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Property/DIY

New boiler or heat source pump?

101 replies

WilbursWinnie · 28/03/2023 20:38

So, our boiler has packed up! At least it's on the way into summer and not the start of winter!

So, do we buy a new boiler or should we be looking into a heat source pump or alternative eco friendly solution?

I have this fear that buying a new boiler is the wrong thing to do but I'm not really basing this on anything.

Full disclosure: our house is an old brick building that is not currently well insulated. it is rural and we currently have oil central heating.

What would you do and why?

OP posts:
TwoBlueFish · 29/03/2023 12:12

We went for a new gas boiler then can be converted to hydrogen. 1920’s house that has a cavity underneath the house so still need to insulate floors. We did look into heat pump but I think we’d also have needed to replace most of our radiators with bigger ones and we only redid the radiators about 3 years ago.

FurierTransform · 29/03/2023 14:02

Definitely a new boiler. The costs are incomparable.

Kazzyhoward · 29/03/2023 14:05

Boiler. Get a new one now, whilst they're still allowed, and you should be "future proof" for 20 years or so.

Heat source pumps are notoriously expensive, need a huge amount of space, and cause a lot of groundworks, and unless your home is super-insulated and energy efficient, won't keep it warm anyway, and you'd need supplementary electric heating!

WilbursWinnie · 29/03/2023 14:37

Thanks all!

Yes, we definitely plan on investing in solar anyway.

I think many of you are making a good point about the technology not being there yet.

I have done lots of reading and I think we will bite the bullet and replace the boiler.

Thanks again for all of the contributions

OP posts:
RM2013 · 29/03/2023 22:22

We recently moved house and realised that the boiler will need replacing sooner rather than later - we hoped we might get a couple of years out of it but we are replacing it within the next couple of months. We are sticking with a gas boiler, looked at heat source pumps but they look too bulky at the moment for our small
garden and I’m not convinced the technology is developed enough yet so we will go with a standard boiler and hopefully by the time that needs replacing the technology will be better

chronictonic · 29/03/2023 22:25

Asdf12345 · 28/03/2023 20:57

Boiler.

Unless your house is insulated like an eskimo and has radiators way bigger than standard a heat pump will cost a fortune to run and be crap. They are fine by all accounts if you build a house for them (other than the noise) but terrible to retrofit.

100% this.

My partner works in Energy Efficiency and this is exactly what he says.

RollerCoaster2020 · 15/04/2023 15:33

Heat pumps are not suited to the UK. When it's cold, and the home needs the heat, they just don't perform. Evaporative heat transfer, heat exchange etc. yada yada.
Appreciate it's the daily Fail, but worth looking into. DYOR.

"Our £25,000 heat pumps left us out of pocket - we regret installing them: Brits are left facing £5,000 energy bills, wake up to cold homes and have to use blankets to keep warm'I asked for a cost breakdown from my energy company to see how much I've spent. From July 1 to March 23 the total spend was £4,548. Seventy per cent of that is from the air pump. I worked out that if I used oil it would cost me half. It's soul destroying.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11972635/Britons-complain-problems-heat-pumps-amid-soaring-energy-bills.html "

Britons complain about problems with heat pumps amid soaring bills

Britons who have installed heat pumps in their homes today told of their anger at being left with 'soul destroying' electricity bills and enormous installation costs.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11972635/Britons-complain-problems-heat-pumps-amid-soaring-energy-bills.html

TizerorFizz · 15/04/2023 16:09

@WilbursWinnie
We are those rare people with air source heat pumps and a well insulated house.

It’s a sad fact that far too many people don’t insulate their houses efficiently. We waste heat and complain about how much it costs. We were oil with a huge boiler. We now have two air source heat pumps. They are the size of two American fridge freezers. We didn’t change a single radiator. We always had decent sized double ones calculated on room volume. Loads of people have tiny inefficient ones. We have double glazing and lots of insulation. We don’t waste heat. We have solar panels that feed into a battery for storage. We also have an immersion heated to boost hot water volume if we need it. Hot water is not quite so hot, but that’s a good thing. I have a boiling tap in the kitchen.

None of this is cheap. A boiler will be cheaper. However we feel our house needed to be future proofed and oil wasn’t what we wanted. Green isn’t cheap. However the technology works. It’s not new. Air source heat pumps installed in 2010. They are serviced and they work. One broke down once.

You can believe all the scare stories, but we are not going back to oil and have been happy with what we have. We like a warm house. We have one. However you must insulate, get the correct size radiators and have the funds!

WilbursWinnie · 15/04/2023 17:17

Thanks for the reply @TizerorFizz. The problem is very much that we don't have a well insulated home. We moved in 2 years ago so it's not something we are ignoring; it just takes money to get it up to scratch. We are having to prioritise in order of importance.

We definitely want a system that is as eco friendly as possible and is future proofed. We just aren't sure what that looks like yet.

OP posts:
Bluebellwood129 · 15/04/2023 17:22

We are those rare people with air source heat pumps and a well insulated house.

Same here. Our heating bills are tiny with an air source heat pump and we've had no problems at all - very, very happy. In a poorly insulated home, definitely not.

BishopRock · 15/04/2023 17:34

I'm going to get a heat pump. My house was built in 1970 and is very poorly insulated, so for me insulation is the priority. Underfloor, cavity wall, sorting the loft. My windows also need replacing so I'll be getting double glazing at the front which faces south, and triple at the back. I also have solar panels, and currently excess goes back to the grid but I intend to get batteries and a couple more panels. In addition I'm making the walls thicker and adding more insulation front and back as they're timber frame with plaster panels.

