Heat pumps: How they work and where to get one?

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.

Some Related Heat Pumps Topics and Links

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