Heat pumps are the latest hot topic on the government’s net zero plan. They are a low-carbon heating solution that use a small amount of electricity to move heat from one location to another. Specifically the air, ground or groundwater surrounding your home all have ambient heat that can be drawn into your home, even in colder climates.
Heat pumps provide an efficient, reliable means of heating homes without the use of fossil fuels (provided electricity comes from renewable sources). 14% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions come from heating up homes, so it is essential that we lessen/eliminate this if we are to reach net zero by 2050.
The most commonly installed heat pumps are air-source heat pumps and ground-source heat pumps. Air source extract ambient heat from the air, while ground-source transfer ambient heat from the ground, meaning extensive digging is required to lay cables underground surrounding your house Air-source is therefore generally preferred, especially in urban areas.
Currently, one of the biggest reasons to get a heat pump is the Renewable Heating Incentive, a government grant which pays you for the renewable heat you generate with quarterly payments spread over seven years. Applications for this scheme close in March 2022, at which point the government’s new £5000 Clean Heat Grant for heat pumps will come into play. This will allow more people to cover the cost of installation of their heat pump up front. Because of this it is probably best to wait until April 2022 if like many others, you would struggle to pay for a heat pump upfront.
The key thing to know if you are thinking of getting a heat pump installed is that they work best in well insulated homes. In well insulated homes the amount of electricity needed to run the heat pump will be low, meaning you save approximately 30% on your heating bill each year. This provides some reassurance against the expensive starting costs of having a heat pump installed
All in all, despite high startup costs, with the help of the government subsidy, heat pumps are definitely a worthwhile investment. They provide a means of future-proofing your home, especially with the recent rises in gas prices. One of the biggest considerations is how you will power your heat pump, which is good to do renewably, either through a green electricity supplier or with your own generation such as solar panels.
In terms of making cost savings on your standard gas boiler, it is possible to buy surplus cheap electricity during the night, as power stations are continually generating. If you can combine a heat pump with a form of renewable electricity generation such as solar panels, you will gain a huge amount of self sufficiency and autonomy.