If you want to update your heating, chances are that you’re not just considering the upfront price of your new system, but how much it will cost to run year on year. Below, we cover air source heat pump running costs to show why heat pumps aren’t just greener, they’re more cost effective than gas or oil heating.

Air source heat pump running costs and savings compared to other heating systems vary from property to property. Costs depend, among other things, on the price of the fuel you’re switching from, how efficient your old heating system was, the heat loss at your property, how much hot water you use and the temperature you’d like your heating to be.

With that in mind, here are some realistic figures to help you understand whether a heat pump will make financial – and not just environmental – sense for your home.

How we’ve worked out heat pump running costs

For the examples below, we use an average annual heat demand of 12,000 kWh, which is based on Ofgem’s typical domestic consumption values for a medium-sized household. Please note, these graphs below compare the potential costs for heating your home, and do not include your other electricity uses.

Our calculations assume that your air source heat pump will meet a Seasonal Coefficient of Performance (SCOP) of 3.5. We design all our heat pump systems with this level of efficiency in mind, which means that your heat pump will transfer an average of 3.5 times more heat energy than the amount of electricity it takes to run. This means that while heat pumps are more efficient in the summer months, and slightly less efficient in the winter months, they are 350% efficient on average.

According to our monitoring data from all of our previous installs, we can see that our customers’ heat pumps use around 80% of their annual energy between 01 October and 31 March. Our calculations below reflect this too.

Air source heat pump vs LPG boiler

The relatively low efficiency of LPG boilers compared to air source heat pumps makes them more expensive to run. This is especially true if you have an older LPG boiler running at about 70% efficiency, which could cost you 30% more in annual heating costs compared to an air source heat pump.

What’s more, LPG boilers are more exposed to frequent price chances due to volatility in the gas market, with LPG prices reaching peaks of nearly 90p per litre in 2022.

Air source heat pump vs gas boiler

An air source heat pump is likely to be cheaper to run than a gas boiler because of the greater efficiency, even though gas rates are lower than electricity rates. Moving from a gas boiler to an air source heat pump could also save you £105 a year in gas standing charges, as you wouldn’t need a gas connection anymore. We have reflected this saving in our graphs. You could also save up to 44% in running costs depending on the age of your gas boiler.

The potential savings may even grow in the future. This is because the government is indicating that levies currently raised on electricity (around 25% of its price) may be partly raised on gas instead or shifted away from electricity altogether.

Air source heat pump vs oil boiler

Just as with gas and LPG, an air source heat pump works out as more cost-effective than using oil as a fuel source. This is despite heating oil currently being 2.8 times cheaper than electricity – highlighting how green and efficient a heat pump can be.

In fact, as our example shows, an air source heat pump can be cheaper to run regardless of the age of the oil boiler it is compared with. By switching from your existing oil boiler to an air source heat pump, you could potentially save anything between 10% to 41% depending on the age of your current oil boiler.

In summary, despite gas and oil being cheaper per unit, the higher efficiency of an air source heat pump means that you’re not just likely to balance out your electricity costs – a properly designed system can save you money.

How to work out a more personalised running cost estimate

If you know your annual space heating demand (your EPC should detail this information), the efficiency of your heating source and the price for your heating fuel, you can calculate the running costs for your own property to get an initial idea before starting a heat pump quote. It won’t replace the insights gained from a properly conducted heat loss survey but it’s a good place to begin.

How to reduce your electricity bills further

One of the most direct ways to save money on your electricity bills long term is to start generating it. Getting solar panels installed means you can meet some of your home’s electricity demand yourself, rather than buy it from an energy supplier. New tariffs such as export tariffs, which pay you for any electricity you send to the energy grid, help make solar panels even better value. Find out more about how solar panels can help you make your home greener and more energy self-sufficient on our blog.

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