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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Will landlords install heat pumps with just £5,000 help?

It’s been confirmed that landlords and other home owners in England and Wales will be offered subsidies of £5,000 from April to help replace old gas boilers with heat pumps.

The grants are part of the government's strategy to reduce carbon emissions from heating homes and other buildings.

As we predicted in recent days the government has declared that new gas boilers will no longer be sold after 2035.

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While landlords and other property owners will be encouraged to switch to a heat pump or other low-carbon technology, there will be no obligation to remove boilers that are still working.

The government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy says homes are a large contributor to the UK's greenhouse gas emissions, representing 21 per cent of overall emissions.

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng says the grants to support the adoption of heat pumps, available from next spring, would help reduce the cost of the relatively new technology by 2030.

Currently an air source heat pump costs £6,000 to £18,000, depending on size and energy generation.

"As the technology improves and costs plummet over the next decade, we expect low-carbon heating systems will become the obvious, affordable choice for consumers” says Kwarteng.

"Through our new grant scheme, we will ensure people are able to choose a more efficient alternative in the meantime."

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  • Robert Nottingham

    In short, no! I’ll hold out as long as possible to see the relevant changes to legislation and EPC grading criteria; wait for the R&D cycle to run it’s course - nobody wants a ‘Betamax’ heat pump; assess the overall impact and conduct a cost-benefit analysis of my investment ( I’m not a charity); and then decide.

    I am sure that there will be some bullish early adopters, however it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

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    At least LLs are not being forced into this ahead of owner occupiers. The focus so far is on the cost of the pump but no one has addressed the other costs - insulation / rads / tank etc - or the practicalities of installation in smaller, terraced housing with limited space inside & out.

    I'm not convinced heat pumps are the solution so I'm looking forward to the early adopters putting some real world evidence on the table before making my decision for my own home as well as my BTLs.

     G romit

    Oh yes they are!!!!!
    Government is proposing to uncrease MEES to "C" rating for new tenancies from 2025 and existing tenancies from 2028

     
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    G romit - I am aware of the PROPOSAL for EPC C - not yet law - but given that heat pumps are electrically powered the installation of one is worse for your EPC than GCH at present.

     
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    Well I had seen the gas Condensing Boilers 40 years ago and available before they were forced in to replace traditional gas Boilers that were going to be so efficient to save all, here we go again.

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    Sorry but according to my information some of the information in the article is WRONG.
    There will be no NATURAL GAS boilers made after 2035. Most manufacturers are or will be shortly making natural gas boilers that can be converted to hydrogen gas. That is why they are changing the old but usable metal gas pipes to plastic as apparently you can’t put hydrogen through metal pipes.

  • Keith  Johnson

    The last grant scheme required you to use a trustmark registered company, there was about three for the whole of the south west, so you couldn't even get a quote, and when you did it was ridiculously high because they had no competition then the government stopped the scheme!!!.......with the average cost being 15k A property × 11 it will cost me 165k ......I don't think so!!!

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    This landlord won't be.

  • Matthew Payne

    Sadly not. Robert is right, these first pumps will be"Betamax" as he puts it, and will cost a small fortune as its a relatively new technology, no different to buying an electric car. Moreover all ASHP manaufactuers will ramp up their prices, I have already seen quotes of £20k, so this £5k grant is just going straight to their bottom line, there is no real discount for a property owner. To make a real difference government needs to manage the suppliers so it is actually a genuine £5k discount off the prices being quoted last month, not next April when they will be at least £5k higher, no doubt blaming a shortage of HGV drivers and fruit pickers like everyone else riding the profiteering inflation curve.

    I am not sure why this even makes the news, this funding represents 1/250th of that required to phase out existing gas boilers. 2035 is fantasy, I wouldnt put much money on 2075.

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    Any moves to compel landlords to spend this will just destroy the prs as the rents will become unaffordable if landlords have to recoup the costs over a reasonable timescale.

    Perhaps this will become part of the Government game plan in their war against the prs?

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    For new build properties I can see that heat pumps or district heating schemes at least theoretically make sense.
    For older properties the cost of retro fitting and upgrading floor and wall insulation sufficiently is huge. In leasehold properties it will often be impossible as the freeholder won't give consent.

