Electrification of Heat – 1920s detached house heat pump installation

Robert and Maria live in a 1920s four bedroom detached house in suburban Surrey, England.

Their 10-year-old standard gas boiler with hot water tank was inefficient and in need of updating. The couple wanted a solution that would heat their house sufficiently but also allow them to be more
environmentally responsible.

The Electrification of Heat (EoH) demonstration project, funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), is seeking to better understand the technical and practical feasibility of a large-scale rollout of heat pumps into existing British homes.

The Challenge

The recruitment and installation phase of the EoH project ran from July 2020 through to October 2021, and despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, 742 heat pumps were installed into a broad spectrum of housing types and socio-economic groups, that reflects a representative sample of households across Great Britain.

The range of different heat pump installed, included:

  • Low-temperature and high-temperature air-source heat pumps
  • Ground-source heat pumps
  • Hybrid heat pumps incorporated with a gas boiler
  • Some additional technologies, such as heat batteries were incorporated.

Householders were asked to reflect on their first hand experiences of taking part in the programme, including disruption during the installation work, thoughts on the noise and aesthetics of the technology and the outcomes for warmth and comfort.

The Solution

After carrying out a full inspection of the property, the installers suggested an air source heat pump for
Robert and Maria’s house.

The Outcome

The installation of the heat pump was not a small job for Robert and Maria – taking four days. Even though they were pleased with the work that the installers did, the installation did involve a lot of upheaval as much of their pipework and radiators had to be replaced.

Robert felt that this significant amount of disruption was something that they had not been completely aware of prior to the installation.

Robert believes that the heat pump is an excellent choice for providing sufficient warmth in the home, but is a significant financial decision when it comes to running costs. He calculated that using the
heat pump resulted in higher bills for achieving the same indoor temperature compared to his previous gas boiler over the billing period. This was because heat pumps run on electricity which is more expensive per unit than gas – so, even though they are more efficient

Overall, Robert is very pleased with how warm their house is after the installation and would definitely
recommend heat pumps to other households.

Download the Full Case Study

Robert and Maria, heat pump installation in a 1920s detached house in Surrey

Electrification of Heat Demonstration Project

Overcoming barriers to deployment and demonstrating the feasibility of a large-scale roll-out of heat pumps.

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