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How to Choose a Heat Pump Installer

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Heat pump technology

Installing a heat pump system is a cost-effective investment that reduces carbon emissions and cuts fuel bills. Finding the right contractor to do the job is critical to get the full benefit of this green technology and maximise energy efficiency and savings.

But choosing a heat pump installer can feel overwhelming. This guide will make the process much easier as we examine the key factors in reaching the right decision. You can then be confident of getting a high-standard heat pump installation that will keep your home warm and provide all the hot water you need.

Air-to-Water Heat Pumps

The most common types of heat pump in the UK are air source heat pumps with an air-to-water system, so that’s what we’ll be focusing on here.

These heat pump systems extract thermal energy from outside air and boost its temperature so it can run water-based central heating, including a hot water supply. In hot weather, the air-to-water heat pump provides both heating and the option of acting as a cooling system, much like an air conditioner.

Heat Pump Installation Issues and How to Avoid Them

Installing an air-to-water heat pump requires an understanding of both electrics and plumbing technologies. This enables heat pump contractors to work with low-temperature heating systems, weather compensation controls, and vapour compression cycles – key components in the heart pump system.

Multiple issues can arise when installing heat pumps if it isn’t installed correctly by a qualified heating engineer with all the required certificates. These include low efficiency, reduced heat output, and high running costs. You could also be faced with ongoing costly repairs, and your heat pump may need replacing well before its expected lifespan. 

Making sure you choose the right heat pump installer will avoid these problems and give you peace of mind of a highly functional and optimised green technology heating system that can last 20 years.

When looking for the right contractor, you need to look into their reputation and credentials and ability to help you get a heat pump grant. A good heat pump installer will also understand the importance of a home energy efficiency survey before starting work.

Investigate the Heat Pump Company’s Reputation

Look for a heat pump installer with a reputation for integrity, quality work, and excellent customer service. Ask neighbours, friends or family members if they can recommend a company that’s installed a heat pump for them.

If you can’t find a word-of-mouth recommendation, check out online reports on heat pump contractors. You can find these on review platforms and social media. The company’s own website may also include customer reviews and/or case studies.

Or you can save time and effort by getting a green energy specialist to do the research for you. Reliable services are available that make it far easier to find a heat pump installer you can trust

Make Sure Your Heat Pump Installer in MCS Certified

Not all heat pump installers are accredited by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). It pays to check that your plumbing and heating contractor is MCS certified.

MCS accreditation guarantees high industry standards in both manufacture and installation of small-scale renewable energy systems such as heat pumps. As such, the MCS mark of quality is evidence that your contractor is a skilled heat pump installer who works with the best heat pump products. Having an MCS installer also opens the door to heat pump grants. 

Heat Pump Grants

Heat pump contractors need to be MCS approved to apply for a government-backed grant on the customer’s behalf. This free funding can cover the entire cost of your heat pump installation or a large part of it. 

Under the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS), you could get up to £7,500 off your air source heat pump. This could make the cost of installation around the same as getting a new boiler. The scheme is scheduled to run until the end of March 2028.

Alternatively, households on low income can get heat pump funding from the Energy Company Obligation Scheme (ECO4). This scheme, due to run until March 2026, pays 100 percent of an air source heat pump installation.

Other heat pump grants for households on low incomes include the Home Upgrade Grant (HUG) in England, Warmer Homes Scotland, and the Nest scheme in Wales.

Make Sure Your Home Gets an Energy Efficiency Survey

Your heat pump contractor should arrange an energy efficiency survey to determine whether your home is currently suitable for a heat pump to work effectively. If not, certain measures may be necessary to ensure your property is heat pump ready.

Each home is unique, and the energy efficiency survey facilitates a custom heat pump installation tailored to its needs. 

The survey entails a detailed inspection to assess:

  • The size of your house and construction materials.
  • Areas of heat loss.
  • Effectiveness of existing insulation.
  • Number and type of windows.
  • Suitable locations for the heat pump installation.

The survey will also determine whether your existing heating system is suitable for a heat pump. If not, recommendations for upgrades or replacements should be provided.

You’ll also find out your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating, which could be crucial when applying for a heat pump grant. 

An energy efficiency survey determines your home’s heating requirements and the size of heat pump you need to meet them. This ensures your heat pump runs at maximum efficiency and will be a cost-effective investment in the long term.

The survey also identifies any heat loss issues that need to be addressed ahead of heat pump installation. You may, for example, want to consider installing or improving loft insulation or cavity wall insulation or installing double-glazed windows.

Benefits of an Air-to-Water Heat Pump

Air-to-water heat pumps are highly efficient, making big savings on fuel bills. According to the Energy Saving Trust, switching to an air-to-water heat pump from an old gas boiler could save £340 a year. Bigger savings are achievable if you currently have electric storage heaters or an old LPG (liquified petroleum gas) boiler or an oil boiler.

Air-to-water heat pumps cost less than half the price of some other types of heat pumps and can last up to 25 years with proper maintenance.

A wide variety of heat pump grants are available, and we expect to see the cost of air-to-water heat pumps reduced by 25 to 50% by 2025 under the government Heat and Buildings Strategy. And VAT on air-to-water heat pump installation will be zero rated until March 31, 2027.

In most cases, planning permission isn’t needed to install a heat pump unless your property is a listed building or you live in a conservation area.

Benefits of Choosing the Right Heat Pump Installer

Most technical issues with heat pumps arise from poor installation. Knowing what to look for when hiring a heat pump installer will avoid these problems.

Your heat pump will run on a small amount of electricity, achieving upwards of 300 percent energy efficiency. This can cut energy bills by anything from 10 to 40%, saving hundreds of pounds a year while keeping your home at a comfortable temperature throughout the changing seasons.

At the same time, you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint. Air-to-water heat pumps play a crucial role in decarbonising heating systems. They cut annual carbon dioxide emissions by up to 2,800kg.

Access to Heat Pump Grants 

A further, major benefit of working with a qualified heat pump installer is access to government grants. The cost of installing an air-to-water heat pump averages upwards of £11,000 without this financial support.

You can’t apply for a heat pump grant yourself. Your contractor does it on your behalf. And they must be MCS certified to get financial support from the Boiler Upgrade Scheme. If this isn’t the case, you could end up paying thousands of more for your heat pump than you need to.

If you’re in a low-income household, you could get a heat pump installed for free under the ECO4 scheme, but again your installer has to be MCS accredited.

Heating Upgrade Advice

Another benefit of choosing the right heat pump installer is that they’ll be able to advise you on any modifications needed to your existing home heating infrastructure. This is likely to be the case in an older property, especially if you have smaller radiators.

Heat pumps produce heat more slowly than a boiler and at a lower temperature. This means larger radiators are needed to heat the same space. Or your heat pump contractor may recommend switching to underfloor heating, which is an ideal fit with a heat pump.

Finding the Right Heat Pump Installer

Heat Pumps UK makes it easier for homeowners and businesses to find the right heat pump installer. We streamline the whole process with a one-stop heat pump installation resource that will not only find an MCS-certified installer for you but also tell you which heating upgrade grants you could be eligible for.

Our service has no hidden charges and places you under no obligation.

Get a free quote for your heat pump now.

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Ollie Creevy
Ollie has been writing content online about home improvements for over 3 years. With a real interest and in-depth knowledge of heat pumps and ECO home improvement measures you can use to save on your energy bills. Ollie also keeps up to date with all the Government grants available for you to take advantage of like ECO4 and the Boiler Upgrade Scheme.