Over 13% of the UK’s carbon emissions currently comes from heating our homes. If we stand any chance of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees, we need to transition to low carbon heating, and fast!
This is where air source heat pumps come in.
How do air source heat pumps work?
When you have a heat pump installed, a unit is fitted to the outside of your property, and it draws outside air into the system. This air is used to turn a refrigerant inside the unit into vapour. This vapour is compressed and produces heat as a result. The heat is then transferred to your home’s heating system, providing your home with heat and hot water, when you need it.
The system is so effective that heat can even be extracted from the air when temperatures fall below freezing, ensuring that even in the coldest conditions your home’s heating won’t let you down.
How can a heat pump be 350% efficient?
Efficiency is determined by how much of the energy and appliance uses goes towards its intended purpose, rather than being wasted.
A modern gas boiler is designed to be around 92% efficient. This means that 92% of the fuel it burns is used to provide heating and hot water, and around 8% is lost.
Our air source heat pumps are designed to achieve an efficiency of around 350%. This means that while they use some electricity to run, they generate nearly four times more energy to use as heat within your home.
What do our customers think?
Our customers love their heat pumps. But don’t just take our word for it.
“I love returning to a lovely warm house. It makes the world of difference.” Paul, Banbury
“Our heat pump has proved a great investment for us. The upfront costs are being recouped faster than I expected.” Di, Salisbury
Are heat pumps good for the environment?
Here’s why heat pumps are good news for our planet:
- Switching to a heat pump can cut your home’s carbon footprint by 65%
- They run entirely off electricity, which is zero carbon if you’re with Good Energy.
- They’re incredibly energy efficient.
- They last longer than traditional boilers and need less maintenance.
- Unlike gas boilers, they don’t emit nitrous oxide.
- They’re compatible with solar panels and batteries.
Busting common heat pump myths
Are they noisy?
Mounted outside your home, a heat pump creates a similar level of noise to a fridge, with a maximum output between 42 – 45dB.
Do they work when it’s cold outside?
Yes they do! An air source heat pump easily maintains a constant and comfortable temperature in your home all year round.
Are they suitable for my home?
It doesn’t matter whether a property is old or new, if your home is well insulated, an air source heat pump might be a great solution for you.
Is installation disruptive?
A heat pump installation will take around one week. Our friendly team will make sure your home is kept tidy; and will give you a thorough demonstration of how to use your new heating system.
Will it increase my bills?
A correctly designed air source heat pump installation is much more efficient than an oil or gas boiler, meaning it might actually lower your energy bills.
How much do heat pumps cost?
To make a heat pump financially comparable to getting a new boiler, the Government introduced the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, which provides grants of £7,500 towards the cost of installing a new air source heat pump. This means that the starting cost for a heat pump is around £4,000.
Find out how much a heat pump would cost you, by getting a free online quote.
From the blog
Find answers to all your heat pump questions here:
Increased heating efficiency– Air source heat pumps are up to 4 times more efficient than traditional boilers, and therefore require less energy to heat your home.
Reduced carbon footprint– Air source heat pumps don’t use fossil fuels and are better for the planet. Nearly 50% of the electricity on the grid now comes from low carbon sources – and your positive impact will be even greater if you are with a renewable energy supplier like Good Energy.
Lower fuel bills– Because air source heat pumps are much more efficient, they can cost a lot less to run. Homes that rely on oil, LPG or electric heating are most likely to make savings, while those on gas can achieve the same or lower running costs. Find out more about cost savings in this article.
Smart energy control– Control your heating remotely with smart controls through your phone or computer and keep your heating system optimised to meet your heating needs as efficiently as possible.
Increased comfort– Keep your home at a steady temperature effortlessly with gentle automatic top-ups through the day to keep you and your family comfortable.
Long lifespan– The typical lifespan of an air source heat pump is up to 20 years.
Air source heat pumps are extremely efficient at generating heat. In fact, they can produce up to four times more energy than the electricity they consume, making them 3-4 times more efficient than a standard boiler. This means you use much less energy for the same amount of heat, which is better for your finances as well as the environment.
Like a boiler, it will heat up your radiators and provide hot water and you can control your home’s temperature on a thermostat. There are subtle differences however – a heat pump will provide a lower level of heat consistently throughout the day, whereas lots of homes use boilers to provide shorter blasts of heat at certain times, then turn the heating off. This means that you will be able to keep your home at a cosy ambient temperature all year round.
The refrigerant inside a heat pump unit is a gas that has a boiling point of -52 degrees C. This means that in any temperature above this point, the gas will be able to expand and take on heat energy from the air. We recommend that our heat pumps will keep your home warm in temperatures down to -15 degrees C.
