Aug 2021 Heat Pumps

Air source heat pumps provide efficient heating solutions for your home. They convert solar heat stored in the air into energy, providing heat for domestic purposes, allowing you to create your own renewable energy, and potentially save money on your heating bills. 

Heat pumps are a low carbon alternative to traditional gas boilers and will play an essential part of the UK’s goal of reaching the Net Zero Target by 2050. Gas boilers are due to be phased out, and all new homes will be banned from installing them by 2025, meaning that air pumps will become a much more familiar part of our lives from now on.

Whilst air source heat pumps have many benefits, people are often put off installing one by the initial cost of installation, which can range from £8,000 to £18,000 depending on a variety of factors, including the size of your home and how well insulated it is. However, there are a number of grants available to cover some – or all – of the cost of your air pump installation.

Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (Domestic RHI)

The Domestic RHI is a financial incentive scheme launched by the UK government to promote the use of renewable heat. It is intended to encourage people to switch to heating systems that use energy sources which will help the UK reduce carbon emissions and meet renewable energy targets. People who join the scheme receive quarterly payments every year for seven years for the amount of renewable heat it’s estimated their system produces. 

The scheme is open to anyone who is able to meet the criteria for joining, and is available for homes both on and off the gas grid. You can apply if you live in England, Scotland or Wales but must either own your home or be a private or social landlord.

The Clean Heat Grant

The Clean Heat Grant scheme is currently being consulted on by the government and is proposed to replace the Domestic RHI from April 2022 to March 2024. The scheme will deliver grants of up to £4000 towards heat pump installations in UK households. Rather than using a tariff-based system like the RHI, it is expected to be a flat-rate grant that will help with the upfront costs of installing heat pumps, which can be a barrier for some people who wish to install one.

Warmer Homes Scotland

People who live in Scotland can apply to be part of the Scottish Government’s Warmer Homes Scotland scheme, which offers support and funding to households struggling to stay warm and pay their heating bills. Expert advisors offer advice tailored specifically to your home, which can include insulation, tackling condensation and damp, and switching to a renewable heating system like a heat pump. 

The scheme is aimed at homeowners and private sector tenants who have lived in their home for more than 12 months, and who meet various criteria, such as their house having an energy rating of 67 or lower and which isn’t more than 230 square metres in floor size. Over 17,000 Scottish households have already had energy saving measures installed in their homes using the scheme, and have saved an average of £300 per year on energy bills.

Home Energy Scotland Loan

Funding of up to £38,500 per home is available to owner occupiers in Scotland from the Home Energy Scotland loan. This includes £15,000 for a range of energy efficiency improvements, plus an additional £17,500 for the installation of clean, renewable energy systems such as heat pumps. It’s important to note that this system is a loan, rather than a grant, and you will be expected to pay it back. The amount you have to repay, and the amount of time you can take to repay it, varies depending on how much you borrow. 

However, it is an interest-free loan, which means you pay back the exact amount you borrowed and will not accrue more debt over time. You can’t begin work on installing an air pump until you have received the loan offer in writing, meaning you can’t claim for an air pump that was installed before you made your application.

Nest Scheme, Wales

The Welsh Assembly launched Nest in 2011 to replace the previous Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (HEES). The aim of Nest is to reduce the number of households living in fuel poverty and make Welsh homes more fuel efficient and warmer places to live. 

The scheme is available to people in Wales who receive a means tested benefit, such as housing benefit, universal credit or working tax credit, and live in homes that are hard to heat. You may be eligible for the scheme if you own or privately rent your home and that home is not energy efficient (F or G rated). An expert advisor will come and assess your home, then offer a range of improvements, at no cost to you. These improvements could include the installation of renewable energy technologies, such as a heat pump, and will lower your energy bills, as well as making your home warmer.

Having a heat pump fitted may feel like an impossible ideal if you don’t have the money immediately available to pay for its installation. The initial financial outlay for having a pump can be large, which proves a real barrier for many people who wish to use clean, renewable energy in their home. However, there are various grants, loans and funds available to help, and the UK government, as well as Britain’s devolved governments, are keen to provide incentives to enable people to have energy-efficiency improvements made in their homes.