UK: To Replace Gas Boilers with Low-carbon Heat Pumps

heat pumps to replace gas boilers in the UK. Image : istock

The use of heat pumps could help the UK meet its climate targets.

The UK government has announced that it will offer households in England and Wales grants of £5,000 from next year April to help them replace old gas boilers with low carbon heat pumps.

For the next three years, the UK as part of its plan to cut its reliance on fossil fuel heating, heat pumps are going to be used, but there are concerns over high installation and running costs.

And as part of its Heat and Buildings Strategy, £450 million has been allocated to the boiler upgrade scheme, to serve 90,000 homes which will run over three years. Although up to 25 million UK homes have gas boilers.

What are heat Pumps?

Electric heat pump works by extracting warmth from the outside air, the ground or a nearby water source before concentrating the heat and transferring it indoors. They look like a standard air-conditioning unit.

Heat pumps are environmentally friendly and an alternative to gas boilers to heat homes and buildings. But they are much more efficient than a gas boilers.

Therefore all homeowners, small landlord and private landlords will be encouraged to switch to a heat pump or other low-carbon technology when they need to replace their boilers. They will be eligible for the Boiler Upgrade scheme.

But, the scheme will not be made available to social housing and new build properties.

The government pledged that the heating systems will be no more expensive to run than gas boilers and that the £5,000 subsidies will make the installation of the pump no more costly than a new gas boiler.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson stressed that people will not be forced to remove existing gas boilers, in “The Sun” paper on Monday, 18 October.

Heat pumps are quite expensive to install compared to a gas boiler. They start at £6,000 for an air source pump, and at least £10,000 for a ground source pump. However the price is expected to drop in the coming years as more are installed.

Meantime, the government’s £5,000 grants should help to bridge the cost difference.