- /Heat pumps versus gas boilers
Heat pumps versus gas boilers
The UK government has set an ambitious plan to phase out new gas boilers in new build properties by 2025 and extend this ban to all domestic properties by 2035. This transition marks a significant shift towards greener, more sustainable heating solutions. That means you can currently still get a new gas boiler installed in your property until 2035, but if you’re thinking about replacing your boiler any time soon, then it’s worth considering upgrading to a heat pump.
Heat pumps versus gas boilers
Under the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS), the UK government is championing air source and ground source heat pumps as successors to traditional gas boilers. The BUS offers substantial capital grants to support the installation of heat pumps and biomass boilers in homes and non-domestic buildings across England and Wales. As certified installers, we can help you apply for a grant of up to £7,500 towards the installation of an air source heat pump. However, before making any decisions, it’s important to have all the facts at your disposal.
At the end of the day, gas boilers and heat pumps both deliver hot water and central heating. But that’s where the similarities end. There are pros and cons to both technologies. So, to help you weigh up your options and make an informed decision, this article will compare heat pumps and gas boilers and break down the key considerations including cost to install and run, as well as eco-friendliness and efficiency, amongst others.
Gas boiler installation is typically quick and straightforward. On the other hand, installing an air source heat pump generally takes a little longer, around two to three days, depending on your property. Ground source heat pumps, however, are more time-consuming, requiring up to four to six weeks due to the need to dig boreholes and trenches.
Cost to install
Gas boilers are relatively affordable, with installation costs ranging from £1,500 to £4,000. Buying and installing an air source heat pump can cost between £7,000 to £13,000, while ground source heat pumps and installation combined can cost between £14,000 and £19,000. But don’t forget, with the BUS, you can cut £7,500 off the price of your heat pump, which can means an air source heat pump might currently cost less than a gas boiler.
Cost to run
Gas boilers rely on burning gas, while heat pumps run on electricity. The running cost comparison depends on the unit costs of each fuel. According to government statistics, the average annual gas boiler requires 13,600 kWh. As of July to September 2023 official government figures show that the UK averaged 27.67 pence per kWh for electricity and 6.77 pence per kWh of gas for pre-payment customers. If you are on a standard variable rate figures average 28.68 pence per kWh for electricity and 7.15 pence per kWh for gas for the same period.
For an average home, a well installed and efficient heat pump could save £261 per year in energy costs compared to a gas boiler. The savings potential increases further with proper insulation measures and the integration of solar panels.
When fitted correctly, heat pumps significantly outperform gas boilers in terms of efficiency. A modern A-rated gas boiler is about 90% efficient. That means it can convert 90% of the energy it uses into heat energy and 10% is wasted. An air source heat pump achieves an efficiency rate of around 300% and ground source heat pumps can exceed 400%. That means for every 1kWh of electricity used, it will generate three to four times as much heat.
Heat pumps run on electricity, which releases fewer emissions than gas, since just under 43% of UK electricity comes from renewable sources1. Gas boilers, on the other hand, are powered by natural gas – a fossil fuel that’s responsible for around 75% of global emissions.2
So, in terms of environmental impact, heat pumps are the clear winner. According to calculations, using a heat pump instead of a gas boiler could reduce your annual carbon footprint by around 44%.
Installing a heat pump system is more challenging than installing a gas boiler as most UK homes were not designed with this system in mind. Heat pumps produce heat at lower temperatures than gas boilers, which means you’ll need larger radiators and good insulation to maintain the same levels of heat that a gas boiler would produce. To make your home suitable for a heat pump, it’s worth installing wall and loft insulation and investing in radiators that are 2.5 times larger than average units. Obviously there’s a cost factor attached to this.
Heat pumps may also be a challenge because heat pump’s external unit is fitted outside, so if you don’t have much space outside of your property, or you live in a high-rise flat, finding somewhere to put it can be a problem. For ground source heat pumps, you need to have enough space in your garden to house the boreholes or trenches that absorb heat from the ground.
Gas boilers, on the other hand, have very little limitations. In fact, the only homes that aren’t suitable for gas boilers are ones that aren’t connected to a gas line.
Heat pumps generally require less maintenance than gas boilers. Air source heat pumps should be serviced by a specialist heat pump engineer every two to three years, with regular checks for debris in the outside unit. Ground source heat pumps require even less maintenance due to their underground infrastructure. Gas boilers, however, typically need annual checks, which can cost between £50 and £100.
If you’ve decided a heat pump is the better option for you, and you want to know how much it would cost, get in touch today. One of our experienced installers will come out to you and conduct a free home assessment. We’ve got national coverage so we can get an engineer out to you wherever you are. We’ll then advise on the right heat pump for your home and design a system that delivers optimum performance. We will also assess your eligibility for the government’s £7,500k BUS grant. What are you waiting for? Get in touch!