Are Heat Pumps Suitable For All Homes?

Estimated reading time 6 minutes

A question many homeowners are asking themselves, as they look to replace their boiler and move to a more energy efficient, low carbon solution is, would a heat pump be suitable for my home?

In the past there was a great deal of speculation that in order to install a heat pump you needed sufficient space to site the equipment both indoors and outdoors, your property had to be fully insulated and you needed underfloor heating and large radiators in order to switch to a heat pump. In fact it may be the reason many people have avoided looking at heat pumps when it comes to upgrading their heating system. That viewpoint has changed with the information now provided by the Electrification of Heat Demonstration (EoH) project funded by the UK Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and part of the government’s Energy Innovation Programme which was setup to understand how feasible a large-scale rollout of heat pumps would be and whether a heat pump could only be installed in certain homes that meet certain criteria.

Net Zero by 2050

In June 2019, the UK Government committed to net zero across the economy by 2050. With heating being the UK’s biggest source of carbon emissions, accounting for 37% of the total where homes contribute about 14%, it’s essential that we move away from fossil fuel gases as a source of heating and replace gas boilers with heat pumps which are powered by electricity which is being increasingly sourced through renewable, low carbon resources such as wind, solar, geothermal, and hydroelectric energy. In doing so it will go a long way to achieving the net zero target.

EoH Project

In order to test the theory that it was possible to install heat pumps across all types of homes across the UK, the Electrification of Heat Demonstration project recruited homeowners who would be willing to replace their current heating system with a heat pump. The project’s goal was to install 750 heat pumps across a representative range of housing types including pre-WWII semis, 1960s block of flats and Victorian mid-terraces, the majority of which were on the gas grid and then to monitor the installations.

The aims of the project were cited as including:

  • Developing, testing and evaluating products and services to identify the best heat pump solutions for a wide range of homes to overcome barriers to deployment.
  • Showing that heat pumps are a practical and feasible alternative to fossil fuel-based heating systems across a wide range of housing stock.
  • Understanding the costs involved in installing heat pumps.
  • Proving that heat pumps, including gas-electric hybrid heat pumps can provide a satisfactory solution that customers are happy with.
  • Capturing real-world data from the heat pumps installed.
  • Noting and utilising any learning from the project to improve the acceptance of the deployment of heat pumps across the UK.

The recruitment of homeowners and the installation phase of the EoH project took place between July 2020 and October 2021. It’s interesting to note that the project was heavily oversubscribed. During this period a range of 742 different heat pump types, including low-temperature and high-temperature air-source heat pumps, ground-source heat pumps, hybrid heat pumps incorporated with a gas boiler and some additional technologies, such as heat batteries were installed across a broad spectrum of housing types and socio-economic groups, reflecting a representative sample of households both on and off-gas grid locations across the UK.

Heat Pumps Are Suitable For All Property Types

According to the EoH project “All housing types are suitable for heat pumps, from Victorian mid-terraces to pre-WWII semis and a 1960s block of flats – the project has proven that heat pumps can be successfully installed in homes from every style and era.”

The project reported the following conclusions:

  • The full range of heat pump system types were able to be installed into the full range of property types and ages.
  • There were no property types or property ages where a heat pump could not be installed. The project has shown that there are no “particular home archetypes in the UK that are “unsuitable” for heat pumps”.
  • 80% of heat pump installations were in properties that were connected to the gas grid and where the previous heating system was fuelled by mains gas.
  • There were fewer heat pumps installed in a number of properties which were built pre-1945, although this was within planned tolerances (22% were installed against a target of 30%). There was a slight excess in some older homes e.g. 24.2% versus 20% for 1945-1965 and 13.1% versus 10% for homes built in 2001 and later.
  • The project showed that there was greater difficulty in installing heat pumps in older homes however 163 installs were successfully carried out in properties built pre-1945. It’s therefore clear that heat pump installation can be achieved even in older homes.

Lord Callanan, the parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero said “Heat pumps powered by clean, renewable energy will be key to warming UK homes in a net zero future. This trial demonstrates that low-carbon heating systems are an effective alternative for homes of all types and ages. As technology continues to improve and costs plummet over the next decade, they will become the obvious, affordable choice for consumers.”

The EoH project will continue to monitor, optimise, and collect detailed performance data on the installed heat pumps to ensure they are performing within the expected parameters.

Synecore, M&E Contractors For Air Source Heat Pumps

Synecore is a home air conditioning installer in Kent, London, Surrey, Sussex, Essex. We provide installation of high-quality products from leading manufacturers.

We offer the best solutions for your home air conditioning installation. There are many affordable options available to homeowners with energy ratings of A+++, helping you keep your energy bills down, while having a positive impact on the environment. We can design and install air conditioning throughout your entire property, or we can focus on individual zones. Either way, we’ll find the right application for you.

Our customers also benefit from our 7 year warranty when they sign up to our cost-effective air conditioning maintenance plan that offers complete peace of mind.

Synecore’s air conditioning experts will complete a survey of your home to determine the current space and discuss your specific needs. To book a free home air conditioning installation survey, please speak to our team on 01795 509 509 or via our contact form.

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