Homeowners set to be offered £5,000 grants for heat pumps – everything we know

New gas boilers are slated to be banned from 2035 – with £ 5,000 grants starting April to get heat pumps instead. But homeowners will still be hooked for thousands of pounds

Solaris Energy air source heat pump installers in Folkestone, Kent

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Homeowners are to be offered a £ 5,000 grant to replace their old gas boilers with more environmentally friendly heat pumps.

The program is slated to go live in April 2022 as part of an upcoming government announcement.

The money will be a major lifeline for UK homeowners as ministers prepare to ban the installation of new gas boilers from 2035.

But it won’t cover the full cost of installing a heat pump – as homeowners will have to dig thousands of extra pounds.

Those who cannot afford the change yet have to wait and hope that the price of the technology will drop to an affordable level in many years’ time.

The full policy was due to be released on Monday but has been postponed due to the assassination of Tory MP Sir David Amess. That said, here is what we know so far about what the government is going to do.

What are heat pumps?

They are a way of heating houses with electricity from the grid instead of gas, which can be produced sustainably in the future.

Instead of using gas to heat water in a boiler, your heating system is filled with a refrigerant that compresses and expands as it moves through different parts of the circuit.

With an air source heat pump, the refrigerant flows through a unit on the outside of the building in which air is blown over the pipes and heats the refrigerant. Electricity is then used to condense it, raise the temperature further and allow it to carry the heat into the house.

In a geothermal heat pump, the heat is obtained from water that circulates in underground pipes and then transferred to the refrigerant gas.

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Why are they needed?

Tory ministers are focusing on heat pumps as an important way to meet the UK’s “net zero” carbon emissions target by 2050.

They will also reduce households’ direct reliance on gas, which prices have skyrocketed in the past six months.

The UK has already announced that it intends to install 600,000 heat pumps annually by 2028.

All of this should – in theory – help to slow down the impact of humanity on the environment and climate change.

The days of the gas boiler are numbered – slowly


Getty Images / iStockphoto)

Who can receive the £ 5,000 grant and when?

Although the details have not yet been released, a grant program is expected to be launched in April 2022.

It will offer grants of £ 5,000 for air source heat pumps and £ 6,000 for geothermal heat pumps to owner-occupiers and landlords, confirmed sources.

It is believed to be worth about £ 400 million in total, or enough for about 80,000 air source heat pump grants.

As you may notice, that is nowhere near enough for everyone in the country. Application criteria are not yet known.

Will the grants cover the full cost?

No. Heat pumps are currently costing £ 10,000 or more to install, which means anyone who chooses the grant will also have to pay a large down payment themselves.

Currently, households must pay more than the total cost of a new gas boiler, which can be up to £ 2,500.

As part of the announcement, it is assumed that the government will express an effort to bring the average cost of a heat pump down to £ 5,000 within three years.

And by 2030, the government aims to have energy companies demand the same for heat pumps and standard boilers.

But the scholarship program will be designed for those (wealthier) innovators who are ready to put their hands in their pockets now.

What if we don’t have space for a heat pump?

Not all buildings are suitable for a heat pump. It requires an outdoor unit and would ideally – according to the Energy Saving Trust – use underfloor heating instead of radiators.

There will be alternatives for other homes once new gas boilers are banned in 2035, but the future is still a little blurry.

The ministers are working on “heating networks” that use a central source such as excess energy from a factory to heat several thousand apartments at the same time.

Officials have also looked at options like injecting hydrogen into gas lines, but this is at an early stage and a decision is not expected until 2026.

What about social housing?

Social housing is not covered by the upcoming announcement. Sources insist that £ 1.3 billion is already being invested in various lower-level energy efficiency measures.

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