Are you considering getting an air source heat pump? Do you want to move away from an oil or gas boiler, and heat your home in a sustainable way instead?

Here’s what you need to know about home ready for a heat pump.

Energy efficiency improvements before considering a heat pump

In order to qualify for the Government’s £7,500 Boiler Upgrade Scheme grant, you’ll need to have no outstanding recommendations on your EPC for loft or cavity wall insulation. As well as being eligible for the grant, minimising heat loss will help you heat pump to work much more efficiently.

Loft insulation

25% of a house’s heat is lost through the roof, so checking your home has sufficient loft insulation is a good first step to getting your home ready for a heat pump (and for making substantial savings on your energy bills too.)

If your heating bills are unusually high or you are noticing cold spots in your home, this should be one of the first things you check for. Loft insulation involves laying a material (typically wool) throughout your loft space at a thickness of 270mm. It’s likely to be a job you could do yourself as long as your loft is easy to access and has no issues with damp or mould.

Alternatively, you can find an installer on the National Insulation Association. Installing loft insulation from 0-270mm will cost between £500-£900 and can pay for itself in as little as two years through savings in your energy bills.

Cavity wall insulation

Around a third of heat loss comes through the walls of your home. If your home was built after around 1920, it’s likely you have cavity walls (two walls with a small gap between them known as a cavity). If your home was built after 1990, insulation was probably installed when the house was built.

Cavity wall insulation involves a professional installer injecting insulation through small holes in your walls using specialist equipment. It will cost between £580 – £1800 depending on your type of home, and you will make back that money through savings on your energy bill in around three years.

Find out more about insulation in this useful guide.

Double glazing

Installing double glazing is a more expensive upgrade to your home, but as homes lose around 10% of their heat through their windows, this step could help to keep your home more comfortable throughout the year.  Find a registered installer through the Glass and Glazing Federation.

Listed properties or those trying to retain the character of a property can consider secondary glazing as an option, which involves fitting a second window inside the original window frame.

Double glazing is not an eligibility requirement for getting the £5,000 Boiler Upgrade Scheme grant.

My home is energy efficient – now what?

Your next step is to reach out to a heat pump installer, like Good Energy, for a quote. You can go through the full quote journey online with no obligation to proceed to find out what upgrades your home may need. All of these upgrades will be managed and carried out by your heat pump specialist; and will include: 

Air source heat pump

An air source heat pump can be around four times more efficient than a gas or oil boiler; and will be installed on level ground just outside your home. An air source heat pump works by taking energy from the air, and using this to heat up the water that runs through the radiators or underfloor heating in your home and the water in your hot water cylinder.

Most homes considering an air source heat pump will qualify for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme – a £7,500 government grant to help with the cost of installing a new sustainable heating system. All you need to qualify for this is to be the homeowner and to have an up to date Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) showing your space and water heating requirements.

It’s a good idea to get all the outstanding insulation that’s recommended on your Energy Performance Certificate, but it’s no longer a requirement for receiving the Boiler Upgrade Scheme grant.

Hot water cylinder

Many homes already have a hot water cylinder. It’s possible that your existing cylinder might work as part of your new heating system – your heat pump specialist will advise you whether it is compatible, or if your system would work more efficiently if you were to upgrade to a ‘heat pump ready’ cylinder. If you are replacing a combi boiler however, you will definitely need a new hot water cylinder as part of your upgrade. Our team will recommend the correct size for your property and manage the install for you.

Radiators

Depending on the size and age of your current radiators; you may be able to keep some of them and add in a few additional ones to make your new heating system as efficient as it can be. Radiators with larger surface areas help more heat to be transmitted into your rooms, and therefore allow the system to run at a lower temperature than your current heating system while still keeping your home comfortable.

Your heat pump specialist will be able to recommend which radiators could stay, or potentially be moved to other rooms in your house to keep the costs of additional radiators as low as possible and to minimise waste. Most properties that we work with end up needing four new radiators as part of their heat pump installation.

Smart thermostats

Finally, it will be recommended that you install smart thermostats (if you don’t have these already). These will enable you to set a schedule for your heating and hot water. You’ll be able to control all of this via an app on your phone.