Will I have to move to a heat pump?

Recent Government guidance from Westminster and Holyrood has identified heat pumps as the energy generation source of choice for off-grid properties. However, there are a number of issues around the installation and operation of heat pumps which mean it might not be the right solution for you.

Future plans will see traditional oil and gas boilers banned in the UK by 2025. For homes on the gas grid, the plan is to convert to hydrogen. However, for those homes off-grid, the only real option being looked at is electrification.

Air and ground source heat pumps have been identified as the main replacement for oil heating systems across the UK. These systems require significant investment, not only in the installation of the system itself, but also with the required upgrades to insulation, glazing and radiators that often come with them.

Research commissioned by BEIS in their ‘What does it cost to retrofit homes’ report shows that it could in fact cost in excess of £40,000 to install a heat pump if your home requires upgrades to insulation and glazing. Some reports have highlighted cases in older larger detached properties where costs have exceeded £70,000. This is significant for any homeowner and current Government grants only cover a very small proportion of this cost.

If you live in a property built before 1920 and in an EPC band of E or below, it’s likely that you will face more than just installation costs to convert your home to a heat pump.

As an industry, UK fuel distributors are working on an alternative. We know that our rural customers need a better option, so we are trialling hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) in domestic heating systems around the country.

HVO is manufactured from sustainable renewable waste fats and vegetable oils, and can provide up to a 90% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. It is currently being used globally as a replacement for diesel and has been successfully trialled in the south west of England in home heating systems.

The cost of retrofitting your oil boiler to switch to HVO is in the region of £500, and the product is a drop-in replacement for your current kerosene.

We are working hard to ensure that our customers have options going forward which work for them as well as for the environment. We have more information on HVO in our product page, or you can visit the Future Ready Fuel website to find out more.

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