Overlay
Save energy at home

What is a heat pump?

How does a heat pump work?

A heat pump is an alternative to a boiler. Heat pumps work similarly to a fridge but in reverse.

They move heat from outdoors into your house. They can also remove excess heat from your house to keep it cool. Different heat pumps use different sources of heat.

Heat pumps could help you save money on energy bills. However, it is important to consult one or more certified installers to make sure it is a suitable heating system for your home.

Could a heat pump save me money?

The amount of money you could save from switching to heat pump will depend on several factors. These include:

  1. 01

    How well your house is insulated. Preventing the heat from escaping through your walls, roof and floors will make your home more energy efficient. Heat pumps deliver medium heat continuously. Therefore, your property will need to be well insulated to fully benefit from the heat pump's higher efficiency.

  2. 02
  3. 03

    Your current heating system. Most heat pumps use radiators and underfloor heating. However, to avoid inefficiencies, you might need to adjust your heating system when installing a heat pump. For example, smaller radiators may make the heat pump work harder than larger radiators. 

  4. 04

    The type of heat pump. Being highly efficient, heat pumps use less energy than they produce. However, different types of heat pump are suitable for different types of homes and the results will vary - depending on the size of the property, the surroundings and the amount of heat required.

Types of heat pump

Air-to-water heat pump

An air-to-water heat pump transfers heat from the outside air to water. It can then be used to heat your home through radiators or underfloor heating. An air-to-water heat pump can be used to heat your water. This is the most common heat pump in the UK.

The costs are between £7,000 and £13,000.

Ground-to-water heat pump

A ground-to-water heat pump (or geothermal heat pump) extracts heat from the ground into a fluid, which then heats up your radiators or underfloor heating. This heat pump can also heat your water.

The costs usually range between £14,000 and £19,000. However, the actual cost will depend on the type of your property and the required groundwork.

Air-to-air heat pump

An air-to-air heat pump is suitable for smaller properties. It uses a fan system for heating and cooling your home. However, air-to-air heat pumps don't heat water.

The advantages of air-to-air heat pumps are the easy installation and lower costs, which could be between £1,600 and £3,100.

Heat pumps v boilers

The suitability of a heat pump or a boiler for your home depends on various factors. If you are considering to switch to a heat pump heating system, make sure you consult a certified heat pump installer.

Costs and support

Heat pumps can cost more than a boiler, but have lower operating costs. 

To support the government's ambition to install only low carbon heating systems from 2025, financial support is available. This means you could be eligible for financial support to help you switch to a heat pump.

Energy efficient

Heat pumps are highly efficient as they can generate between 3-4 times more energy than they consume.

The exact energy savings will depend on your home's current heating system and insulation.

Cleaner energy

Heat pumps can be powered by solar panels or other sources of renewable energy which makes them a better option for the planet. Rather than burning fuel, heat pumps use electricity for power and produce much more energy than they consume.

The efficient use of energy means that, compared to traditional boilers, less carbon dioxide (CO2) is produced in the process of heating your home.

Home energy grants and schemes

There is a range of schemes which offer financial support for your energy saving home improvements.

Scotland

England and Wales

  • The Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) is a scheme offered in England and Wales. Starting in April 2022, BUS will offer a grant up to £6,000 to replace traditional boilers with low-carbon heating alternative. Eligibility criteria regarding current EPC rating and outstanding recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation apply.
  • If you live in Wales, the Nest scheme helps with funding energy efficient improvements in low income households. They also offer free and impartial advice on energy and water saving.

Has this article inspired you to take action?

Great, thank you for your feedback

Looking for more ways to save energy?

See how you could save money in the long term with some changes to help make your home more energy efficient.

Can you tell us why?

Thank you

Your feedback helps us to better understand what we're doing well and where we could improve.

Thank you

Your feedback helps us to better understand what we're doing well and where we could improve.

Thank you

Your feedback helps us to better understand what we're doing well and where we could improve.