Gransnet forums


Heat Pumps

(54 Posts)
Hildagard Tue 19-Oct-21 09:06:46

Morning, I have just read an article on the BBC newsfeed about Heat Pumps and grants to change to these. Crazy, why on earth are they building all these new houses with gas boilers, if they are going to be banned in the future?

Katie59 Tue 19-Oct-21 09:59:21

It’s going to be many years before gas boilers are banned, the plan is to convert the gas grid to hydrogen so all new boilers have to be able to be converted to hydrogen. These are very long term plans and most boilers last less than 20 yrs in any case.

Hildagard Tue 19-Oct-21 10:24:26

It what to do if yours needs replacing now?

M0nica Tue 19-Oct-21 10:56:48

I think there is already a ban on fitting gas boilers in new houses. I think it comes into force at the end of this year.

I have seen reports that the sale of all gas boilers, including retrofit will come in in 1935.

I know it is a silly question but why all this fuss about heat pumps that are expensive to fit and are not suitable for all properties. Why can we not just replace gas boilers with electric boilers? Yes, they would be expensive to run, but as we move to being electricity dependent, our fuel bills are going to soar anyway.

Mapleleaf Tue 19-Oct-21 11:45:37

The heat pumps I’ve seen pictures of look enormous compared to the boiler we have. It looks as if they need a bit of space around them, too, and the pictures I’ve seen have them located outside. We don’t have adequate free wall space outside, from what I can see of them, and if they can go in a garage, it would need to be a lot bigger garage than the one we have, because I actually use my garage for the car and there’s no way I would get the car in around the bulk of the present heat pumps I’ve seen pictures of. Maybe they have various sizes, I don’t know, but if not, I would say they could do with a re-design if there is only the one standard, bulky size I’ve seen, or people just won’t go with them.
I’m imagining there would be lots of upheaval to homes in order to fit them too, replacing pipework, installing adequate insulation, changing radiators (?), redecorating, etc. I don’t think a £5000 grant will go far in sorting all that out. I haven’t done any research into them, to be honest, so maybe some of my thoughts I’ve voiced won’t be the problem I think they are.

Kamiso Tue 19-Oct-21 11:58:25

A lot might change in the coming years. They may develop a smaller more efficient unit though, having just moved into a ground floor flat, I am not sure where it would fit or what the people above would do. I hope we don’t end up with great ugly units hanging out of windows like the ones in the USA!

Maya1 Tue 19-Oct-21 11:58:25

I agree Mapleleaf, they look huge and surely will take up a lot of space. We do not have a garage and very limited wall space.
We are actually looking to replace our boiler at the moment as it is 30 years old. It is still working and serviced by BG annually but l think we should maybe replace it.

Grammaretto Tue 19-Oct-21 12:07:22

I have been taking a great interest in all this discussion and the advice varies so much.

I have an ancient boiler (gas), which is probably extremely inefficient but has recently been repaired and may well see me out. It is over 40 yrs old.

I was advised to look at air source (and ground source) but the one person who has this, whom I know, says it doesn't work in a stone house as old as ours. (200 yrs)
I think this one-size-fits -all philosophy is ill thought out and daft.

I am awaiting a return call from Home Energy Scotland, the Government site which is supposed to advise me about saving energy and money and hopefully can tell me if any grants or loans are available for solar panels or whatever.
Another independent advisor suggested I get a new gas boiler which would be 100% more efficient than the one that's here. He also said I should get double glazing but that sounds super expensive.
I have an open fire too which is wasteful but lovely. I was advised to change for a wood burning stove. (I have lots of wood)

A bit like my car, I don't use it often so feel I am not a huge offender. I keep one room warm in winter and wear lots of wool.

Meanwhile it is causing much consternation and worry with so many bad things going on in the world this race to zero carbon could have been introduced to us in a gentler way..

