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Government facing two ways on boiler grants and heat pumps

The government has issued a lengthy statement claiming more home owners, including landlords, are fitting heat pumps - yet at the same time there’s been widespread reporting that targets for heat pump expansion are to be scrapped.

A string of national newspapers have reported that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is poised to drop plans to fine boiler makers who fail to meet production targets.

The new system scheduled to come into effect in April this year would have forced boiler companies to ensure heat pumps accounted for four per cent of their total boiler unit sales, or be penalised £3,000 for every item by which they fall short. Companies have complained that they have had to increase boiler costs to store up income to pay fines as they knew heat pump sales would not hit the target.


Yet at the same time as the government appears to be dropping this Net Zero measure, it’s issued a press release saying: “More people are taking advantage of increased heat pump grants with applications having risen by almost 50 per cent compared to last year.”

The surge in applications follows a 50 per cent increase in grants for air source heat pumps announced by Sunak last year: grants for heat pumps were boosted to £7,500.

Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho now says: “We recently made our Boiler Upgrade Scheme one of the most generous schemes in Europe. Applications are now up by nearly 50% compared to last year. Helping people, rather than forcing them, to make the right choices for their homes will always be my priority.”

The figures released also show a regional breakdown of where heat pumps have been installed in England and Wales. The South West has seen the most with 3,655 installations, followed by the South East (excluding London) with 3,605 and then the East with 2,452. 

However the government target set just last year claimed that there would be 600,000 eco-friendly heat pump installations a year by 2028.

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    No one in their right mind would install a new gas boiler into a domestic or commercial rental unit. Why would you lock-in to burn a fossil fuel for the next 15 years. The price of gas has been extremely volatile since the Ukraine war started. The CO2 pollution from burning gas damages our fragile environment. Installing a new gas boiler today is like building a house from asbestos in 1999 - legal but stupid.
    The heat pumps in my rental units are all working very well.
    It’s common sense.

    Peter Why Do I Bother

    For a saving of 80 quid and a house colder than the Ice Caps I will let my tenants decide what is best. If they want a boiler then so be it, strange the boiler tax is about to be scrapped.


    Here we go. 1st off the blocks with his nonsense again.


    Just fitted a gas combi boiler😁


    Your back 🎉 🎊, in a sad and self inflicting way your absence yesterday was concerning 😂😂. Still talking nonsense, but at least you’re consistent.


    Are you a robot Martin or just a clown?


    The issue here is not whether you're wrong or even have a stake in the industry; we all want to save the planet - it is the affordability of heat pump installation and the cost of the internal property changes required to ensure heat pumps work efficiently without the high cost of additional electricity to run the pumps.

    The only place the money can come from for the additional cost required for heat pump installation is by increasing rents. And there's the dilemma. Which is more important to the government? Affordable rents for its citizens or heat pumps to lower CO2 emissions?


    Gibbo, don’t mention the war. 😠

    Peter Lewis

    I think Martin must have one of the following, either he owns a energy company that installs heat pumps or he is completely off his head.


    Martin, I liked this comment because you made me laugh.

    But seriously, do you realise that every. single. experienced. landlord. reading this page disagrees with you?

    You are obviously pushing an agenda for your own personal monetary gain.

    You are a really funny guy - like 'ha ha' funny.

    keep it up, as we all get a good laugh from you.

  • Steven Williams

    50% raise in APPLICATIONS not installations mind, how many of them are actually getting installed though.

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    I bet the people who purchased Betamax back in the day, are buying heat pumps 🤷‍♂️🤔

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    You can’t beat the heat from a nice gas boiler!

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    It's good to hear the big car giants are now switching research from electric to hydrogen fuel. This should encourage governments to look longer term and towards more carbon friendly hydrogen fueled heating systems.

    Peter Why Do I Bother

    I work in the Automotive Industry and you are right, hydrogen fueled vehicles are cleaner, more efficient and better for the planet.

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    I couldn't get anyone to even come & talk to me about a heat pump! I think it will be the default heating option eventually, but not until we have more installers. A gradual transition will allow the technology to improve, reduce in price & give people reassurance it works. We need more carrot & less stick in this green transition.

    Besides its all fairly pointless with 2 major conflicts going on & China & India opening more coal mines!


    One of my flats is on fourth floor. How does it get a heat pump? 🤔

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    Heat pumps don't work. Yet at least. I won't consider them. I even think about retiring abroad to escape this backwards thinking country sometimes!

    • A JR
    • 07 February 2024 08:28 AM

    I had the same thought back in 2015 after George Osborne blew up the PRS with his Sec24.
    Best thing I have ever done.

    Peter Why Do I Bother

    Fully agreed Nick, AJR did the same in 2015 and do not think I will ever go back...


    My best friend is retiring to Thailand, for the exact reasons you quote 🙁 this country is going backwards and is ram packed full of people.


    I retired to Thailand, but still have several BTL’s. I will gradually get rid and enjoy the peace and quiet and be free from being subject to the constant BS and tax hikes that we LL’s are subjected to.

