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Heat Pumps Twice as Efficient as Fossil Fuels in Winter

A heat pump covered in snow outside a brown bricked building
Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Oct 18, 2023
4 minutes read

A new study from Oxford University has found the efficiency of heat pumps easily outperform oil and gas heating systems down to temperatures as low as -30°C. The Regulatory Assistance Project worked alongside the university to dispel heat pump myths that have been circulating about how the UK climate isn’t suited to them. Despite European countries utilising this heating technology effectively for years, more evidence has been released to showcase how useful heat pumps are.

Lack of UK Installations

As always, the UK is slow to adopt any change, especially towards net zero targets. France managed to install ten times as many heat pumps as the UK. Despite having similar markets, France installed over 620,000 heat pumps in 2022, compared to a mere 55,000 in the UK. One of the main issues is that the efficacy of heat pumps has been called into question, despite their widespread use throughout Scandinavia.

Even then, the UK reached a milestone with a record number of heat pumps and solar panels installed earlier this year.

Results of the Research

The research from the Regulatory Assistance Project and Oxford University studied heat pump use across North America, Asia and Europe. In sub-zero temperatures, heat pumps were found to be between two and three times more efficient than using oil and gas heating. According to the authors of the study, the research should provide governments with enough evidence to start rolling out widespread adoption as soon as possible.

Worryingly, Dr Jan Rosenow, co-author of the report, highlighted how much disinformation there was in circulation about heat pumps. He suggested that most people don’t actually know much about the heating technology so it’s easy for scaremongers to spread false facts. With gas boiler lobbyists trying to influence a reduction in heat pump uptake, it’s no wonder that UK installations have been disappointingly slow.

Better Grants from the Boiler Upgrade Scheme

However, despite this, Rishi Sunak announced an increase to the size of grants available for heat pump technology from the end of October 2023. Currently, the grants available for air source heat pumps are £5,000 off the installation, and a similar £6,000 for ground source heat pumps. From Monday 23rd October, these amounts will increase to £7,500.

According to the MCS Installations Database, the average installation cost of a heat pump is £12,680. Air source versions come out at around £12,204, while ground source types are around £25,625. Even with the £7,500 discount, this is still over £5,000. For many households, this is too much of an initial cost.

Affordable Prices

As improvements to heat pump technology are always improving how much you pay for the final product, some schemes are offering heat pumps at discounted rates. A joint project between Octopus Energy and Lloyds Bank has allowed for financing options for homeowners to receive heat pumps from as little as £2,000.

How Much You’d Pay

Heat pumps have multiple benefits, including being up to four times more efficient than other boiler types, so they are a low carbon technology that you can reliably make use of. For further information about heat pumps, including their advantages and disadvantages, check out our heat pumps section.

To find out how much you’d pay, get a tailored quote for a heat pump by clicking on the button below.