    If the insulation has to be upgraded anyway wouldn't a combination of modern night storage heaters and highly controllable Lot 20 electric heaters plus a well insulated hot water cylinder make more sense as a retro fit for small to medium size properties? The installation costs would be a fraction of the cost of a heat pump installation. Used properly the running costs wouldn't be much higher than a gas system if all costs of a gas system are factored in (standing charge, gas boiler servicing and repairs, boiler replacement every 12 years).

    The historic problems with night storage heaters have largely been resolved. Originally people installed too many in the wrong rooms in uninsulated houses with massive single glazed windows. A Quantum night storage heater in the lounge and possibly one in the hallway plus timed thermostatically controlled heaters in other rooms and large low wattage towel radiators in the bathroom and kitchen would be a reasonable set up. I have similar set ups in 3 of my properties and as long as the night storage heaters are used properly the other heaters only come on for a few minutes now and then.

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    We need to adapt to the changes around us and we cannot be Ostriches. That said these new schemes have to be effective, affordable and good for the environment. Air source heat pumps will work for new houses but they are not strong enough to do the older houses. You will need a huge amount of insulation and larger radiators. However, a ground source heat pump is capable of heating an older house. Problem is that most of us do not have a large enough garden. I would therefore suggest looking into communal ground source heat pumps. A lot of older houses have larger gardens. Combined this may be enough to look at putting in a ground source heat pump with the added advantage of a shared cost. I believe that lateral thinking along these lines, though will not fix all issues, will be accessible to many.

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    Given the difficulties I have encountered trying to get a shared drive repaired I cannot imagine the difficulties a shared GSHP installation might experience!

     
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    I understand sometimes if you don’t have a large garden to do horizontal loops it maybe feasible to do boreholes one or more 100m deep in some situations. I don’t know how much that would cost although I have seen wells drilled that deep when no mains water was available.

  • David dOrton-Gibson

    I have looked at a bore hole ground source heat pump for my bungalow and it looks like about £25-30K. Not something you can reasonably expect landlords to find. The current plans include making insulation etc the first thing (fabric first approach) and other technology later. There is no question insulation is key. Comment above mentions larger radiators, heat pumps generally only provide water at about 40 degrees (as opposed to 60-80 degrees easily for your gas boiler). This will cause problems for existing radiators. We have installed underfloor heating which works fine but is another cost. What is not mentioned above is the cost of running it. An air source heat pump will produce about 2-3Kwh of heat for each Kwh of electricity put in (making it much more efficient than any form of electric heating). Ground source heat pumps can run 4-5 Kwh per Kwh of electricity so are more efficient still. Whilst air source pumps can happy operate in sub zero temperatures, as temperature falls the efficiency falls so in cold weather you can expect the lower end of the efficiency range, this is a major benefit of ground source which is pretty much constant. Her is the catch, I currently pay 16 pence per Kwh for electric and 2.9 pence per Kwh on gas. Therefore even if I got an efficiency of the ideal 5 times, it is still costing slightly more than gas. At a cold weather 2 times efficiency I would be paying 16 pence in electric compared to 6 pence for gas. Tenant's are going to notice that. Will they come in? I think they will undoubtedly. Higher gas prices make them more attractive. To address another point, is this new technology? Only in so far as you would consider a fridge or air conditioning unit "new technology" as this is exactly how they work. I do expect them to improve as there is greater focus and pressure on their use but it is probably one of the most prolific technologies, basically found in every home. Added 1124 Forgot to say I would not be surprised to see overnight electricity price increase, making economy 7 type tariffs less attractive. Why might it increase, supply and demand. As we use more electric cars there will more of them set to charge overnight creating more demand meaning supplies will not have to sell night time electricity so cheaply, yet another factor in an already complex market!

    icon

    All good points, if the schemes are going to work it does mean laws to in effect force every house owner to carry out the changes be it owner occupier or rented with a combination of loans or grants or chrages on properties, without a planet their will be no need for any houses at all

     
  • David dOrton-Gibson

    Although not talked about here or in the consultation for the PRS, but the plan is for all homes to be carbon neutral by 2050. We only tend to read about the PRS side (and don't forget everything you read will apply to your office. If you want to see the road map search for the heat and building strategy which maps it all out across all sectors. For example, mortgage lenders are going to have targets for improving their average EPC rating for building they are lending on. This will result in them offering loans to add to the borrowing and increasing the mortgage rate on poorly performing properties. This will result in better performing properties increasing in value faster than lower EPC ratings which lenders won't want on their books. I note the strategy also aims to reduce the cost of a heat pump by between 25 and 50% in the next few years, hence the cash incentive to adopt early.

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