NEWS.

Has the rush to heat pumps been thought out? Or is there a better option?

Last week, the UK government announced plans to support the installation of 90,000 heat pumps across the country with a grants that could be worth up to £5,000, however, with over half a decade in the sustainable heating market, we ask the question whether this has been properly thought out.


The question arises as to what type of homes will benefit to a grant system like this when considering some underlying factors of a heat pump installation. There are three key restriction areas we feel may cause significant issues with this direction.


Cost

Whilst on the surface of the eye catching headlines of a £5,000 grant, sounds a lot of money. However, with the average unit cost of a typical Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) being in the region of £7,000-£10,000, this leaves a large amount for the homeowner to cover. This combined with the cost of a trained engineer to install the product, as well as upgrading each property with compatible radiators and insulation technologies, to ensure the units can work efficiently, quickly take the cost up further. In many cases exceeding £15,000.

Many average households will not be able to afford such a vast investment to create a carbon zero solution to heating their homes. So it does raise the question, who are these grants truly designed for?


Space

The average ASHP is roughly 4 foot high and demands a large footprint area at the side of a the home to be installed. With an appearance, traditional to a commercial air conditioning unit, ASHP's will require the adequate surrounding space to each property to be installed.

Many houses in the UK are not detached, limiting the installation to one side of the property (space allowing) or the back garden.

As a social housing solution, this factor alone will make ASHP's almost entirely impractical, especially in rows of terrace houses or flats.

With the current regulations, an ASHP needs to be installed at least a metre rom the boundary of your home, only used for heating, and has to be installed on a suitable surface such as the ground or a flat rood (1 meter from the edge). Again, this all only favours certain types of housing developments, and does not lend itself to a suitable solution for the greater requirement of carbon reduction in residential properties.


Performance

One of the key issues with an ASHP is that they simply are not able to provide the level of heat that most homeowners have become accustomed to. It is a system traditionally best suited to larger radiators, which causes yet another challenge with the homes internal space availability.

ASHP's also suffer from a drop in efficiency in cold weather, especially when the temperature drops below zero. So whilst they do run more efficiently in the summer months, when the home requires its largest draw on the product, it actually uses far more energy to reach the desired temperature output.

ASHP's also require electricity to operate, you cannot go completely carbon zero unless you opt for a PV system, which is still the case for all renewable heating technologies at the moment. Which again raises the question whether a £5,000 grant on ASHP's is the right decision or whether investment into PV systems to enable homes to become self sufficient should be prioritised once more.

A sign of good intension

Solar PV - powering a fight against climate change

We are delighted to see greater attention given to the reduction of carbon outputs of residential properties by this government, but ASHP simply do not hit the requirement for to vast majority of UK households, and therefore do not begin to tackle the growing challenges we face in the coming years in our uphill battle to carbon zero heating solutions.


In the past there have been a number of tariffs and grants, that have since been removed for PV systems and products. With a huge drive to push key industries like heating and transportation towards sustainable electric alternatives, providing financial support for homes to be able to not only support their house, but also the grid with additional energy for the evident increase in demand, would be a better long term solution.


ASHP's provide one huge challenge regardless of dwelling, which is space. Cost is always a factor, but space ultimately make options such as ASHP's an unobtainable option for many. Not only for the unit themselves, but also for the additional sized radiators and technologies that need to be installed into the house for the system to work.

This is why we still feel that a solution like our Ascot heaters, which have a 10 year product warranty, require minimum space, no additional construction work, are 100% energy efficient are still the best universal fit for sustainable domestic heating solutions. Combined with a PV system, they would ensure that heating a home goes from 50% of the averages households carbon footprint, to 0%.

Thank you for taking the time to read our thoughts on the latest heating news. Should you wish to contact us to discuss any of the points we have raised further, or share some of your own with us, we would be delighted to hear from you.








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