Heat pumps review: cost, different types and will it save you money?

Heat pumps review: cost, different types and will it save you money?

Heat pumps will cost a lot more, but they are greener and could save you money long term thanks to greater efficiency and the Government's Renewable Heat Incentive payments. Here's everything you need to know if you're looking to buy a heat pump.

John Fitzsimons

Household money

John Fitzsimons
Updated on 28 July 2021

Heat pumps: greener than traditional boilers

As part of the Government’s drive to improve the nation’s eco standards, it has targeted installing 600,000 heat pumps in British homes each year by 2028.

Heat pumps are a greener way to keep your home warm as they utilise renewable energy sources.

But heat pumps aren’t particularly well known as even being an option when it comes to heating our homes.

Indeed, in a study at the end of last year by the Government, only a little over half (57%) of respondents said they were even aware of air source pumps.

However, for some, they may represent an option worth considering if you want to go for a low carbon option that could save you money thanks to the Government's Renewable Heat Incentives, which effectively pay you for going greener (we'll cover this in more detail later).

Interested? Get free quotes from local engineers to find out how much it'll cost to get a heat pump in your home

Heat pump types: air source or ground source

Heat pumps come in a couple of different forms.

For example, there are air source pumps. As the name suggests, they absorb heat from the air outside your property and use that to heat your home and water.

The pump is placed outside your home, and can still generate heat even when it’s really cold outside. In fact, they can get heat even when it’s a chilly -15 degrees.

There are also ground source heat pumps, which make use of pipes buried in your garden.

The pumps extract heat from the ground, and that heat is then transferred into your radiators, underfloor heating system and your hot water inside the house.

Essentially, they do the same job that a traditional heating system does, but are more environmentally friendly, and produce less CO2 in the process.

Make sure you aren't overpaying for the energy you use: find cheap energy deals with Compare the Market

Will heat pumps save you money?

There are a few different ways that heat pumps save you cash.

Firstly, while they will need electricity in order to run, the actual amount used is likely going to be smaller because the pump is using renewable heat from the environment to heat your home.

As a result, you’re going to be using less energy overall than you would through a conventional electric heating system.

However, the Energy Saving Trust points out that you’re unlikely to save much, if at all, if you’re switching from a mains gas system.

But then there are the Renewable Heat Incentive payments (RHI).

These payments come from the Government and are designed to encourage people to utilise renewable heating technology within their homes.

The payments are made on a quarterly basis over seven years, so you can enjoy some bonus money coming your way from the Government, on top of the lower energy bills.

Be warned, the RHI scheme closes next year so you’ll need to get your pump installed before that in order to benefit from the ongoing payments. 

Find out how much it will cost to install a heat pump in your home by following this link to Boiler Guide. You'll get three free quotes from local engineers.

Buying and installing a heat pump: costs

There’s no avoiding the fact that a heat pump is an expensive option, costing as much as £13,000.

That’s simply too much money for most of us to shell out ‒ even Boris Johnson agreed, stating that “at the moment the prices are too high”.

However, it’s worth highlighting the fact that there are plenty of schemes in place designed to help with that initial cost. 

In Scotland for example Home Energy Scotland offers interest-free loans, meaning you can spread the payments, while south of the border individual providers are coming up with their own ways to make it more affordable.

Take Igloo Energy, which has a programme that means you can fund the installation with the Renewable Heat Incentive payments which you would usually receive in stages over the coming years.

In other words, while the headline bill of having a heat pump installed is considerable, in practice it doesn’t have to break the bank.

Make sure you aren't overpaying for the energy you use: find cheap energy deals with Compare the Market

Is a heat pump right for my home?

It’s easy to assume that such technology is only going to be suitable for new builds, or at least modern properties.

But the reality is that this isn’t the case. As the Energy Saving Trust points out, heat pumps can be fitted into pretty much any type of property and can actually be particularly effective on older buildings which are generally difficult to heat.

Of course, you will still need to establish whether a pump is really suitable for your home.

You’ll need the space outside the property to keep it for example, while the size of the pump you need will vary depending on the size of your home. As a general rule, the larger the property, the larger the heat pump required.

The insulation of your home is also crucial.

Heat pumps work best when producing heat at a lower temperature than traditional boilers, so you need to make sure your home is properly insulated and draught-proofed so that you don’t end up losing any of the heat generated.

Finally, you can’t ignore the fact that the pump will produce some noise.

It certainly won’t be as bad as some critics argue ‒ modern heat pumps are incredibly efficient, and so are unlikely to make much more noise than your fridge. But it’s still something to bear in mind.

If it's not for you, find out how much a traditional boiler will cost you by entering your details below.

*This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently.


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