Top Five Heat Pump Hints

Wondering if a heat pump is right for your home? Here are our top five tips to get you started.

You’ve probably read about air source heat pumps in recent months. But why are they suddenly the talk of the town, what actually are they, and would one work in your home?

Air source heat pumps (ASHPs) are a more environmentally friendly way to bring heat into your home. They’re essentially a reverse refrigerator – so, they’re extracting heat from the air (rather than cooling it) and using it to heat your radiators and hot water. Heat pumps are very efficient and they’re widely used across Europe (even in countries like Finland and Norway that experience much colder weather than we do here in the UK).

* Household heating accounts for around 40 per cent of our carbon emissions

* It won’t be possible to buy a gas or oil-fired boiler after 2035

But there are two reasons they’ve suddenly hit the headlines here.

Firstly, the government has introduced a financial incentive – the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (or BUS) – to encourage homeowners to switch from traditional gas and oil boilers (which burn irreplaceable fossil fuels) to heat pumps, which are much more environmentally-friendly. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme allows homeowners to claim up to £5,000 towards the cost of an air source heat pump installation.

Secondly, the energy crisis has made us all think long and hard about where our energy supply comes from, how reliable it is, and how much it costs. It’s caused many people to look for an alternative solution to oil or gas.

Although heat pump technology isn’t new it is developing fast and it can feel a bit overwhelming. There are lots of myths and misunderstandings about ASHPs, including that they’re only suitable for a very small number of properties. But that’s just not true. They can be very effective in houses of all shapes, sizes and ages but they must be correctly specified and installed.

If you are wondering whether a heat pump is right for your home, here are five tips to get you started on your journey:

  1. Seek out an MCS-certified heat pump engineer. They will have the knowledge and experience to assess your property accurately and advise what’s best for your individual needs. They’ll also apply for the BUS grant on your behalf (only MCS-certified engineers can do this), so it’s really important you confirm your engineer’s credentials. The Bublshop team work with lots of qualified installers, so if you’d like some recommendations just get in touch.
  2. Get quotes from three qualified heat pump engineers – not just the one. It’s good practice with any major work and a great way to ensure you’re getting value for money.
  3. Ask as many questions as you can (we can provide a list to guide you). Your installer may not have all the answers straight away (they’ll need to do some heat loss calculations back at the office, for example) but they should leave you feeling comfortable and confident they understand your needs.
  4. Consider the possibility that you may need to upgrade your property’s insulation. Heat pumps are designed to keep your home at lower temperatures for longer periods of time, so it’s important your property can retain heat. Your engineer will tell you what size heat pump you need and advise if any other modifications are needed, like additional insulation or more efficient radiators.
  5. Do your research and question your engineer about the brand of ASHP they intend to install. Efficiency rates and unit sizes (important if you have a limited amount of outside space) vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

You can be confident an MCS-certified heating engineer will specify and install the right heat pump for your home (taking into account the property’s size, insulation properties and the capacity of its radiators). Get it right and your heat pump will be cheaper to maintain, service and run than your old boiler, plus it should last around 20 years.

“We want to help people find the right sustainable heating solution for their needs, that’s why we’re working hard to share our knowledge and point homeowners towards highly skilled heating engineers,” finishes Richard Barras, managing director at Bublshop. “This is amazing technology and it works brilliantly when it’s sized and installed correctly. Anyone wanting advice can give us a call!

Bublshop has worked with sustainable heating technologies (like air source heat pumps) for more than 20 years and also runs manufacturer approved training courses for installers. The team at Bublshop work with a trusted network of MCS qualified heating engineers and can recommend an installer near you. Call 01747 826900 to find out more.