Heat pump costs
The Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) provides grants of up to £7,500 to property owners to replace fossil fuel heating systems with air source heat pumps.
To be eligible for the BUS, the following requirements must be met:
- Be a resident in England or Wales
- Be a homeowner
- The property must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) that is not older than 10 years
- The EPC must not recommend loft or cavity wall insulation.
Note that there are exemptions to these requirements, for example, in the case of listed buildings or those located in a conservation area.
If you have a valid EPC that recommends loft and/or cavity insulation but the measures have already been installed, you will have to get an updated EPC which evidences this.
Similarly, if you’re planning any works on your property such as an extension, these will have an impact on the heat requirements of the property. We recommend you complete these works first so that we can determine the heat loss of the property including any recent changes, which is essential in designing an efficient air source heat pump system.
There’s no hard and fast rule for how much electricity will be used by a heat pump, as it depends on the home it is heating and how warm you like your home to be. A proposal document by us will always include the estimated annual consumption of the new air source heat pump and a comparison against your current estimated usage so you know exactly what to expect.
The good news is that heat pumps are an incredibly efficient way to heat your home. Where a traditional boiler might operate at 90% efficiency, heat pumps can operate at up to 350%, meaning they generate nearly four times more energy than they consume.
The amount your heat pump might cost to run will vary from household to household – depending on how warm you like your home, its size and the heat loss it experiences.
However, if you were to use your new heating system in exactly the same way as you were using a modern gas boiler, you would need to have a year-round average efficiency of about 280% to break even on costs (as electricity is currently more expensive than gas).
When designing your system, we aim to achieve a year-round average efficiency of 300% – 350%.
“Personally, since I have replaced my old gas boiler with a heat pump, I have saved about a third on my energy costs, and I have my home warmer now.” Max Waddingham, Head of Operations at Good Energy.
Find out more about heat pump efficiency and how much money you might expect to save in this article.
Is a heat pump right for you?
Our air source heat pump solutions are suitable for most homes, and our dedicated survey and design teams will be able to find the best option for your property.
A few things to consider:
- The air source heat pump needs to sit outside the property on flat ground, ideally as close to your property as possible to increase the efficiency of the pipework. The size of the unit may vary slightly depending on the energy requirements of your properly. The smallest unit takes up a space of 0.4m³ and the largest one just 0.53m³ of space. By comparison, a standard 240 litre wheelie bin takes up 0.46m³.
- It’s important for an air source heat pump to sit on a flat, stable surface outside of the property and that nothing blocks the air flow. We recommend having at least 30 cm of clearance to each side of the unit, 30cm to the rear of it, and 1.5m to the front. Our survey team will help with where to best position your heat pump.
- We can install in most properties. However, please note we are unable to install heat pumps in flats/ maisonettes /apartments and non-domestic properties.
- Listed buildings are not always restricted and many owners of listed buildings are able to install heat pumps. We’d advise you to first check with your local planning authority for their specific guidance before proceeding.
- For homes in conservation areas or heritage sites, it is often still possible to install a heat pump. However, we’d advise you to first check with your local planning authority for their specific guidance before proceeding.
Solar panels and battery storage can work well with a heat pump. The solar panels will create the electricity for the heat pump to run on, essentially providing your own cycle of renewable energy, ideal for when you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint even further. Our surveying team will be able to discuss this with you during a survey of your property.
If you’re currently on a full electric system, we would need to install an entirely new “wet” central heating system including radiators and pipework, to be able to install our air source heat pump. If you already have a “wet” heating system powered by a fully electric boiler, your heating can easily be converted to run on a heat pump, and you could make significant savings on your heating bills.
In a hybrid heating system, a heat pump is added to your existing heating setup to produce heat for the home. Your boiler is still used for hot water or to top-up the heat generated by your heat pump, for example on exceptionally cold days. The system makes use of the heat pump alongside your boiler to heat your home in the most efficient way. Combined, they create a heating system that uses less energy, costs less to run, and is better for the environment.
A hybrid system requires a functioning boiler but is likely to result in fewer changes to your current heating setup. Please note that hybrid systems are not supported by the government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme.
Heat pump installation
Surveys are an essential step when getting a heat pump. They allow our heating engineers to gather all the information we need to design the right system that will keep your home warm and green. Our surveys are obligation free, and will provide you with a detailed proposal about the work needed to install a heat pump. If you decide to go ahead with your install, we will deduct the survey fee from your total heat pump cost.