I've researched air source heat pumps extensively and I think it's all down to insulation. My plumber (also a gas man) is against them, but I'm not taking one person's word for or against.

I'm intending to have underfloor heating which I believe will be the most efficient. I don't currently have central heating so there's nothing to take out or look awful.

I can't help but think that some of the people complaining about them haven't sorted their insulation first, and are also relying on old radiators.

Daisymay2 · 15/04/2023 17:45

We replaced our oil boiler with a heat pump 3 years ago as it was on its last legs and sometimes failed.
Properly installed and maintained ASHP are not noisy. When in the garden, I can hear my neighbours's oil burners kick in but not my ASHP.
However, our property is 4 bed, 2 bathrooms, 3 reception and 25 years old, so reasonably OK for insulation. We replaced some radiators, but not all .Analysis of our system by the installers showed that the radiators in the rooms we always thought were on the chilly side were too small. We didn't discuss with them which rooms were cool, and they did the survey in April or May.
I don't know about the chap in the DM article but before the government allowances our DD was £150 per month . Before the pump it was £70 month plus £1200 per year on oil (2200-2500 litres) - this was in 2019-2020 when oil prices were low. My last big fill was about 24p litre IIRC.
However, if your house is not very well insulated, I would sort that out before thinking about ASHP.
Having sung the praises of them, when DS boiler packed up in the Autumn, he replaced it with another gas boiler, air source would not have made any sense for him.

TizerorFizz · 15/04/2023 17:55

I think insulating our homes really must be a priority. It’s foolhardy not to. We also find our house retains heat. We have some under floor heating. Mostly radiators with thermostats. Wasting energy isn’t really acceptable when you can do something about it.

jeffwhit · 15/04/2023 18:44

quite concern about the heatpump noises from our neighbours

RidingMyBike · 15/04/2023 20:33

Get a proper survey done to see if it's worth it or not. We went with the heat pump and it's been wonderful so far BUT we were renovating before moving in and so also installed under floor heating and solar panels. We got a quote for radiators instead but they were more expensive. The house is a sprawling 1930s semi with many external walls but we've added a lot of insulation.

RidingMyBike · 15/04/2023 20:34

Ours makes about as much noise as a fridge does. ie barely noticeable

hattie43 · 15/04/2023 20:36

Boiler . I've not heard good things about these heat pumps

TizerorFizz · 15/04/2023 21:50

@hattie43 Do you have one? We have two for the house. Another for the pool. We tend to cling on to things we know. We don’t like change. We manage to heat a big house but we zone heat and carefully monitor use.

Our pumps hardly make any noise. They are like fridges in reverse.

SoCunningYouCanStickATailOnItAndCallItAFox · 15/04/2023 21:54

Heart pumps are only a good idea in a well insulated house!

StatisticallyChallenged · 15/04/2023 22:47

TizerorFizz · 15/04/2023 16:09

@WilbursWinnie
We are those rare people with air source heat pumps and a well insulated house.

It’s a sad fact that far too many people don’t insulate their houses efficiently. We waste heat and complain about how much it costs. We were oil with a huge boiler. We now have two air source heat pumps. They are the size of two American fridge freezers. We didn’t change a single radiator. We always had decent sized double ones calculated on room volume. Loads of people have tiny inefficient ones. We have double glazing and lots of insulation. We don’t waste heat. We have solar panels that feed into a battery for storage. We also have an immersion heated to boost hot water volume if we need it. Hot water is not quite so hot, but that’s a good thing. I have a boiling tap in the kitchen.

None of this is cheap. A boiler will be cheaper. However we feel our house needed to be future proofed and oil wasn’t what we wanted. Green isn’t cheap. However the technology works. It’s not new. Air source heat pumps installed in 2010. They are serviced and they work. One broke down once.

You can believe all the scare stories, but we are not going back to oil and have been happy with what we have. We like a warm house. We have one. However you must insulate, get the correct size radiators and have the funds!

We're in this camp too - newbuild house which came with insulation everywhere and an ASHP. We've since added solar and batteries which overall seems to be a nice combination and working out very well from a running costs perspective.

But without the insulation it would be a different ball game. I've never considered our radiators to be especially large funnily enough, our old house they were at least as big (it was old and drafty, so they needed to be huge!) so it's not been an issue.

The whole street has them and I've never noticed noise from them when outside and I have only once (in 3 years) very faintly heard mine from in the house and I was sitting on the other side of the wall from it in a totally silent room. Fridge level noise would be about the right description.

Bewilderedandhurt · 15/04/2023 22:53

Heat pumps work most efficiently in newer well insulated properties as they let out a lower more constant heat.
Your electricity consumption would be very high if you did not do major upgrades to the insulation of the walls, though external insulation is not the ideal solution for some older properties either.
I'd stick with the boiler personally.

TizerorFizz · 15/04/2023 23:43

Our radiators are the panel ones with fins. We have never had single ones. The radiators don’t need to be huge of you get the efficient modern ones.

Nat6999 · 16/04/2023 00:49

Avoid heat pumps like the plague, get another boiler. I follow a plumber on YouTube & he says that the heat pump technology isn't advanced enough yet & buying one will actually end up costing you more money to not be as warm & your electric bill will go up a lot.

RidingMyBike · 16/04/2023 08:28

Nat6999 · 16/04/2023 00:49

Avoid heat pumps like the plague, get another boiler. I follow a plumber on YouTube & he says that the heat pump technology isn't advanced enough yet & buying one will actually end up costing you more money to not be as warm & your electric bill will go up a lot.

Is this based on any personal experience or just the random musings of a plumber on YouTube who may not be an unbiased source?!

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