The UK's "largest survey" into heat pumps finds that 8 in 10 respondents were either ‘very satisfied’ or ‘fairly satisfied’ with all aspects of their heat pumps.
The survey was commissioned by Nesta, an independent charity that works to support innovation in the UK, and involved asking 2,395 domestic heat pump owners (84% air source and 16% ground source) and 1,025 domestic gas boiler owners in England, Scotland and Wales about their experiences.
Those surveyed were asked about the performance of air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps and boilers, the installation process, ease of use, safety, reliability, and effectiveness of heat pumps and boilers in providing heating and hot water.
'High levels of satisfaction' for heat pump owners
The heat pump survey, believed to be the largest survey in the UK into heat pumps, was commissioned by Nesta to establish satisfaction levels and see if any improvements can be made to improve uptake of the technology. It focused on individuals that had an air source or ground source heat pump installed in their property for a minimum of six months.
Heat pump users reported high levels of satisfaction overall, with over 70% of respondents either ‘very satisfied’ or ‘fairly satisfied’. They were specifically asked about the safety, reliability, quiet operation and effectiveness of their heat pumps in providing both heating and hot water. In particular, respondents were satisfied with safety (92%), reliability (85%) and hot water heating (89%). The majority of users also felt that heat pumps were unobtrusive, with 85% being satisfied with noise levels.
When comparing their current heat pump to their previous heating system, 73% of heat pump owners stated that they were equally or more satisfied with their heat pump. Those who personally installed a heat pump in their own home exhibited the highest satisfaction rate (81% equally or more satisfied), followed by self builders (70% similarly satisfied).
Heat pump owners happier with running costs
Satisfaction levels between heat pump users and gas boiler users were relatively similar overall — also 70% for boiler owners —but there were some curious differences.
Heat pump owners were generally happier with running costs, with 67% being satisfied with this, while 59% of gas boiler owners shared the same sentiment.
How heat pumps work is by extracting heat from a source, such as air or the ground, and use a refrigerant (a fluid used to transfer heat) to transfer it. The pump compresses this fluid, elevating its temperature further so it can be used to warm both living spaces and water. This heat is then recycled so emphasis is often put on making sure the house and pipe work is appropriately insulated, perhaps why those surveyed reported higher satisfaction with running costs than those with gas boilers.
Boiler owners liked their 'ease of use and control'
One noteworthy distinction in satisfaction between heat pumps and gas boilers emerged in the category of 'ease of use and control'.
Heat pump users indicated lower satisfaction in this aspect, with 74% being 'fairly' or 'very' satisfied, compared to gas boiler users who reported 88% satisfaction.
There was also greater split in people's satisfaction with heat pumps compared to gas boilers as a higher proportion of heat pump owners gave a rating of nine or ten when asked about their likelihood of recommending the system, but also more ranking six or less.
Why people said they chose a heat pump
The primary motivation for installing a heat pump was the desire to be more environmentally friendly, with 84% of respondents expressing this sentiment.
Other popular reasons included taking advantage of government subsidies (61%), achieving cost savings (54%), improving thermal comfort (29%), and enhancing health (12%).
Additionally, 48 respondents cited the lack of access to the gas network or dissatisfaction with fuel storage as their motivation for choosing a heat pump.
If you are considering installing a heat pump it's worth reading about what heat pump grants are available in our guide as well as how to get £5,000 towards one under the government's Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS).
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News Editor Joseph has previously written for Today’s Media and Chambers & Partners, focusing on news for conveyancers and industry professionals. Joseph has just started his own self build project, building his own home on his family’s farm with planning permission for a timber frame, three-bedroom house in a one-acre field. The foundation work has already begun and he hopes to have the home built in the next year. Prior to this he renovated his family's home as well as doing several DIY projects, including installing a shower, building sheds, and livestock fences and shelters for the farm’s animals. Outside of homebuilding, Joseph loves rugby and has written for Rugby World, the world’s largest rugby magazine.