  • Sarah Fox-Moore

    Not a cat in Hells chance would l fit a Heat Pump in any of my property : wildly expensive to fit & run & do not work in anything other than purpose built new properties. No thanks. As a Landlord l will never fit that nonsense in my rentals.
    In my own home l will keep my lovely hydro carbons: Oil and log burner. Thank you very much.


    I think this is not the case. You can heat any home with a heat pump but it will be more effective with good insulation. A well installed system should be as good / cheap as gas, but there are not enough good installers yet & retrofitting may be expensive depending on the extra work that is required.

    We should not be dinosaurs & resist all & any progress but assess new technologies on their merits. I will not be installing heat pumps any time soon but I fully expect we will all have to eventually.

    Peter Why Do I Bother

    Tricia, I agree we will be dragged into this at some point. However I think there has been zero consultation with landlords and the various landlord bodies have not represented us well.

    Instead of S24 why was that not dressed up as bring the standards up to keep it? If people had been shown to be moving forward and embracing new technology then the tax breaks could have stayed.

    It is like what I have posted before

    60's Ice Age is coming in ten years
    70's Oil running out in ten years
    80's Acid rain will destroy all crops in ten years
    90's Ozone layer will disappear in ten years
    00's Floods will destroy the world in ten years

    None of it happened but taxes went up to support it....


    I could have had a heat pump fitted for free, both myself and my tenant a lady in her 60s said no thank you

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    Tricia, I was in the same boat in December 2022, when the gas engineer went to test the annual boiler etc and found the boiler not working in a rented house. The tenants never had the heating on since moving in September 2022 and had some signs of dampness and mould. They had said that they had the boiler on, but never told me it was not working. I did not know anyone who could do the heat pump. My gas engineer could not do install heat pumps. About 3 months ago, I had boiler issue at our home. My gas engineer resolved the issue and he said he is currently undergoing training in heat pump and will be ready to start work on hear pump in the summer. Other than that, I do not know anyone able to successfully carry out such work. I have been deceived by Solar company on 2 properties, so I have to be careful about getting on to a bandwagon with untried and untested territory. The government do not understand the issues at all. My tenants in that house never registered with any utility companies so never paid any bills at all for the whole year. The property has a 'C' EPC.

  • Peter Lewis

    Unless you have an extremely modern highly insulated home that is devoid of drafts and has some sort of airlock, ie porch, for your entrance, have a large spare cupboard for a water tank and emersion heater, are willing to replace your radiators for larger ones, ready to increase your electricity bill to heat your water, have a space outside for the compressor, and are willing to shell out at least three times as much money even with your grant for your system against replacing a gas boiler, are prepared for at least three times as long for installation time. And even after all that to be colder in your home, don’t bother. Now on the other hand ground source heat pumps are much more efficient, but you will need a decent sized garden and about double the money.

  • Matthew Payne

    Ive been calling out heat pumps for years, it was clearly a phony stop gap, the government had to recommend something other than gas to save its blushes on its green credentials, but they were always a busted flush, too big, don't work in the cold, too expensive, cant retrofit to most properties, there is a long list.

    Grant schemes are also a waste of time as all the supplier does is get greedy and inflate the cost by the amount of the grant, so all that happens is tax payers fund a nice set of bonuses for suppliers directors while it lasts. Heat pumps used to be about £10/12k now they are suddenly £18/20k after the grant appears, surprise, surprise, blame Brexit, Putin and the Houthis no doubt for the 50% price hike.

    A combination of hydroden and electric is the future depending on property type.


    When you say electric Matthew, do you have experience of Infrared - as my post below?
    Hydrogen, if 'green' hydrogen i.e. produced the right way, sounds good. But as you hint at ("stop gap") may be rather a long time away.

  • Ted Sim

    Studies and calculations by Lord Moncton have shown that even if netzero was possble
    It would achieve a saving of only 0.6 of a degree in warming by 2050! Why should UK bankrupt itself by pursuing poinless political eco schemes when China burns 4.3 bilion tons ofcoal each year Uk 7.6 million tons ie 56times more is consumed byChina than UK
    Also the benefiicial effects of C02 on trees vegetation and crops is ignored


    Tens of thousands of scientists say climate change is real and a growing threat to humankind, compared to Lord Monkton - who?
    When the world is struggling to keep climate increase to 1.5 degrees, 0.6 of a degree doesn't sound too bad. Even 0.3 degrees would be better than nothing. Or is that the alternative - do nothing and suffer more in the future?

    The way science works, as scientists point out, is if one of them could demonstrably prove climate change to be a hoax, they would become very famous and incredibly rich (e.g. well funded by fossil fuel companies).

    I've seen a lot about China building new coal powered plants; but little mention that they install more solar than the whole of Europe, or all of the USA. This is explained as them wanting energy of any sort to power their economy and huge population (okay their economy not doing so well recently). They have a 2050 target, and with their non-dissent regime may well meet it.

