As an alternative heating source to oil, gas or direct-electric boiler systems, one of the best options currently available is the Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP). The advantage to reducing our collective carbon impact is immense and well worth exploring. For every unit of electrical energy put into an ASHP, 3-5 units of heat energy are produced. Heat is extracted out of the air around us all the time which of course is constantly being naturally renewed.
In terms of ongoing costs, given current gas and electricity prices, the running cost of ASHP’s are similar (generally only a little lower) than a modern gas boiler. So the decision to switch needs to be based on a desire to utilise renewable energy and reduce reliance on fossil fuels rather than a strong financial cost saving. The installation costs of ASHP are significantly more than a replacement fossil-fuel heating unit.
A typical domestic installation is currently around £12,000 – £14,000 depending the scope of any preparatory work that may be required. In addition, any radiators present in the property would be likely to need upgrading in order to be appropriately sized for use with the lower circulation temperatures of the Air Source Heat Pump for maximum efficiency. For most retro-fit installations, we would expect to see around 70% of the radiators being replaced. As a guide, a figure of £300 per radiator being replaced would get you close to the anticipated budget required to prepare for a heat pump.
The recently launched Boiler Upgrade Scheme offers the opportunity to apply for an up-front grant of £5,000 to contribute towards installation costs of a heat-pump system.
In order to qualify to apply for the grant:
- The property must have a current Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) that does NOT have recommendations for cavity wall insulation or loft insulation on it. If your EPC does have these recommendations, the required work must be carried out first and a new EPC issued that is clear of these recommendations before the voucher is applied for.
- The heat pump being installed must be providing whole-house heating and hot water and be fully replacing a fossil-fuel system (oil, gas, lpg ) or a direct electric system.
- The installation cannot be a hybrid heating system. This means any combination of a boiler and electric heat pump, whether installed as a split or integrated system.
- If the system is for a new-build property which has not had a heating system before, this will only qualify if it is a custom-build/self-build which has been solely owned and financed directly by the individual first owner (albeit via mortgage or other personal loan sources) – ie properties built by a company or developer for onward sale do not qualify for this grant.
The application process is undertaken by the heat pump installer on your behalf, using information from the EPC, the installation quotation, the certifications generated on installation and evidence regarding self-build ownership provided by yourself.
A successful grant application will be issued with a voucher for the value of £5000 which must be redeemed within 3 months of issue, so installation and redemption must be completed within that timescale.