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Will heat pumps solve the energy crisis? 

A 42% increase in the price of energy bringing bills to an average of £2,800 a year was not the news many hard-pressed householders wanted to hear this month.

The cost of energy has exploded. Many owners and landlords are now looking with more interest at government incentives to give money back for installing heat pumps (both ground and air) and biomass boilers as part of their £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio project.

But with the cost of gas rising plus the general cost of living on the rise, will the installation of heat pumps really help poorer households who may face a choice between heating their home or eating a meal? 

In short, we’re sceptical. The biggest bearers of the cost of living rise are poorer households so with heat pumps costing up to £15,000, a £5,000 grant is small mitigation if you already can’t afford to heat your home.  The grant also disqualifies new builds which should be the most energy-efficient and therefore should be best suited to a heat pump which requires good insulation to be effective.

The first step for householders should be to fit effective insulation now and then assess the cost versus benefits of a heat pump.

From 2025 rental property will be required to have an EPC of C. Heat pumps can help obtain a better EPC rating but insulation and double glazing etc might also be cheaper alternatives.

We expect that more landlords will be selling their properties by 2025 as they may consider it unaffordable to upgrade them to an EPC of C.

 

SpeedPropertyBuyers are one of the largest buyers of homes in the UK, many of our clients come to us because they’ve reached a point that it’s not possible to make sufficient income from a buy to let, in light of new regulations including the EPC upgrade scheme.

There is no doubt that making homes cosier and cheaper to heat is a good thing as is the added benefit of reducing greenhouse gases as well as our dependence on foreign energy supplies. 

However, before rushing to install expensive new systems, insulation may be a quick and easier solution.

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