Heat pump could end up costing thousands more

Landlords and homeowners have been warned that they could end up being hit with thousands of pounds in extra costs when it comes to getting heat pumps fitted.

The varying costs of installation will leave many people priced out entirely, Mike Foster, CEO of the not-for-profit trade association Energy and Utilities Alliance told Express.co.uk.

Mr Foster said: “The first issue is the elephant in the room – the sheer cost.

“A heat pump will cost you more to run using its average efficiency compared to a gas boiler and its average efficiency. You’d have to pay as much as £13,000 upfront for the privilege of having a system that costs you more each year to operate.” 

Mr Foster says that 60 percent of homes require a hot water tank, additional pipework, and larger radiators for a heat pump to be viable. This can cause huge disruption to your home, including the addition of possible new holes in floors and walls.

As well as this, a lot of homes feature microbore pipework, meaning the heat pumps won’t work as well. And that is assuming the house doesn’t need an upgrade on its electrical network – which could come in at around £2,000-£6,000.

According to a document by UK Power Networks seen by Express.co.uk, it can take up to 14 weeks for a heat pump to be installed, as permission is needed from the local authorities to dig up roads and connect the pump to the main electricity cable.

Heat pumps are around three times as efficient as gas boilers, so for every unit of electricity they use, they generate around 3 units of heat.

But electricity is more expensive than gas per unit, so running a heat pump may end up pricier. The exact figure will depend on the heat pump’s size, the home it’s installed in and the energy tariffs.

Mr Foster said: “Heat pumps are a great technology in the right property. Fitted well, they can use they convert basically one unit of electricity to three units of heat, roughly speaking, which is a good return.

“They do save carbon, and we shouldn’t underestimate how important that is in the government’s thinking.

Hydrogen boilers are sometimes seen as an alternative to heat pumps, but their future is somewhat unclear.

Reaching 100 percent hydrogen in the UK’s current system likely won’t happen for several years. Tests will not be completed until after 2025, and the likely running costs for consumers remain “a big question“.

It is also unclear whether hydrogen will be as effective in fighting climate change, as it has to be extracted from other substances, and the best one to extract it from is methane – natural gas.



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