The UK government is now offering £5,000 to people in England and Wales to encourage them to replace their old gas boilers with new modern heat pumps.
What is the scheme and who is eligible?
The brand new boiler upgrade scheme was announed in March 2022 by the British goverment to help twowards the cost so there is for more enviromentally friendly ways for people to heat there homes from traditional gas boilers.
There will be grants available for existing homes and non-domestic buildings in England and Wales.
They can be used for the following four systems up to 45kW in size (the average home in the UK requires a 4kW system):
- air source heat pump
- ground source heat pump
- water source heat pump
- biomass boilers (for those living in rural areas or off gas grid)
The property must have an eligible Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) issued in the last 10 years, and the certificate must have no outstanding recommendations to install loft or cavity wall insulation.
If it does, you’ll need to insulate your home first, or as part of the application process.
The scheme will not be available if you live in social housing or a new-build property. Private rented accommodation is also eligible but the decision has to be taken by the landlord.
What will the government pay for?
The government is providing £5,000 for households to install air source heat pumps (ASHPs) – which would cover between 75% and 50% of the cost.
It will provide £6,000 for the less commonly used ground source heat pump (GSHP) or water-source heat pump (WSHP). This would cover between 50% and 30% of the cost of the unit, although the cost of installation (digging a hole, for instance) could be significantly higher.
The government has set aside £450m for this scheme, which will cover a maximum of 90,000 boilers.
If your claiming other grants
You can still apply if you’ve received separate funding for energy efficiency upgrades such as insulation, doors or windows.
If you’re replacing an existing low carbon heating system
Funding will not be available for the replacement of existing low carbon heating systems. Only properties which are fully replacing existing fossil fuel systems (such as oil, gas or direct electric) are eligible for support.
How to get heat pumps voucher?
Once you have been provided with some quotes, the installer or company that you dedide to use can then go and apply for a voucher on your behalf from the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), who are currently managing this scheme.
If Ofgem approves the voucher, ofgem will contact you to make sure the installer is working on your behalf, they will send a direct payment to your chosen installer once all the work is completed. Then you will then have to pay any remaining balance that there could possibly be.
The installation will be completed within three months of the voucher being approved by ofgem for an air source heat pump, or six months for a ground source heat pump.
The scheme is expected to run for three years until 31 March 2025, and it is operating on a first-come, first-served basis.
Will it be cheaper to run than a gas boiler?
Running costs, despite the efficiency figures, aren’t as clear as you might expect. Yes, you do get a lot more heat per the electricity used by going for a heat pump. However, electricity is more expensive than gas and oil. At time of publishing the price of electricity stands at 16.36 pence per kilowatt. Natural gas is nearly four times cheaper at 3.8 pence per kWh paid.
To give all those numbers a bit of context. The average UK home is using around 12,000 kWh each year to heat the place. For a 4kW heat pump that works out at £654.40 per year. The UK average gas bill, using the same 12,000 kWh, currently sits at around £572 per year.
While it looks like gas is cheaper, The Clean Heat Grant from April 2022 which helps with the upfront costs. You could also save money using solar power or wind to get free electricity to help heat your home. But of course you need that kit installed too.
How do heat pumps work?
A heat pump is an electrically powered device that absorbs heat from the air, ground or water around a building.
For example, air-source pumps absorbs heat from the outside air into a liquid refrigerant at a low temperature. Using electricity, the pump compresses the liquid to increase its temperature. It then condenses back into a liquid to release its stored heat. Heat is sent to your radiators or underfloor heating
How much room does a heat pump take up?
A box of about 1m x 1m needs to stand outside – close to, or attached to the property – to draw in air.
It should be at least 1m from your neighbour’s property so they will not be able to hear it. Although it won’t be much louder than a fridge.
You will also need space inside for a heat pump unit and hot water cylinder. The unit will be about the size of a gas boiler. While the cylinder depends on the size of the home.
A ground source heat pump needs much more space outside. Either a bore hole as deep as 100m, or a horizontal system dug into the ground over a large area.
How can we help with heat pumps?
If you would like more information about heat pumps or to quotes for them then you can quite simply go to our tool.