How do I get my home ready for a heat pump?
Are you considering getting an air source heat pump? Do you want to move away from an oil or gas boiler, and heat your home in a sustainable way instead?
Here’s everything you need to know about getting your home ready for a heat pump.
Energy efficiency improvements before considering a heat pump
25% of a house’s heat is lost through the roof, so checking your home has sufficient loft insulation is a good first step to getting your home ready for a heat pump (and for making substantial savings on your energy bills too.)
If your heating bills are unusually high or you are noticing cold spots in your home, this should be one of the first things you check for. Loft insulation involves laying a material (typically wool) throughout your loft space at a thickness of 270mm. It’s likely to be a job you could do yourself as long as your loft is easy to access and has no issues with damp or mould. Alternatively, you can find an installer on the National Insulation Association. Installing loft insulation from 0-270mm will cost between £300 – £400 and can pay for itself in as little as two years through savings on your energy bills.
Find out more about insulating your loft in this useful guide.
Cavity wall insulation
Around a third of heat loss comes through the walls of your home. If your home was built after around 1920, it’s likely you have cavity walls (two walls with a small gap between them known as a cavity). If your home was built after 1990, insulation was probably installed when the house was built.
Cavity wall insulation involves a professional installer injecting insulation through small holes in your walls using specialist equipment. It’s again a fairly cost-effective process (at between £400 – £600) and you will make back that money through savings on your energy bill within five years.
Find out more about insulating your walls in this useful guide. If your home has solid walls, they can still be insulated. Find out more here.
Installing double glazing is a more expensive upgrade to your home, but as homes lose around 10% of their heat through their windows, this step could help to keep your home more comfortable throughout the year. Find a registered installer through the Glass and Glazing Federation.
Listed properties or those trying to retain the character of a property can consider secondary glazing as an option, which involves fitting a second window inside the original window frame.
Find out more about reducing heat loss through your windows in this article.
My home is energy efficient – now what?
The next step to installing a heat pump is to reach out to a registered installer for a quote; such as Igloo Works (an established heat pump installer that we recently acquired). You can go through the full quote journey online with no obligation to proceed to find out what upgrades your home may need. All of these upgrades will be managed and carried out by your heat pump specialist; and will include:
Air source heat pump
An air source heat pump can be around four times more efficient than a gas or oil boiler; and will be installed on level ground just outside your home. An air source heat pump works by taking energy from the air, and using this to heat up the water that runs through the radiators or underfloor heating in your home and the water in your hot water cylinder.
Most homes considering an air source heat pump will qualify for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme – a £5,000 government grant to help with the cost of installing a new sustainable heating system. All you need to qualify for this is to be the homeowner and to have an up to date Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) showing your space and water heating requirements. You will also need to have no outstanding recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation.
Hot water cylinder
Many homes already have a hot water cylinder, so it’s possible that it could be used as part of your new heating system – your heat pump specialist will be able to advise you on how compatible it would be. If you are replacing a combi boiler however, you will need a new hot water cylinder as part of your upgrade. Our Igloo Works team will recommend the correct size for your property and manage the install for you.
Depending on the size and age of your current radiators; you may be able to keep them and add in just a few additional ones to make your new heating system as efficient as it can be. Radiators with larger surface areas help more heat to be transmitted into your rooms, and therefore allow the system to run at a lower temperature than your current heating system while still keeping your home comfortable.
Your heat pump specialist will be able to recommend which radiators could stay, or potentially be moved to other rooms in your house to keep the costs of additional radiators as low as possible and to minimise waste. Most properties end up needing four radiators as part of their heat pump installation.
Finally, it will be recommended that you install smart thermostats (if you don’t have these already). These will enable you to set schedules and have different zones within your home that you heat at different times (for example heating your lounge in the evening and your bedrooms on a low level overnight). You’ll be able to control all of this via an app on your phone.
If you are considering a heat pump for your home, contact our heat pump installation business, Igloo Works, for your own personalised quote.