Replacing a gas boiler with a heat pump

More and more households are looking into possible solutions to heat their homes this winter as energy expenses rise.

Families will be protected from global oil and gas price surges by switching from a boiler to an air source heat pump. In a bid to combat climate change, homeowners are being offered £5,000 incentives to exchange boilers with heat pumps that run on electricity.

In a short period of time, a boiler can create a lot of heat with a large temperature differential.

As a result, a boiler can work with extremely hot radiators. In contrast, a heat pump generates heat more slowly and with a smaller temperature differential. Because of the heat pump’s low temperature, the radiator (or emitter) must have a substantially larger surface area.

Is a Heat Pump worth it?

A ground source heat pump is typically deemed to be more suited to larger homes, whereas an air source heat pump or ground source heat pump is suitable for properties under 300m2.

In older, less efficient structures, boilers are more adapted to producing quick heat. Other than that, A heat pump usually lasts considerably longer than a boiler.

So, as you’ll be spending more money, it won’t need to be replaced as frequently. Every 8-10 years, modern boilers must be replaced.

The heat pump may heat a home for more than 20 years, possibly even 30 if properly maintained.

How much does a heat pump cost?

On a new construction property, expect to spend around £8,000 or even £16,000 for an air source heat pump installation, and up to roughly £28,000 for an established property – this should include replacing all the radiators and rebuilding a lot of the pipes.

Installing a ground source heat pump will cost between £14,000 and £25,000, maybe even more if you do need a substantial borehole collector.

If you have a digger and can excavate the horizontal trenches yourself, you might just save money on installation.

A conventional combi boiler will cost between £1,000 and £2,000, based on the manufacturer and model.

The installation will cost around £1,000, bringing the total expenditure to £2,000 to £3,000 for a basic gas boiler replacement.

Do heat pumps heat as well as gas boilers?

A heat pump is an absolute champion when it comes to CO2 emissions and can give a higher efficiency rate than a boiler.

However, while a ground or air source heat pump with a COP (Coefficient of Performance) of roughly 3 outperforms an electric boiler and oil-powered boilers in terms of cost and emissions, it falls short of outperforming a gas boiler.

Heat pumps do take electricity to function, however, the heat supplied to the residence can be 300 percent to 500 percent higher than the electricity used due to the refrigeration (vapor compression) cycle.

Given the high beginning expenses and restricted heating output of a heat pump, a gas boiler may prove to be both cheaper and more efficient, particularly during the cold winter days when you may want a higher heat yield.

Given the constant advancement of heat pumps, we may expect them to enhance their performance rate in the near future, setting greater efficiency criteria that will be difficult to match with other heating devices on the market.

The UK government is also attempting to facilitate the move to low-carbon heating solutions and considering that many traditional boiler manufacturers now provide hybrid systems and heat pumps, they believe this shift has a lot of promise.

Heat Pump Pros and Cons

The following are advantages of heat pumps:

  • Reduced operating costs
  • Maintenance is reduced.
  • Improved security lowers carbon emissions and provides cooling.
  • Long life expectancy
  • RHI scheme eligibility

Heat pumps have the following disadvantages:

  • The initial investment is high
  • Installation is difficult and sustainability is in doubt.
  • Significant effort is required.
  • It faces problems in the cold
  • Planning approval is necessary.

Gas Boiler Pros and Cons

The following are advantages of gas boilers:

  • Electricity is more expensive.
  • Can fulfill increased heating and hot water demands
  • There are more gas boilers on the market, which means more options.
  • A Gas Safe licensed engineer can easily replace a like-for-like gas boiler.
  • For households connected to the gas grid, this is the most cost-effective alternative.

Gas boilers have the following disadvantages:

  • If the boiler is put in a rental property or to keep the guarantee valid, an annual boiler service is highly recommended and required.
  • Additional moving parts can result in more problems.
  • Gas boilers are quite huge.
  • If there is a significant failure, there is a risk of carbon monoxide leakage.

Who is a heat pump not suitable for?

If someone’s home is inadequately insulated and they have a limited budget, they should focus on insulation first and heat pumps later.

Even their outdated heating will provide some satisfaction by spending less energy. And the money they save will go toward a heat pump installation down the road.

What grants are available?

From April 1, 2022, residents of England and Wales can apply for £5,000 towards the cost of an air source heat pump or £6,000 for a ground source system.

If you live in Scotland, you can claim an interest-free loan to pay for energy efficiency improvements in advance, such as air source heat pumps and other energy-saving technologies. In Scotland and Wales, there are also handouts for low-income households.

A 45kWth installation capacity is required for the site and a certified Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) with no outstanding loft or cavity wall insulation recommendations (unless you have an insulation exemption)

Replacing a Boiler with a Heat Pump Conclusion

Before rushing into the installation, it’s critical that this estimate be done correctly to ensure that the home isn’t left cold in the winter or that an overly large heat pump is installed, costing you more than the system requires.

It is, however, dependent on a number of criteria, including the size of your home, your budget, your heating needs, and more. It is always best to conduct research and choose which choice best meets your requirements.