Grammaretto Tue 19-Oct-21 12:07:51

The pumps are also noisy

Nanna58 Tue 19-Oct-21 12:09:30

We can still have our gas boilers, and I quote Bojo “ No Greenshirts from the Boiler Police will kick down your door with their sandal clad feet and force you at carrot point to hand over tour trusty combi “ 😭😭😭😭😭

ExDancer Tue 19-Oct-21 12:10:24

How do they work? What are the advantages?
I notice our local council is installing them into it's houses (the ones we used to call council houses) so they must think it's a good idea.
But I still don't understand the way they work! (yes - I know, - thick as a brick) confused

M0nica Tue 19-Oct-21 12:28:08

EXdancer. Basically heatpumps work like a fridge. In a fridge the air in the fridge is cooled by running over coils containing a fluid that is colder than the fridge air so that any warm in the fridge air is dissipated by transfer of heat from the warm air to the cool fluid in the pipes. The warmed pipes then run up the back of the fridge on the outside, like a radiator and pass the warmth they have absorbed to the cooler air around them. The equipment that does this is usually referred to as a 'heat exchanger.

With heat pump it works in reverse, outside air is drawn into the sytem, transfers the heat in it through the heat exchanger to heat the water in your CH system.

The downside is that the colder the outside temperature the less effective the heat pump is and since we most need domestic heating when the weather is at its coldest.....

The heat can also be drawn from the ground by burying coils in the ground that extract heat, or drilling holes deep into the earth or also into a water source.

Heat pumps have been around for a long time, often used to heat swimming pools.

I am not convince that heatpumps are the answer to domestic heating. I think there are a number of alternatives, from electric boilers to individual electric heating devices in each room, all thermostatically and time controlled.

Electric domestic heating is eye wateringly expensive now, but when there is no alternative, and heatpumps are always likely to need supplementing in cold weather, it should be quite possible to use other simpler systems.

Delila Tue 19-Oct-21 12:38:05

A nearby group of sheltered bungalows had air-source heating installed about 4 years ago, funded by the EU. Verdicts as to their efficiency and economy have been mixed and there have been a few mistakes made regarding the installations, sometimes resulting in inadequate heating/hot water. It seems the installers were inexperienced in what was an unfamiliar new system.

Each small bungalow has a large metal cabinet containing the heat pump attached either to the outside wall or on the back path. They are unattractive and, by now, coated with grime (too high for residents to reach to clean them), and have had to have large metal drip trays and pipes fitted to carry the condensation that drips from them down to the ground. They must be quite an obstacle to negotiate when fitted on the back path.

Some of the residents concerned have had difficulty understanding or altering the controls and prefer to “leave well alone”, which has sometimes meant unnecessarily huge bills or managing without adequate heating and hot water.

On the other hand, those who have managed to get to grips with the system & who encountered none of the installation problems swear by it and find it a huge improvement on their old night-storage heaters.

Petera Tue 19-Oct-21 12:51:12


We can still have our gas boilers, and I quote Bojo “ No Greenshirts from the Boiler Police will kick down your door with their sandal clad feet and force you at carrot point to hand over tour trusty combi “ 😭😭😭😭😭

Is this in the same tenor as his previous quoute "there will be no forms, no checks, no barriers of any kind’ on goods crossing the Irish sea after Brexit."?

M0nica Tue 19-Oct-21 15:03:03

I can believe that a heat pump is better than old storage heaters, but that is a very low standard of comparison because storage radiators are notoriously inefficient

I would thimk if these bungalows had had gas central heating installed the residents would have been even happier.

Delila Tue 19-Oct-21 16:40:24

Yes MOnica, but we don’t have gas in the village.

Gwenisgreat1 Tue 19-Oct-21 16:55:32

Shortly after we moved into this house (6 years ago), My DH decided to go for a heat pump. It works reasonably well for heting the house, we did need a new boiler at the same time (the last one had reached it's limit) but we did not need a 'heavy duty' boiler. It's just to heat the hot water in the winter - solar panels do it in the summer. Yes, it is a big ugly box - they are all over the place on the continent and have been for years, attached to the outside walls of flats or on balconies (which I would hate). It does work reasonably well. If you hare considering sending this amount of money, do take care, the company who installed ours has gone bust.

