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Are Air Source Heat Pumps Worth It?

Author: David Edwards
Updated: Oct 23, 2023
10 minutes read
  • Over its lifetime, an air source heat pump can save you £2,830
  • With the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, you can save £7,500 on installation costs
  • VAT has been scrapped from 5% to 0% on air source heat pumps for five years
  • By getting an air source heat pump, it can shrink your carbon footprint by 38%

The UK Government has confirmed that as of 2035, gas boilers may be banned for sale. Therefore air source heat pumps are ready to step in.

Plus, homeowners will longer have to pay tax as the VAT on heat pumps has been scrapped from 5% to 0% for the next five years. One of these machines could not only save you thousands of pounds but also cut your carbon emissions, and cool and heat your home.

They also work so quietly that you’ll barely hear them, and instead of taking up space inside, they actually fit neatly on the outside of your house.

So yes, air source pumps are absolutely worth it and we’ll explain why.

Air source heat pump unit

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Why Get An Air Source Heat Pump?

Cleaner Heat: Air source heat pumps use very little electricity, so they’re a low-carbon way of heating

Robust: Air source heat pumps can last for at least 20 years which is longer than the average lifespan of a gas boiler

Financial Aid: You can get a grant from the government which will subsidise the installation on your air source heat pump by £5,000 and a new ground source heat pump by £6,000

Can You Save Money with Air Source Pumps

Yes you can save money with an air source heat pump. Compared to a gas boiler, an air source heat pump will save you roughly £2,827 over its lifetime. This is due to a combination of gas prices rising, the Government's Boiler Upgrade Scheme, the upcoming ban on gas boilers and increasing efficiency of air source heat pumps.

But you should take into account whether you would need to change radiators or install underfloor heating which could add to your expenses.

Here are some of the factors to consider:

Government Grants

The Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) closed in March 2022. If you secured access to the RHI before then, then the Government will send you payments quarterly over seven years, based on the amount of electricity your air source heat pump generates.

In April 2022, the RHI was replaced by the Boiler Upgrade Scheme. The newer scheme subsidises the installation on your air source heat pump by £7,500 and the same for new ground source heat pumps.

Air source heat pumps usually cost £10,000 to buy and install, so you could be getting it for three quarters of the price. See our guide for more information on how much a heat pump will cost to run.

Over 20 years, heating your home with a gas boiler will cost around £17,788 in total. Meanwhile a typical air source heat pump will cost roughly £14,960, which means you’ll be saving £2,827. Plus with a heat pump, you will only need to replace it every 20 years, whereas with a gas boiler, it should be replaced every 10 years.

This means heating your home with gas will cost you another £3,300 at a time when a heat pump would only be entering the second half of its expiration.

Even with gas being cheaper than electricity, that’s a big gap. It might be that a heat pump will be more expensive at first, but it’s cheaper overall. There are also a range of other grants available to families with low-incomes across the UK. If you want to find out more you can head over to our government grants article for air source heat pumps.

The Gas Boiler Ban

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme seems to have been made with the gas boiler ban in mind, along with it’s target to install 600,000 heat pumps in homes each year by 2028, even though the Government hasn’t given an exact date for the ban.

But it makes sense to take advantage of the Government initiatives to be in line with the new rules.

Growing Demand and Increasing Efficiency

While announcing the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, the Government spoke about the increasing popularity of heat pumps.

So as demand rises, it’s likely that supply will too, which should significantly reduce the price of heat pumps across the next few years.

Heat pumps are also becoming more efficient, their typical rate is 400%, but some of the top models have already hit 500%, which would enable an even higher amount of energy bill savings over the pump's lifetime.

Combine this with the imminent gas boiler ban, and starts to make more sense to get a heat pump.

Check out the graph below to see how many air source heat pumps were installed across the UK over 2022. Of the 29,330 installed last year, the most were installed in March.

Will The Radiators Need To Be Changed?

To use their new heat pump effectively, most homes will need larger radiators.

Another great way to disperse warmth with a heat pump is underfloor heating, although this is usually only possible on the ground floor of your home.

The reason for the changes is because heat pumps produce low-flow heat, which means they create the same amount of warmth, but at a lower temperature and across a longer timescale. Which is why they require a bigger surface area to warm up your home.

Also, this means your radiators may not be hot when you touch them, even when they're actively working to warm your home.

To find out more, it’s worth contacting a few heat pump companies to check whether or not you need new radiators or underfloor heating.

The Benefits of An Air Source Heat Pump

There are many benefits of an air source heat pump, they are incredibly efficient, they can cool and heat your home, and can create energy from air which is a completely renewable resource.

According to the International Energy Agency, a large percentage of homes in Europe, North America, and northern Asia are set to have air source heat pumps by 2030.

Also you can save £2,827 over the course of your heat pump’s lifetime with the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, compared to gas boilers.

In addition to the financial benefits, you’ll also remove a large amount of CO2 from your yearly total by replacing your gas boiler with a heat pump.

Heat Pumps as Air Conditioners

You can also reverse the air source heat pump’s entire purpose and provide cool air when it gets hot.

So instead of taking air from outside and converting it to warm your home, a dual option heat pump can switch it and actually remove warm air from inside your house.

It can also cool down the hot air and release it just like an air conditioner. Whereas a gas boiler cannot do any of that.

Is An Air Source Heat Pump Noisy?

According to Government guidelines, an air source heat pump is prohibited from exceeding 42 decibels from a window or door of your nearest neighbour’s home.

This low level of noise is the roughly the same as a refrigerator’s background hum

It might be possible to increase the 42dB limit by requesting special planning permission, but it shouldn’t be necessary, as heat pumps have been built with this 2012 regulation in mind.


Air source heat pumps are absolutely worth it. They're a low carbon way of heating your home, they last longer than the average boiler and financial aid is provided by the government that could see you save £5,000 off the cost of installation. Imagine the idea of potentially saving more than £2,800 over the next 20 year plus the reduction of CO2 per year.

When you consider the scheme and the upcoming ban on gas boilers in new homes, air source pumps start to sound even more appealing. With a total ban on new gas boiler that seems inevitable by 2035, you should take advantage of government schemes and enjoy a greener, cheaper heating system.