Electrification of heat: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I apply?
What are heat pumps and how do they work?
There are two main kinds of heat pumps, ground source and air source. Both are classed as renewable heating, as they extract heat from natural sources. With ground source they take heat out of the ground and with air source they absorb heat from the outside air.
The system you will be receiving is an Air Source Heat Pump, which works a little like a fridge in reverse. So rather than your fridge working to extract all the heat from inside the fridge to keep it cool, the heat pump extracts the heat from the outside air, and converts it into useable heat inside your home.
What will I see fitted to my home, inside and out?
On the outside of your home, probably at the side or back of your house, you will have what is called an outdoor unit which is the heat pump itself. This looks a bit like the air conditioning systems you see on buildings, but this is doing the opposite, i.e. providing heat not cold air.
Inside your home, you will have a new hot water cylinder, and new radiators. You will also have an easy to use heating control.
If you have a combi boiler which means you don’t have a hot water tank and don’t really have room for a new one, that’s ok. We still have heat pumps that could be suitable.
Will the new system heat my hot water too?
Yes, this is what the hot water cylinder is for, so water is heated and stored in a cylinder for when you need it. The cylinder is insulated so once heated the water will stay hot for several hours, so you should always have hot water for washing dishes and running a bath.
If you have a combi boiler, don’t worry we have heat pumps that are suitable and that will continue to satisfy your hot water needs
Will I save money on my energy bills?
You should do, yes. If you have an old inefficient gas boiler, electric storage heaters, oil or coal fired systems – these are all quite expensive to run, so you should see savings. However some residents that have very low energy bills at the moment, or newer gas boilers, may not see any savings or changes to energy bills.
We will have a look at your existing heating bill when we complete your survey. As part of assessing if both you and your property are suitable for a heat pump we will calculate how your bill may change and what savings you could expect. All this happens before you decide whether to have a heat pump installed.
After installation our project partner National Energy Action (NEA) will be on hand to provide free, independent advice on energy tariffs that are suitable for your heat pump.
Are air source heat pumps noisy?
There will be some noise from the outdoor unit – at a similar level to what you might hear from an extractor fan – but this is minimised by the use of rubber dampers where the unit is mounted. The sound won’t be constant, as the pump only runs when extra heat or hot water is needed.
A slight gurgling might be heard from the indoor cylinder, especially as the system settles in when first installed. This will most likely be bubbles of air circulating around the system, and it will eventually be released through automatic air vents.
What will the work involve?
The work will firstly involve removing your old heating system, so taking out the old gas boiler, electric storage heaters, oil boiler or old coal fires.
The installer will then start to fit any new pipework if it’s needed and new radiators in each of your rooms. A new hot water cylinder will be fitted, and the heat pump (outdoor unit) fitted outside.
How long will the work take?
Most installations should be completed within 2 days. The majority of the messy work will take place on Day 1, for example taking out the old system. Day 2 will be less messy as they connect everything up. Sometimes they may need to come back on Day 3 and 4 to finish off small jobs and check everything is working properly, but most of the work is done over 2 days.
Will I be left without heating?
No, there will be a short time during the day when the old system is removed and the new one is being fitted, and if it’s during the winter months, then the installer will provide temporary heaters for you for these few hours. At the end of Day 1, you will either have your new heating operating, or you will be left with temporary heaters overnight. If the new cylinder is not connected up, for hot water you will be able to boil a kettle for dishes and washing, and if you have an electric shower this will still work as normal.
Will I need to move carpets and furniture?
Before the work starts a surveyor will come and look around your home, measure up and advise you where the heat pump will go outside, and where the pipe runs and radiators will go. At this point they will explain what areas of each room they need to work in, and will advise you to remove any personal items or breakables from cupboards or cabinets as well as making sure the loft is reasonably clear. It is your responsibility to do this, to ensure nothing gets broken or damaged during the work.
However, you will not have to move heavy furniture, the installers will do this where access is needed, and will put them back afterwards. The installer will also carefully lift any carpets if they need to get access under the floor, and these will be put back again afterwards.
Will the installers look after my home and tidy up after themselves?
Yes they are very experienced working in residents homes, and will lay plastic sheeting over all your carpets, and have dust sheets to cover your furniture and belongings. They will work hard to keep dust and disruption to a minimum for you. At the end of the day all rubbish and tools will be removed.
Is the new heating system easy to use and control?
Yes it is, we will set up the system to suit your needs, but generally heat pumps work best if they are left on at a low but comfortable setting all day. The system will boost up in the morning so your home is nice and warm for you getting up, and boost up again in the evening. If you want it warmer during the day you can boost it up yourself on the control.
You will not run out of heat like with storage heaters, and you won’t be on day/night tariffs, so you can use heating whenever you need it.
Where will the new radiators be fitted?
Any new radiators that are needed will replace your old radiators in the same position, wherever possible. We will discuss this with you ahead of install to make sure you are happy with our suggested installation plans.
Will I need to change energy supplier?
Not if you don’t want to and there will be no expectation to become an E.ON customer. Our project partner National Energy Action (NEA) will be on hand should you want some impartial advice on what tariffs are available that best suit your new heat pump.
What happens if anything goes wrong?
If anything goes wrong with your heating, or if it stops working, just contact E.ON on the phone number they provide for their aftercare / technical support team.
Where is the funding coming from for this work?
This project is specifically funded by government under the Electrification of Heat Programme.