Boilers vs. Heat Pumps
In this article we compare traditional fossil fuel burning boilers to Air Source Heat Pumps. Currently in the UK, little is known about the benefits of installing an Air Source Heat Pump. We are woefully behind our European cousins when it comes to the future of heating our homes, so here’s a simple comparison of the 4 factors that matter most to help you to chose the best way to heat your home:
1. Which is the most efficient and which will save you money?
2. How long does they last?
3. How much do they cost to install?
4. How much do they cost to run?
A modern boiler can be up to 92% efficient, whereas the older models that are in most homes will be around 50-75% efficient. To put it simply, energy wasted is money wasted.
Air Source Heat Pumps are around 350% efficient. This makes the 3.5 – 7 times more efficient than a gas boiler! Which means that you could make considerable savings.
You might be wondering how something can be 350% efficient. This figure reflects the amount of energy that goes in a system compared to the amount of heat energy that comes out.
If you put 1KW of Gas or Oil into a boiler it’ll give you 0.9kW of heat. This equals 90% efficiency
If you put 1KW of Electricity into an ASHP it’ll give you 3.5kW of heat. This equals 350% efficiency.
Lifespan And Maintenance
Typically, a Gas or Oil boiler will last 8 – 12 years with regular service and maintenance.
A yearly emissions check is required to ensure against the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from a boiler. In addition to this, you should have a Carbon Monoxide alarm installed in your home for your family’s safety.
Oil boilers can require additional maintenance when they run out of fuel as they require an engineer to call and bleed the system before it’ll work again. This can leave you without central heating for up to 4 days.
A Good quality Air Source Heat Pump Can Last Up to 25 years. Since they have very few moving parts its recommended that you have it serviced once a year however it is not always necessary.
A visual check and external clean carried out by the homeowner is often sufficient.
Since an Air Source Heat Pumps does not burn fossil fuel, there is no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and no need for any kind of alarm system in your home.
On average, the installation cost of a replacement
boiler is between £2,500-£4,500, depending on the type and size of the boiler, whether any additional work is required, and the labour involved.
The initial capital outlay for an Air Source Heat Pump is significantly higher than a boiler, with the average cost being around £15,000. However, the Government backed Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) allows you to claim up to £12,800 back from the scheme in return for installing a heat pump.
This equals a net outlay of as little as £2,200.
At the time of writing, Gas prices have dipped but remain higher than they have been over the last 4 years. The price of oil dropped to a very brief low at the end of April 2020 and then climbed back up over the following months. Even with the price of fossil fuel at a temporary low they remain considerably more expensive when compared to a heat pump.
With a heat pump your not burning any fuel, you’re merely using electricity to power a compressor within the Heat Pump unit.
The actual heat energy is collected from the cost-free air outdoors.
Due to the coefficient of performance being over 1:3, resulting in more than 3kW of heat being produced for every 1kW of electricity consumed, you can expect savings of between 40-75% compared to fossil fuels.
Is There A Winner?
When it comes down to the factors that matter most, a heat pump comes out on top every time. Combined with the benefit of the RHI payments, the net outlay to install one is the same or even less that as a gas or oil boiler.
The running costs of a heat pump are significantly lower than any other heating system. Its lifespan exceeds that of a boiler and rarely needs to be serviced. Since it burns no fossil fuels there is no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning either.
To top it off, the government has issued a ban on all new boilers from 2025. This means that if you choose to get a boiler, by 2025 parts will become scarce and repairs more expensive, leading to an even higher running cost.