.
Also for mine ready for low temp heating so well be okay with heat pump as well.
 
Soldato
Joined
25 Feb 2004
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16,699
Location
Portsmouth
Smaller houses, particularly terraces are going to be a real problem, (im thinking my 1890s again here) cant place heat exchangers on the front, so only the back. Drains and piping (water,elec,gas) etc mean going down would be rather difficult.
So highly limited on options. Solid walls so hard to insulate well without other issues.
Really not ideal at all.
Talking of the mounting I went to a friends the other week and next door had what looked like an ASHP out the front of their house, jesus it was an eyesore, must have been 4ft high and just next to the path with the pipework just tagged along the outside wall with no trunking. So glad I got some competent fitters in who have made the look of mine palatable.
 
Associate
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31 Jan 2022
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111
Location
UK
I am not really that convinced about heat pumps which is kinda odd since I make them. Well, I work in the R&D deptartment for a company that does.

The problem is that they just move heat from one place to another, and that's not entirely great in very cold weather, because there isn't that much heat to move. They get less efficient the colder the weather gets. On top of that, in a humid country like ours, they tend to ice up rapidly, and then have to spend time reversing the flow of heat to defrost themselves. On top of that you have huge installation costs and very high costs should it break down at any point. Also they don't produce temperatures that are particularly useful in a domestic heating situation. In short, they don't get very hot. They are supposed to generate heat at a cost of about 1:3 but in practice I very much doubt you will achieve that.

To me a much more preferable way to go is solar.
 
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