Heat pump warning as EDF urges Brits to make crucial change before replacing boiler

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Officials from EDF have urged households looking to install heat pumps in the UK to ensure that their home is adequately insulated in order to ensure that the heating system is actually efficient. Speaking to Express.co.uk, Philippe Commaret, the Managing Director of Customers at EDF noted that UK homeowners need to ensure that their house is well insulated, otherwise the heat pump may not be efficient. As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent gas bills to record levels in the past year, many have begun turning to heat pumps, which run on electricity, and are regarded to be more energy efficient, and far cheaper to run than traditional gas boilers.

The Government is keen on accelerating heat pump installation rates in the UK, launching the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, which offers up to £5,000 in subsidies to help households replace their ageing gas boilers with heat pumps. 

Mr Commaret noted that despite the fact heat pump technology is well-proven with millions of installations across, the UK’s heat pump installation rates have been slow. 

Speaking to Express.co.uk, he believed that a major factor holding the industry back is the fact that many “UK households are not enough insulated to fit heat pumps”.

Insulation has been hailed as a way to “permanently” lower energy bills, by reducing the amount of energy the property consumes.

Speaking at the opening of a new heat pump training centre by EDF, CB Heating and Daikin, Mr Commaret noted that in order to make UK households ready for heat pumps, the country will need “huge efforts in insulation”.

He said: “The reason for that is that basically, the heat pump is taking the heat of the air from outside of the house.

“In fact, what is very efficient about a heat pump is that for a certain amount of the heat that you need to heat your house, you just need a third of this energy to generate this heat thanks to heat pumps.

“Because the heat is coming from outside of the house, it doesn’t come from the energy that you use to make the heat pump work, which is very different from the gas boiler. In a gas boiler, you burn the gas, which generates the heat, so the efficiency is much much lower than the heat pump.”

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak urged to ‘immediately’ scrap heat pump payment scheme

Mr Commaret noted that insulation in UK homes is a “real issue” because if a home is energy inefficient, there will be more leakage of heat, which means that the heat pump will need to bring in more heat from the outside to keep the home warm.

He warned: “There is a point where if your house is not insulated enough, in fact, installing a heat pump is not efficient. That is why at EDF, we perceive that our role is really to empower customers to define whether or not a heat pump is something which fits their needs or not.

“What we do not want is to have customers that are complaining at the end. We want the customers to have the best solutions. If we feel that customers are interested in heat pumps, but their house is not fit for heat pumps, in that case, we advocate for them to insulate their house.

“If obviously the house is already fit for a heat pump, it’s very easy to give advice and solutions about that, so that’s really the role that we want to play.”

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This comes as Grant Shapps, the Business Secretary, is reportedly set to announce a new £1billion fund which will help households in paying for the cost of energy-efficient infrastructure and appliances for their homes.

Through this fund, which is referred to as “eco plus”, homes will get money to cover installation costs for various products to make their house energy efficient.

This push is part of the Government’s wider green agenda to cut household energy usage by 15 percent before 2030. Among the products and services which can be paid for include the installation of loft and cavity wall insulation.

Furthermore, the new grants scheme will reportedly cover smart heating controls such as advanced thermostats and thermostatic valves. Around 70,000 are set to be covered by the pending Government initiative which will cut energy bills for households across the nation.



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