    Some of the things/changes we are being told we'll need to do to try to limit climate change are unappealing.
    Which makes it really annoying is that we've known about climate change for over 30 years (Margaret Thatcher was quite right on it, heard her speech again by chance last month - pity she couldn't persuade her party).
    So could have taken easier and overall cheaper taken steps to reduce it earlier: things we are doing now anyway, but a lot harder, inconvenient, and more disruptive as we are having to do them late.

    Massive cuts to home insulation immediately after the Coalition Government came back to bite us with recent gas price hikes and having to pay far more. We've know about security of supply issues since the 1970s oil price shock, but the climate change denying views ignored that (together with -at least- likely damaging effects on climate, higher insurance costs of flooding, expensive flood defences that cannot keep up with the likely changes etc). So reliance on gas and oil funded Putin's regime: war in Ukraine and his other 'interventions', whether direct or via his Wagner Group.

    I could be selfish, or not bother: the worst effects of climate change won't affect me in my lifetime. I could probably avoid the sustained/overnight high temperature effects on the elderly death rates, even without climate spiralling air-conditioning. And not face rebuke by children/grandchildren who will suffer the most. So one advantage of getting old sooner rather than later.

    Environmentally conscious people used to be labelled by the right wing press as 'treehuggers' at the nicest; also sandal-wearing, muesli-eating (possibly also one-legged lesbianss- sorry, not allowed to spell that correctly on here). I was none of these, and didn't even eat muesli back then (and not tofu now).
    But look at who is being proved right: un-happily smug :-)
    Large majority of UK population concerned about climate change and also want Government to do more to avoid it.

    Indications of what for-profit companies are doing can be seen from e.g. Trending Now- Sustainable Construction: weekly e-mails announcing large and expensive construction and power schemes. Have they all been hoaxed? Or are they investing for the future?


    Henry, I do not think anyone is arguing that limate change is not happening. It has happeneed before and will happen again. Ice age, Dinosaurs etc.

    What many are saying is that we are not the cause. The pain our government is imposing for Net Zero is the equivalent of tinkling on the great fire of London. It is arrongance to believe that our actions will change it when other, much large countries are ading fuel to the flames.

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    I am beginning to believe that these EPC articles are click bait from Kim Jon Norwood to increase the number of hits on the website. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

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    My son bought a house without central heating, I persuaded him to install a heat pump and PV panels and battery backup. It works extremely well and he is virtually energy independent. However, the situation is different when there is an existing central heating system because the existing radiators are all too small and will need replacing so costing as much as a completely new system.

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    It sounds like a lot of you are scathing about heat pumps. I completely agree that it is not for every house but for some it’s a decent viable option. I’m just about to buy a house that needs completely refurbishing so am going to put underfloor heating in with a heat pump and it faces south east so some solar panels would work very well with the heat pump. I know that’s a completely different scenario to just changing from a gas boiler but where there is a scenario to use a heat pump I think that’s a better idea than keeping a gas boiler as it future proofs the house for EPC targets and offers high efficiency which in turn could attract a higher rent. It’s not for every scenario by any means but for me this would work brilliantly but will cost quite a bit more to start which is the biggest stumbling block but it pays its way back slowly over the years and I like the idea of contributing towards a better environment where possible.


    Yes Adam for you it could work, it wouldn't work for any of my properties though

    jeremy clarke

    One of our landlords fully refurbished his 3 bedroom detached house for his own family but had to move abroad at short notice. We let the house and even over this relatively mild winter, the tenants have had to buy and use plug in heaters to keep warm! In addition, a previously c rated epc was downgraded to d after heat pump was fitted.

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    Has anyone, in their own homes or in rentals, had experience of Infrared Heating? E.g. as an alternative to heat pumps and gas heating boilers.

    Supposed to be 100% efficient use of electricity, heating objects rather than the air/space. Also, I understand, as Infrared warms the surfaces of objects without warming the air, the relative humidity in the air remains low and when the air meets a warm surface, condensation does not occur. Said to be one of the primary benefits to buildings of Infrared Heating.

    At a Futurebuild or similar exhibition at ExCel a couple of years ago, they had two full size rooms heated that way. Were toasty warm, when in the main exhibition space you were comfortable going around with a coat/jacket on. Panels weren't obvious as blended into the walls (another benefit - no visible rads, but understand there are visible mirror panels available).
    But not seeing 'behind the scenes' I couldn't tell how many infrared panels they were using, nor running costs per room.

    Also, with apparent lack of trained people to do heat pumps, and other disbenefits commonly mentioned (like bigger rads), would installing Infrared heating be easier?


    There was a car showroom heated infrared locally few yrs back and it seemed to work well

  • Peter Lewis

    Modern gas boilers that are already hydrogen ready are the way to go. Heat pumps are less efficient in 95% of the places where they are being retro fitted.
    Heat pumps are just an inefficient, poor alternative.
    They might go a long way to meet the governments net zero targets. But they will make a huge hole in your bank balance for absolutely no increase in efficiency.


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