Virtual surveys (£100) : Our experts can assess your home over a video call to determine the best solution for your home.
Home visit surveys and installations (£250): We also offer home visit surveys. Get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you to identify which option would be best for you. Find out more about what happens during one of our surveys here.
Our air source heat pump installations are all covered by the following standards, giving you peace of mind about the quality of your new green heating system:
- Gas Safe Register
On average, we will install your new heating system within one to two months after you reach out for a quote. This gives us time to carry out a home survey and schedule the installation around your availability, and it gives you time to think about what you want from your heating system.
However, if you do have tighter timeframes in mind, it is possible for us to install within two weeks of a signed proposal – this is our current lead time for ordering the technology. Please let us know if you require a fast turnaround when you get in touch with us.
Every install is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Once you’re happy with the design for your property, and have agreed an install date with our team, we’ll provide you with a personalised timeline for your installation.
On average, a heat pump installation will take five days, and will involve a team of three heating engineers and electricians working in your home. Installations can take longer if you don’t already have a wet heating system, or if we need to install substantial new pipework, but you will be made aware of this ahead of time.
If your installation takes place over the winter months, our team will provide you with fan heaters to ensure you stay comfortable. We can also plan to install your hot water cylinder on day two so that you can access the immersion heater for your heating and hot water.
Before we carry out your installation, we’ll take care of all the preparation behind the scenes and order everything to the requirements of your design. Once our team are on site, they’ll explain the installation process and keep you updated on progress. If we anticipate any disruption to your heating or hot water, we’ll let you know in advance so there aren’t any unexpected surprises. Our installation team are professional, highly trained and qualified – so if you have any questions while they’re working, they’ll be more than happy to answer them.
Here are the dimensions for our air source heat pumps – even the largest one is smaller than a standard wheelie bin. The more powerful heat pumps are the largest; and these are suited to larger homes or ones that lose heat more easily:
- 5kW unit: HWD 88cm x 79cm x 31cm
- 8kW unit: HWD 94cm x 99cm x 33cm
- 12kW & 16kW unit: HWD 94cm x 142cm x 33cm
Your installer will be able to identify the most suitable location and the most appropriate size of unit for your home, which should all be explained prior to install. It will need to be placed in a location with good airflow that is easily accessible for maintenance. This often means on the ground at the rear of the property, although they can also be hung to the outside wall of your home.
Inside your house very little will change. You’ll still have radiators and pipework, and you will also have a hot water tank. There are often a few more components on the hot water cylinder and a few zone valves, but nothing should feel too different. The main difference will be your heat pump unit outside your property.
Any changes made to the structure of your home are likely to impact its heat requirements and therefore the system design. If you are planning any renovations that will change the shape, size, or floor plan of your house, it is worth having the plans completed before getting a heat pump. You will also need to consider getting an update to your EPC (Energy Performance Certificate).
We will need to understand how the system will work in the new house design to ensure it’s right for your home. Having your heat pump installed before the works are completed may risk the system not functioning correctly.
Small changes, for example redecorating or installing a new bathroom suite, will not impact the heat demand of your house, so if you are only planning these sorts of changes we can proceed as normal.
A heat pump requires higher water flow rates than a traditional gas or oil boiler, and as ‘microbore’ pipework is usually 8-10 mm in diameter (about the thickness of a ball point pen), this is simply too narrow to handle the flow rates needed. Therefore ‘microbore’ pipework isn’t compatible with a heat pump and would need replacing with larger diameter pipes (usually 15 mm and 22 mm) for us to install your new heat pump.
This is something we will identify and manage on your behalf.
Warranties and maintenance
There is a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty on the heat pump and a 2-year workmanship warranty as we are a member of the consumer protection scheme HIES. HIES offers customer advice and protection following the installation of renewable energy systems.
More information on the warranty can be found in your handover pack after your install is completed.
There is no scheme to elongate the life of a warranty, but your heat pump will require yearly servicing to ensure the warranty remains valid for those 10 years, just like a regular boiler. Once the warranty ends, it is recommended to continue good maintenance and regular servicing to prolong the life of your heat pump.
All of our heat pumps come with a 10 year warranty. To maintain that warranty, your heat pump needs to be serviced once a year by a Midea accredited installer. Please get in touch with us about maintenance packages.
We provide two weeks of detailed monitoring and diagnostics of your heat pump after commissioning. During this time, we will remotely monitor your heat pump’s efficiency to make sure it is working as designed.
After the two week period, we will be able help you remotely by seeing any live faults on the system and providing remote technical support.
