Gransnet forums


Heat Pumps

(55 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?

Jane43 Mon 25-Oct-21 20:17:59

Apparently if you use a heat pump with radiators, which would be the case with most houses in the UK, the radiators will have to be bigger than your existing radiators and the insulation in the house has to be upgraded. So it’s not just a case of paying out for the heat pump.

Urmstongran Mon 25-Oct-21 20:06:35


M0nica Mon 25-Oct-21 19:30:14

A friend is ignoring heatpumps. he has a big solar array on his roof (a perfectly standard ex council house semi) which produces paractically enough electricity to supply all he needs plus an income and he intends to replace his gas boiler with an electric boiler. Normally ths would be very expensive to run, but he reckons that the free power he gets from his solar array will make running it much cheaper.

So much simpler, so much cheaper. Not an answer for everyone, but, even if you have a small house with a roof facing the right way, it might well be the way to go.

tidyskatemum Mon 25-Oct-21 15:32:48

We moved into a house with a heat pump a couple of months ago and so far it’s been fine. It’s not very noisy - makes a low hum and though the radiators don’t get red hot the rooms are comfortably warm. However we’re having trouble finding someone to service it. I assume the previous owners had it installed as part of some government scheme (we’re in Scotland) and although the company who installed it are supposed to come to do a free service they won’t send anyone due to distance.

Chestnut Mon 25-Oct-21 13:23:58

It's well known fact that they do not give out enough heat during very cold spells, so you will regret it when the temperatures drop. As for new builds having them automatically, would you want to be left in the cold when the weather is freezing?
See the link I posted earlier.

timetogo2016 Sat 23-Oct-21 15:59:33

I know someone who has one and it`s an eyesore and noisy, also does not give off enough heat,and he lives in a flat.

M0nica Sat 23-Oct-21 11:49:18

The way our house works, long and thin in foot print with water pipes and water consuming rooms at each end, we already have 2 small CH boilers, one each end to avoid long pipe runs. We will, presumably, need to have 2 heat pumps! My eyes are watering already at the thought of the cost!

etheltbags1 Sat 23-Oct-21 11:11:57

How do pensioners with small or no savings pay for this. The grants should pay for everything. In my case my old boiler will need removing and the wall repaired, bedrooms will need repair and so will loft. Can't see any grant paying for this, I'm too old to remortgage now.

Franbern Sat 23-Oct-21 09:53:11

Surely, heat pumps should now be fitted, as a matter of course, into ALL new build houses/bungalows. (Still not sure if possible in flats). But insulation is so important and I have been given to understand that there are no laid down minimum rules for this in property.

Nothing can just start inthe middle. So, Insulation minimum rules for new-builds, under floor heating and heat pumps. That is the way forward.

For existing properties, many badly insulated, many far too small to cope with current day Heat Pumps (including virtually all flats.

In all probability over the next 10-20 years, the efficiency of this sort of heating will improve and the boilers become smaller (as has happened with electric cars).

BUT......the 'grant' money which was anounced is really just another sound bite, by a government that exists on these, and will have no real application.

Katie59 Sat 23-Oct-21 08:18:25

Built into a new property with space for ground source heat pump it’s likely to be a good system, converting and upgrading existing houses is very expensive and may not be any benefit.

overthehill Fri 22-Oct-21 23:36:43

Our friend a plumber, says they don't give out enough heat

M0nica Fri 22-Oct-21 21:42:09

Shropshirelass How well insulated is your home. This is going to be the crucial issue. What level of insulation is required for heatpumps to work efficiently

But you put your finger on the nub of the issue when you said it was expensive. Quite simply, for many people in this country the cost of installing a heatpump, is prohibitably expensive because not only is the heat pump itself, far more expensive than a new boiler, but there are so many other things that will have to be changed to make a heat pump system work. new larger radiators, with all the disruption that will cause. Many homes now have combi-boilers, so space will need to be found for hot water tanks which will mean replumbing all the bathrooms, kitchens, Utility rooms, cloakrooms etc in a property.

Combi boilers were developed to be suitable in flat developments and conversions because space did not need to be found for a hotwater tank. Many of these smaller homes are going to find it very difficult to find space for a water tank.

Somebody with a sufficient income to buy a small house reasonably well insulated, but not highly insulated, could find themselves having to pay, not just for the heatpump, but extra insulation, new radiators, installing a hotwater tank and rerunning all the domestic water plumbing. I doubt they will get any change from £20,000 for all that - and probably need more. How on earth do they finance all that?

There is a place for heatpumps in the future, I have no doubt about that, but I find the way this government are convinced that the future is heat pumps and nothing but heatpumps, I find really, really worrying. As i have said before when anyone thinks there is aone simple solution to a complex problem, then they really really do not understand the problem - and that is very worrying.

JaneJudge Wed 20-Oct-21 21:32:57

ours was rubbish

missingmarietta Wed 20-Oct-21 21:32:00

I'm in a 1950's bungalow, well insulated, with enough outside space to place an air source heat pump. When I moved here I had a company come and give me a quote to have one installed. They said it wouldn't be possible [technical issues, can't remember the exact reasons now]. So that's me out.

