The true cost of fitting a heat pump vs H-ready boiler

It could cost Brits five times more to fit a heat pump than a hydrogen-ready boiler, according to a new report published by Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA).

The report, Residential Heat – the Upfront cost of Decarbonising Your Home, reckons households can currently expect to pay up to £15,000 for transition to a heat pump, depending on the property type, compared with less than £3,000 for a hydrogen-ready boiler. In addition to the higher cost of the heat pump itself, the disparity is largely due to the additional energy efficiency measures needed so that it can operate efficiently, plus the need to fit a hot water cylinder and new radiators. Some homes also require new internal pipework.

The government has said that it will offer consumers a grant of £5,000 for the installation of heat pumps, yet the allocated funding is only enough to support 30,000 heat pump installations a year for three years. EUA says its report gives clarity for customers considering the switch to greener energy and is the first in a series that will track progress towards the government’s targets.

EUA CEO Mike Foster says: “Consumers simply do not have the cash to pay for the high upfront costs of many low-carbon heating options. The recent Heat and Building Strategy is right to demand massive reductions in the cost of heat pumps, which, according to this report, can cost consumers up to seven times that of a simple boiler switch.

“Many heating industry experts are sceptical that the scale of the cost reduction can be achieved, with the claim that heat pump costs will be at parity with gas boilers by April next year, as simply implausible.

“Regardless of what happens in the heat pump market, it is increasingly clear that they are not a like-for-like replacement for a gas boiler. Consumers will face considerable disruption, cost and the need for behavioural change to retrofit their homes with a heat pump.

“It is recognised that the majority of UK homes are simply not suitable for heat pumps. When an existing boiler needs replacing, installing a hydrogen-ready version, at no extra cost, means that a householder can switch over to clean-burning hydrogen when it’s available in the network.”

The report highlights that the costs of transitioning to cleaner energy can vary in different homes, depending on the fabric of the building and existing energy efficiency measures.

Mike Foster concludes: “We urge the government to expedite a decision to mandate hydrogen-ready boilers so that when a boiler reaches the end of its natural life, it can replaced with one that is future-proof.”

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