Heat pumps are generally more reliable than a gas boiler, particularly combi boilers. However, like with any appliance, they do sometimes go wrong. That’s why we provide our customers with the peace of mind of our 10 year parts warranty.
We also provide remote monitoring and diagnostics. This means we will be able to check fault codes and possibly make changes that will get your heat pump working again without a call out.
If you do require a call out, the hourly cost is £60 per engineer.
Cylinders and radiators
You might be used to living in a home with a combi boiler – which means that you don’t have a hot water tank as your water is currently heated up on demand. While this saves space, they can be quite inefficient and prone to breaking. They are also less able to provide reliable on-demand hot water if two areas are drawing it at the same time – such as one person having a shower and another deciding to do the washing up.
Heat pumps can’t heat up hot water on demand like a combi boiler, so they require a hot water cylinder.
A cylinder stores up heated water so it’s ready to use when you need it. Heat-pump-ready cylinders have a larger heating coil, so the lower level of heat provided by your heat pump has a large surface area with which to heat your water. They are very efficient and maintain their temperature well over many days. In a busy family household, your hot water cylinder should provide more than enough water for your daily usage, even with multiple baths and showers. But if you do run out, the cylinder will only take around 20 – 30 minutes to heat up again.
When installing an air source heat pump, it is standard practice to install a new ‘heat-pump-ready’ hot water cylinder. Heat-pump-ready cylinders have a larger heating coil, so the lower level of heat provided by your heat pump has a large surface area with which to heat your water. They are very efficient and maintain their temperature well over many days.
We are here to advise you as to whether your current hot water cylinder would be suitable, or if you would need to upgrade. The impact of keeping your existing hot water cylinder is potentially higher running costs as it costs more to heat your hot water using the immersion than the heat pump. But on the positive side you would see an upfront saving of £2,000- £2,700 by not buying a new hot water cylinder.
Every house is different, and we will work with you to understand your existing setup and work out what the potential additional running costs and savings could be for you.
In line with HSE guidelines, we will schedule your hot water cylinder to heat to 60 degrees C once a week to ensure your hot water remains free from bacteria. The rest of the week, it is most efficient to store your hot water at around 50 degrees. As a safe shower water temperature is around 36-38 degrees, this is more than hot enough.
Boilers and heat pumps heat your home in a slightly different way. Boilers provide short blasts of heat through your radiators at set periods throughout the day at a flow temperature of between 50 degrees and 70 degrees. Heat pumps provide a more gentle warmth and emit heat for longer periods throughout the day at a lower flow temperature between 35 degrees and 55 degrees. The lower flow temperature helps heat pumps to run at their most efficient.
However, when the temperature is lower, your radiators will need a bigger surface area to transfer the same amount of heat to your home – and this is why some of your radiators may need replacing. Another consideration is that radiators are often designed to fit underneath windows, so they may not be correctly sized for the room, or in the best place to heat it.
During a survey, we will be able to review your radiator sizes and work out how many, if any need replacing, or moving.
Yes, underfloor heating works well with our systems. Air source heat pumps emit a continuous flow of heat (around 40°C), which is exactly what underfloor heating needs. This makes underfloor heating and air source heat pumps a great combination.
It is best to install your underfloor heating before you get a heat pump as this will influence your heating design.
Thermostats tell your heat pump when to turn on and the desired temperature for your home. The smart thermostats that we install also enable you to control your heating remotely via an app. If you are happy with your existing thermostats, we can design your system with those in mind.
Heat pumps and insulation
To be eligible for £5,000 BUS grant, the following requirements must be met:
- Be a resident in England or Wales
- Be a homeowner
- The property must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) that is not older than 10 years and which has a heat demand number stated on it
- The EPC must not recommend any of the following insulation measures
- Loft insulation
- Cavity wall insulation
There are exemptions to this requirement in the case of listed buildings or those located in a conservation area. In these cases, it’s best to check with your local planning authority to get specific advice for your home.
We always recommend having your insulation work completed prior to having your heat pump system designed. This is because we design to the current heating requirements of your home. Having insulation installed at a later point will change the heating demand (by reducing the heat loss and therefore making your home more efficient), so you may end up with an oversized (and possibly more expensive) heat pump if you haven’t completed the insulation beforehand.
Your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) will contain information about your property’s energy use and suggestions on how to make the property more efficient.
Heat pumps are suitable for all different types of home. We regularly install heat pumps in period properties, mid-century properties and much newer homes too.
Just like with any other type of heating system, insulation will reduce heat loss and keep your heat pump working efficiently.
Here we hear from one of our customers, Gabrielle, who had a heat pump installed at her 18th century home.