Heating installers divided on heat pumps

A male installer in a blue shirt working on a Baxi heat pump outside a red-brick house (Image courtesy of Baxi)
An installer working on a Baxi heat pump (Image courtesy of Baxi)

Heating installers are divided on whether or not they will install heat pumps in homes, a new report has found.

The report, commissioned by Baxi, cited the cost of training, a lack of customer demand, and excess paperwork as the main barriers to change.

The government has set a target of 600,000 heat pump installations by 2028. That’s 10 times the current market. Baxi warned that it would require an “army” of low-carbon installers to help make the change.

It said it wanted to assess what would encourage installers to start installing more low-carbon sources of heat.

30% ‘extremely unlikely’ to install heat pumps

It found that nearly a third – equivalent to 37,000 of the more than 130,000 UK heating engineers – are ready to embrace heat pumps in the near future. But 30% said they were “extremely unlikely” to install the relatively new technology.

Baxi warned that the government and the industry will need to address the issue of training costs. And it will need to ensure there is enough demand from customers and reduce paperwork.

More support required

Some 39% of installers said they would be more likely to install heat pumps if they received help with training costs. They currently pay the full cost of training and forgo work in order to receive training, according to Baxi.

Meanwhile, 56% of installers said customer demand needed to be addressed. And 38% of installers are concerned about lack of government support for the market. The current Boiler Upgrade Scheme, which pays a maximum £5,000 grant, ends in 2025.

Baxi recommended spelling out stronger government initiatives to drive demand over the next decade. And it added that it wanted to see support for training costs on a first-come, first-served basis. It also suggested an industry-wide campaign to market the role of a low-carbon heating installer to attract new entrants.

Heat pumps ‘vital’ to decarbonise heating

Karen Boswell, managing director of Baxi UK & Ireland, said: “Installers will play an important role as we decarbonise the nation’s heating and it will be vital that the government and industry support them with the right information, incentives and training.

“They will need to be advocates for low-carbon sources of heat and recommend to the nation’s homeowners that they should make the leap to a heat pump. To achieve this, we will need to address their concerns, support them with training, and explain more clearly the financial and non-financial benefits of these appliances.”

To download the full report, click here.

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  1. The Government requirement for the installation of Heat Pumps is flawed! They are before their time, not totally efficiently developed & too costly, just like Electric Cars. If to be presently installed in a home at all, the house needs to be fully insulated, roof, walls, windows & floors, most existing homes are not. Also rads need to be about 2x their present size. Then there is the plumbing required. I recently saw a 4/5 bed new home with a heat pump & a 2m x2.3m X1 m cup’d under the stairs was totally filled with tanks, pressure vessels pipework & valves. Who’s got the existing space for all that? The system in all 4 estate houses had failed 3x in 4 yrs! Then there is the question of cost, the government grant is a drop in the ocean & most home owners will be unable to afford the installation cost. There is also the thorny matter of running costs, they have to run 24/7 on electric & we all know where the cost of that is heading! Like always we the public are being hood winked about the costs etc!

  2. I agree with the observations made by Richard J F Moore. MCIOB on 7 July 2022.

    I’ve run an air to air heat pump for 10 years great in the summer for cooling as the heat pump runs off the free energy from my solar panels.

    During the winter I used my heat pump to space heat my house due to a boiler problem. It worked out at 30-40% more expensive than the cost of gas.

    Heat pumps are good if your property is super insulated, more than just cavity wall insulation and 400mm of loft insulation.

    I feel strongly that more effort should be put in to the insulation of buildings than toting heat pumps because they are not a panacea to the energy crisis.

    We should be using our limited energy more efficiently.

  3. Agree with previous comment that energy efficiency is critical. Shame the government are not listening on this – we need a new Green Homes Grant and more ambitious targets. Yes it will cost money but it’s a long term investment.

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