Air Source Heat Pumps: Is Now The Time To Switch Your Heating Source?

The 12% bump in the cost of gas bills last October was not welcome news. Worse still, its reported that energy prices could rise by a jaw-dropping 50% in April 2022. 

So when I heard about the government’s plan to drive down the cost of clean heatmy ears were well and truly pricked. Under the Renewable Heating Incentive (RHI), UK households could be awarded grants of up to £5000 to install air-source heat pumps (ASHP). 

The actual amount homeowners receive will be determined by the model of the heat pump, the home energy performance and the type and age of the heating system that is being replaced. 

The typical costs involved in installing an Air Source Heat Pump are around £5,000 to £11,000. It is recommended that you consult with at least three installers for quotes. 

To meet carbon emission targets, the government say that all homes in the UK must be fitted with an energy-efficient heating system by 2025. So, this could be a good time to switch your heating source to an air source heat pump.

Or could it?

It is estimated that funds allocated to the RHI scheme willingly be sufficient enough to cover 90,000 homes in a country of about 25 million dwellings. Flat owners will struggle to get permission due to the complications with installation.

In addition to the cost of the pump, you will also need a new hot water tank. Together with labour costs a family-size three-bed house and larger will typically cost upwards of £15,000.

What are the benefits of a heat pump?

Heat pumps are being sold to the UK with the idea that green living and alternative energy usage is smoother and more affordable. The International Energy Agency (IEA) claims that new gas boilers should not be sold after 2025 if the UK is to hit its net-zero targets by 2050. 

ASHPs are often cited as the most realistic potential to lower carbon emissions. Heat pumps have a superior processing power of 3-4 kWh for every 1kWh of electrical input. They are four times more energy-efficient than gas boilers. 

According to, ASHPs are better suited to properties around 300 sq.m or less. And because they heat at a slower rate, they are only more effective and energy-efficient in well-insulated homes.

This Is Money also point out that the taxes levied on electricity will make heat pumps 30 per cent more expensive to run than a gas boiler. In addition, accreditation firms say heat pumps lower the energy performance certificate (EPC) score from 63 to 60. 

Is installing an air source heat pump worth it?

Switching to an ASHP will be beneficial to the environment. It is estimated that renewable heating systems will save at least 2.5 tonnes of CO2 per year. However, the data does not make good reading for UK households.

Yet with new gas boilers commissioned to end by 2035, homeowners are obligated to switch to a low carbon heating system. Whilst ASHPs offer promise, the existing advantages are not encouraging when weighed against the disadvantages.