Heat pump installations: challenges and solutions

While the UK was one of the first countries in the world to introduce legally binding targets for the reduction of carbon emissions, we have found ourselves behind many other European countries when it comes to the adoption of low carbon heating solutions.

Heat pump installations: challenges and solutions

Daniel Jackson, UK training manager at Daikin, explores the role that heat pumps play in the UK’s net zero goals, along with the challenges and solutions for installers specifying and installing the technology.

Transitioning to heat pump installations

Heat pump technology stands out as a pivotal low carbon heating option to replace conventional gas and oil boilers. The efficiency of heat pumps is remarkable, producing 3 to 4 kilowatts (kw) of heat for every 1 kw of electricity used. Under optimal conditions, they can achieve an efficiency rate of up to 400%, which significantly surpasses, for example, the estimated 90% efficiency of a gas boiler.

While heat pumps differ from traditional heating systems in some respects, skilled installers can easily acquire the necessary knowledge and qualifications to set up, commission, and maintain them.

Despite concerns among heating engineers about the use of refrigerants in heat pumps, which comes with specific requirements, mono-bloc air source heat pumps, which are ideal for most residential properties, do not demand F-Gas certification for installation. The refrigerant is sealed within the unit, necessitating only water pipe connections between the heat pump and the property’s heating system pipework.

In the coming years, there is a high likelihood of accelerated adoption of heat pumps for several reasons. The Government has already declared its decision to exclude oil and gas boilers from new homes from 2025. Although the precise phase-out timeline for oil and gas boilers is not yet confirmed, it is expected to occur in the near future due to increasing restrictions on fossil fuels like natural gas.

Additionally, since about 80% of the homes that will exist by 2050 have already been constructed, achieving net-zero emissions would entail upgrading as many as 27 million properties to low carbon heating solutions.

Key challenges for installers

Heat pump installers are finding some common challenges when it comes to specifying and installing heat pumps. The first is selecting the correctly-sized and scaled system to install in a building, something that is utterly crucial to ensure the system is as effective as possible. Oversized units can lead to inefficiency and increased costs, while undersized units may struggle to meet the heat demand of the building.

In the current economic climate, the cost of heat pump systems is a key consideration. However, there are a number of schemes currently active that can provide a resolution to these issues.

Incentive schemes

Firstly, there is the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS), an initiative introduced in 2022 by the UK Government to encourage homeowners in England and Wales to transition from gas or oil heating systems to low-carbon heating systems. The scheme provides financial assistance of up to £5,000 to help cover the initial expenses of installing air source heat pumps.

The HESS is a similar scheme in which people in Scotland can receive a grant from Home Energy Scotland for up to £7,500 plus an optional interest-free loan for the same amount for energy efficiency and zero emission heating improvements.

In addition to this scheme, Daikin has launched its national Installer Incentive scheme, rewarding MSC certified installers with £250 each time they fit a Daikin air source heat pump in England, Scotland or Wales against a boiler installed via the aforementioned BUS/HESS schemes.

The eligible products are:

  • England and Wales
    • Air Source Heat Pumps
  • Scotland
    • Air Source Heat Pumps
    • Hybrid Boilers

The £250 incentive is yet another reason for already-accredited heat pump installers to choose Daikin’s award-winning range of air source heat pumps for their customers, and the offer will be particularly attractive to installers who want to expand their business into renewables too.

Heat pump training

Finally, attaining the necessary skills to specify and install heat pumps is a challenge that cannot be overlooked, despite it being crucial for installers to futureproof their business. To help alleviate this problem, Daikin has set up a New Installer offer, which provides free local heat pump training in a Daikin Sustainable Home Centre and £100 off easy MCS accreditation.

In addition to this, new installers will also benefit from 40% off the first heat pump unit purchased at a local centre and commissioning support for the first three air source heat pump installations they undertake.

There has never been a better time to upskill and to futureproof your service offerings. Partnering with a trusted manufacturer like Daikin, offering valuable incentive schemes and free training courses, is a great move in this ever-changing industry.