Heat Pumps: A No-Nonsense Guide

If you’re a reader of The Mail or The Telegraph, scroll on because this is going to ruin your day. A couple of years ago, I retired from heat pumps, sold the firm, and have since been dossing about. But I’m back in the renewables game; there’s no escape from the questions. They keep following me, so here’s a rough guide for people who won’t buy my books.

Heat pumps don’t work. Spoiler alert: they do.

Heat pumps only work in well-insulated houses? Not true. They work in all houses. The only three reasons they won’t work in your house are: you haven’t got enough money to buy one, the house has too small an electrical supply, or you’re not allowed a heat pump due to weird Victorian planning rules. Otherwise, a heat pump is like a boiler; it can heat your house.

Heat pumps are cold? Also rubbish. Mine can run at up to 80 degrees C, 10 degrees hotter than a boiler.

Heat pumps are noisy? Not true. They used to be noisy 5 years ago, but not now. My heat pump is quieter than a gas boiler. Check the dBs.

My (insert manufacturer’s name here) heat pump is the best in the world? Sorry, but it’s not. There are no standout units in every area. There are quiet ones, big ones, efficient ones and hot ones, but no one does a quiet, efficient, small, hot heat pump. Good news: they’re rapidly progressing on the quiet and efficient measures. If you check the efficiencies of all units on the MCS database at any one temperature, the best and the 100th best units are within 10% of each other. Update: I’ve just checked the database for October, and there is a standout unit. It has the best COP of any unit at all temperatures from 35-65C and is ridiculously quiet, but it’s big and ugly. I’m not going to tell you what it is. That’s the job of the people who sell it.

The best heat pump in the world is the one your installer knows how to install, set up, and look after.

If you’re changing to a heat pump, you don’t need to replace all your radiators, nor do you need to rip apart your house. If you want to just replace the boiler with a heat pump, it will work okay. The house won’t be cold, but it won’t be the ultimate system. It will cost a bit more to run but will keep you warm. If you want to change radiators now or later, that’s okay. It’s your house; you can do whatever you like. You can fit the system in stages as you can afford it. Just ask the installer to tell you about the cost implications.

Heat pumps are expensive to run? Duh! All heating is expensive. You can’t heat your house for nothing. If you want it boiling hot, it’s going to cost a lot, no matter the system. Set up a heat pump right, and it can save money compared to a boiler. If you set any heating system up badly and run it inefficiently, it will cost more.
So, if you want a heat pump, what should you do? Call someone with a good Trustpilot or Checkatrade review. My company can calculate all the savings and costs for you. We even tell you what you save if you keep or replace the radiators. Check our tool at www.genous.earth or ask someone you know who’s got one about who should install it.

If you’re not sure, ring a manufacturer or wholesaler and ask them who to use. Trust me, they won’t send you to someone who’s not very good; if they did, you’d end up calling them back, and no one wants that.

But most importantly, if you want to learn more, why not buy this book? It’s very good. I know the guy who wrote it; he used to be someone in the heat pump world. Rumour has it he’s writing another one. What a great Christmas present a set of the three books would make.

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Mike foote
Mike foote
7 months ago

I spend much of my spare time responding to stupid comments from DT “experts” debunking their rubbish. Im not an installer just a retired property manager who flung funds into our 200 yr old random rubble Scottish cottage. Systems work well and as we were on lpg we have reduced our costs (promptly flung into an 8 kwh so system which reduces our costs even more
Keep the faith

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