Nonogran Tue 19-Oct-21 17:22:11

Grans, We’ve got until 2035 to get organised regarding heat pumps. The BBC news app is useful for more details.
Home owners & private landlords are of course worried about having to install heat pumps due to current massive costs. Additionally, it might mean that landlords give up on renting out due to the cost which could make families homeless? (Before anyone comments about “wealthy” private landlords in actual fact most private landlords only own one, maybe 2 properties. Some by default or inheritance or as a “pension fund” where a pension return is poor. With all the legislation, rules, regs, tax & nightmare destructive tenants, it is not a venture for the feint hearted but that’s another story) I do wonder if the house sales market will slow down big time because where there is a failing or old boiler in situ the house buyer will potentially be looking at a large expense to replace with a heat pump! Who knows?
As an aside, a family member has recently bought a house with a heat pump. It went wrong & it took ages to find a qualified engineer with the knowledge, to repair it. Will there be a skills shortage?
The deadline is 14 years away and much can change or become clearer in the interim. I probably won’t be alive to worry about it all by then!

Mattsmum2 Tue 19-Oct-21 17:30:50

This is our, heats water and underfloor heating. Yes the cost to install is a lot at around £10,000 but costs are low at about £10 per month. It’s also not noisy. And on a hot day you can stand in front of it to cool down. I think ground source will sort space problems 😀

M0nica Tue 19-Oct-21 19:46:17

Mattsmum2 How noisy is it and how big is your garden? How well insulated is your house?

Katie59 Tue 19-Oct-21 20:08:11

It seems new homes after 2025 are likely to have heat pumps for heating, they will be highly insulated with underfloor heating, if the garden is big enough they will used ground source, smaller properties air source with supplementary heating for cold weather. They should be very cheap to keep warm but it will increase the house price.

M0nica Tue 19-Oct-21 20:21:12

I look forward with interest to seeing the first estate with gardens big enough to have ground source heat pumps.

A property with a floor are of 800 sq feet (small 3 bedroomed house, would need to have a garden about 80-90 frrt long and a four bedroomed property would need a back garden 100 foot long or more.

And then there is the snag, in cold weather heat pumps will need to be supplemented, presumably by electric heaters burning full price electricity. unless you have a wood burning stove. Heat pumps may be cheap to run, but the cost of the supplementary heating, especially in a cold winter, could be eyewateringly expensive.

BoadiceaJones Tue 19-Oct-21 20:28:21

Heat pumps have been incredibly popular in NZ for decades now. Efficient, clean, fit neatly on an outside wall, reasonably inexpensive to run.

PollyTickle Tue 19-Oct-21 20:47:17

We have an air source heat pump. Don’t find it noisy. Our thermostats are set low at night so the pump doesn’t boot up until morning anyway. Comes on a few times a day. Underfloor heating downstairs and big radiators upstairs. We have a wood burner for winter evenings, mostly because it looks cosy but don’t really need it.
The downside is that you need a small dedicated room for the rather large tanks and the manifold.
Our house is a large solid stone 1930s build with lime render each side of the two foot thick walls. Double glazed windows and very thick loft insulation.
We are toasty warm.
We’ve had the same system in our last three houses. Our French house had a reversible system so was beautifully cool in summer.
You don’t need a huge garden for ground source. A deep bore hole would suffice but is costly.

M0nica Tue 19-Oct-21 20:48:03

I think the weather in New Zealand is a lot milder than in the UK.

I found this interesting map online, which shows NewZealand laid over a map of Europe at the equivalent latitude and longitude

It shows that New Zealand is a lot nearer the equator than Britain, and further googling shows monthly temperatures in winter are 5 degrees C warmer than in the UK.

5 degrees can make the difference between heat pumps being up to coping with the heating load to needing to be supplemented when the weather is really cold. This is the problem with heat pumps in the UK. Are they up to the job when we have a cold period that will often last weeks.