“If I moved house tomorrow, I would put in a heat pump instead of a gas boiler.”
Funded by the UK Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project was designed to understand the technical and practical feasibility of a large-scale rollout of heat pumps. Find out more about the project.
Robert and Maria were part of the project.
Robert and his wife Maria had a standard gas boiler to heat their home with a hot water tank to store hot water. Even though there was nothing wrong with the boiler, it was inefficient and in need of updating, as it was over 10 years old. The couple wanted a solution that would heat their house sufficiently but also allow them to be more environmentally responsible.
The idea of having a heat pump installed in his house was very interesting for Robert. Due to his job in the air conditioning industry, he was familiar with, and trusted, the technology. When he came across the UK Government funded Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project, which is trialling heat pumps, he agreed with his wife that having a heat pump installed through the trial was the solution that they were looking for.
Solution and benefits
After carrying out a full inspection of the property, the installers suggested an air source heat pump for Robert and Maria’s house. Robert is very pleased with how warm their house is after the installation and would definitely recommend heat pumps to other households.
“If I moved house tomorrow, I would put in a heat pump instead of a gas boiler. I think it’s the way forward.”
Installing the heat pump
How long did it take?
The installation was completed in four working days by a team of accredited heat pump installers involving plumbers and electricians. The installers came back to the couple’s house a few times after this to complete the set up of the heat pump.
What did it involve?
The outdoor unit was placed on the flat roof of the garage; this was done after conducting an assessment of the roof to ensure that it is strong enough. They housed the indoor unit in a newly made cupboard inside the property. Having completed a full inspection of the property, the installers suggested a partial retrofit of the existing pipework and radiators to accommodate the new system’s requirements.
Were they happy with the result?
The couple are very pleased with the work of the installers and mentioned that they were very professional during the installation. Even though the installation took longer than he anticipated, Robert found that the new heat pump took no time getting used to as it is very easy to adjust.
“Everyone could use it. It’s obvious what you need to do.”
Common concerns about heat pumps
Warmth and comfort
Robert was worried that the heat pump would be unable to heat up their home sufficiently and meet their hot water needs, especially when having their grandchild over to visit. However, this has not been the case. He is very happy with the results as he has noticed consistent temperatures throughout the house and sufficient hot water to cover their needs.
“The heat pump performs very well.”
The couple noticed that the heat pump is a little slow to start heating the house when they turn it on, compared to their old gas boiler. In order to have their property warm when desired, Robert and Maria now turn on the heat pump a little earlier than they used to with the gas boiler.
Robert believes that the heat pump is an excellent choice for providing sufficient warmth in the home, but is a significant financial decision when it comes to running costs. He calculated that using the heat pump resulted in higher bills for achieving the same indoor temperature compared to his previous gas boiler over the billing period. This is because heat pumps run on electricity, which is more expensive per unit than gas. So, even though they are more efficient, heat pumps can cost more to run depending on the householder’s circumstances. However, Robert is happy to pay a little extra for the heat pump.
“There is a price that you have to pay for the new technology.”
Disruption in the home
The installation of the heat pump was not a small job for Robert and Maria. Even though they were pleased with the work that the installers did, the installation did involve a lot of upheaval as much of their pipework and radiators had to be replaced.
Robert felt that this significant amount of disruption was something that they had not been completely aware of prior to the installation.
“The indoor unit is a beautiful piece of machinery but it’s bigger than I thought.”
Aesthetics and ‘look’ of the heating unit
The couple decided to hide the indoor unit of the heat pump in a custom-made cupboard inside the house. He is now very happy with where the indoor unit is placed.
Once the heat pump had been installed, the couple discovered that both the outdoor and the indoor unit were noisy while operating. The noise from the outdoor unit was not an issue though, as it was positioned on the roof of their garage where they could not hear it.
Robert installed acoustic thermal insulation in the property to overcome the noisy operation of the indoor unit and noticed a significant drop to the noise levels.
“Now it’s much better.”
This case study is part of a series produced as part of a UK Government funded project through its Energy Innovation Programme, the Electrification of Heat Demonstration project. The project is trialling different types of heat pumps in up to 750 homes across the UK.
Looking for funding to install a heat pump?
The Boiler Upgrade Scheme is a UK Government initiative to encourage more people in England and Wales to install low carbon heating systems, such as heat pumps and biomass boilers.