HEAT PUMPS – THE GOOD AND THE BAD
▪ ENVIRONMENTALLY friendly — cost effective if used with solar panels.
▪ LONG-lasting if it is installed properly.
▪ SAFE to run — no open flames, no danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.
▪ CAN contribute to a healthy home as a result of providing a constant controlled humidity and temperature throughout the year.
▪ CAN switch from heating to cooling with the flip of a switch.
▪ GRANTS are available (£6,000 for ground source heat pumps, £5,000 for air source).
▪ DEPENDENT upon expensive electricity.
▪ CANNOT compete with conventional gas boilers for heat output.
▪ WILL often require existing radiators to be replaced with larger ones.
▪ INSULATION — walls and loft — and double glazing are a necessity.
▪ EXPENSIVE to install (between £7,000 and £13,000 for an air source pump, up to £30,000 for a ground source one). This is before grants available under the Boiler Upgrade Scheme.
▪ AIR source pumps can be ugly and noisy. Ground source pumps require a big garden for pipes to be buried under.
▪ MANY houses — terrace homes and flats — are not suitable for air pumps.
▪ GOVERNMENT grants are attracting ‘cowboy’ installers.
▪ THE units require glycol (anti-freeze) to be replaced regularly, otherwise the pumps can get seriously damaged.
▪ WORST of all, they can be less effective in cold temperatures — which means supplementary heating may be needed.