Electrification of Heat - 1950s mid-terrace house heat pump installation

Vanessa and Patryk live in a 1950s three-bedroom mid-terrace house in an urban area of Fife in Scotland.

With their combi-gas boiler not working very well, replacing it with a heat pump felt like the right next step towards more sustainable living.

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 pumps 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

Due to her job in the sustainability sector, Vanessa was already aware of the different types of heat pumps available.

Initially, the couple felt they would prefer a ground source heat pump, due to their longer lifespans compared to air source heat pumps. However, a survey of their home showed that the property was not suitable for a ground source system and the couple felt happy to proceed with an air source heat pump instead.

The Outcome

As part of switching to a heat pump system, most of the radiators in Vanessa and Patryk’s house were changed for larger radiators. This is often a requirement when fitting heat pumps as they typically operate on lower temperatures compared with gas boilers.

They have found the indoor unit to be noisier than expected but the installers are helping them to find a solution, such as insulating the cupboard where the unit is placed. The indoor unit of a heat pump typically makes the same level of noise as a gas boiler when running.

The heat pump’s performance has exceeded the couple’s expectations. Experts in the field who Vanessa knows had advised them that the heat pump would not heat up the house as quickly as a gas boiler but Vanessa hardly notices any difference and thinks the new heat pump heats the house fast and efficiently.

Read the Full Case Study

Vanessa and Patryk, air source heat pump installation into a 1950s mid-terrace house in Fife, Scotland.

Electrification of Heat Demonstration project

Reports, statistics and case studies helping to overcome barriers to deployment and demonstrating the feasibility of a large-scale roll-out of heat pumps.

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