So I can see why they won't be suitable for many, many situations. That's apart from the expenses and disruptions to radiator systems etc that installations involve. Doesn't seem to have been thought through properly.

MamaCaz Wed 20-Oct-21 16:28:31

If nothing else, maybe the government drive to get everyone to install heat pumps will widen discussions and hasten the development of other, hopefully better, alternatives.

Necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes.

Shropshirelass Wed 20-Oct-21 08:56:59

We have just had our old oil heating changed for an air source heat pump, we had new rads too but had spoken about changing theses before we changed the boiler. You need larger rads with heat pumps, they work at full efficiency up to -7 degrees then it drops a little. DH has poor health and feels the cold but I will say that so far it is a fantastic heating system, expensive but we feel it was worth doing for many reasons.

MamaCaz Wed 20-Oct-21 08:49:25

Another thought- comparing our energy bills with those of our neighbours, even if they live in an identical house, can be rather meaningless as a guide to the running costs of a heating system.

One household might take more frequent/longer showers, or even baths. They might do a lot more washing, or like the house warmer etc.

Even if they had identical heating systems, such factors could make a huge difference to their actual energy consumption.

MamaCaz Wed 20-Oct-21 08:36:48

Monica, I agree with you about this not being a one-size-fits-all solution, and that is is impractical for many properties for a whole range of reasons.

I think I've mentioned before that it was actually a HA that fitted ours.
As it is a small brick terrace without cavity walls (apart from two small sections below the downstairs windows and a small 1970s extension that housed an inside bathroom downstairs), they had to do a lot of extra insulating to get it up to scratch, some external but some internally where external cladding would have restricted access too much.

At the time they suggested putting in the heat pump, we had finally won a longstanding argument with them regarding lack of insulation - up until then, they had strongly denied (in a very sneering, condescending way that they generally used with their tenants at that time) that the built-on bathroom had no insulation, even though it was blindingly obvious that it didn't.
When I eventually escalated things and they had to recognise that they were wrong, they suddenly became very accommodating and I think were prepared to do a lot more work than would otherwise have been the case.

When they suggested it, we were only too willing for that freezing cold built-on bathroom (where just going for a wee was horrible in winter, let alone having a bath!) to become a sort of utility room and house the internal part of the new heating system, and sacrifice an upstairs bedroom for a new bathroom.
It did mean one of our sons, who had moved back in a few months earlier, had to move out again, but the timing was right and he was ready to go.

Our immediate neighbours with an almost identical house were not offered an upstairs bathroom. As a result, the large internal unit of the heating system had to be put in their kitchen. Neither they nor the family that came after them are happy with that

I suppose the point that I am trying to make, in a very long-winded way, is that I can see why it would be either impossible, too expensive or too impractical for a huge number of homes.

I would like to think that better solutions are being developed as we speak!

PaperMonster Wed 20-Oct-21 07:38:48

My friend lives in a two bed council bungalow with a heat pump and their fuel bill is similar to ours - we’re a HA three bed house with all electric. It’s so expensive that we’ve turned the hot water tank off. We used to have storage heaters which we miss - they were newer ones and much more economical and efficient than the electric heaters that replaced them.

BoadiceaJones Wed 20-Oct-21 02:49:39

I live in the subtropical Far North, so I understand that the winters are in no way comparable! I lived in the UK for many years and found the winters almost intolerable- not so much the cold as the grey, grey days and the night falling before school was over. My brother in North Dakota, where there is snow for almost half the year, and the temperature drops regularly to minus 20F, said he would take the snow and cold anytime, over the grey damp of the UK. And it's so much warmer today than it was 50+ years ago! Heat pumps require regular cleaning of their dust filters to ensure optimum performance. Otherwise, they sulk and do a go-slow.

Chestnut Wed 20-Oct-21 00:16:04

Here's a very informative article by a construction engineer who seems to know what he's talking about:
Heat pumps are a con
After reading that I wouldn't have one, and they are absolutely impossible when half the properties are flats. Someone suggested reverse cycle air conditioning which is what they seem to use down under, so maybe that's the answer. Either way, half the population won't be able to afford any such changes.

Callistemon Tue 19-Oct-21 22:55:46

The use of the word reliably was ironic btw!

Callistemon Tue 19-Oct-21 22:52:58

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

I thought so, too, M0nica and was reliably informed that was the case by DH who had visited many years ago.
When we went two years ago I felt frozen some of the time in the cold, lashing rain. It wasn't even winter and that was North Island.

PollyTickle Tue 19-Oct-21 22:48:17

I agree Monica, not suitable for all.

Txquiltz Tue 19-Oct-21 22:45:02

We had a home with a heat pump. It lowered our bill a bit, but my complaint was the air coming out of it felt cool no matter the setting. We were told it was normal and as the room air circulated it would warm. That part proved true, but I always missed sitting next to a warm space on winter nights.