George Clarke: Why I love my air source heat pump

George Clarke standing in front of a wooden boat
George Clarke's new series of 'Amazing Spaces' starts this year (Image credit: Channel 4)

Architect and TV presenter George Clarke says his air source heat pump is 'one of the best things' he has installed in his own home and claims they can save money on heating bills.

The celebrity property expert, who presents George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces and Old House New Home on Channel 4, is known for his money-saving tips, particularly when it comes to energy efficiency.

Air source heat pumps move heat from one place to another and are powered by electricity. They use a compressor and a circulating structure of liquid or gas refrigerant to extract heat from outside sources and pump it indoors.

There are two different types – air source heat pumps absorb heat from the outside air, while ground source heat pumps use pipes buried in the garden to extract heat from the ground. 

George Clarke says he has installed the Mitsubishi Ecodan UltraQuiet in his home, apparently to huge success, looking now to add "renewable energy" to power it.

Why is George Clarke raving about air pumps?

George Clarke says heat pumps can save a lot of money on bills over the long-term and claims they’re far more environmentally friendly than other boilers.

“One of the best things I’ve ever put in is an air source heat pump,” he said. “So, I’ve got rid of my gas boiler. I’m not gas-dependent at all.

“These heat pumps aren’t cheap, so you can’t say they’re affordable. If you want to replace a gas boiler it’s going to cost you a couple of grand, but when you put an air source heat pump in, you’re changing a lot of the system, and the average cost is £6,000-£8,000, depending on the size of your house.”

The 48 year-old adds that homes need to have effective insulation for heat pumps to work well and adds that he buys his power from a renewable energy supplier.

He said: “My bills are definitely down, it’s amazing – they’re 30-40% less than they’d normally be. That’s a decent saving every year, but you’ve got to buy the kit. People are struggling to pay for expensive food and travel costs, so it might be a big ask.”

Installing an air source heat pump has been put forward by the government as an alternative to traditional gas boilers and electric heating, but concerns have been raised about the cost and how suitable they are for some homes. A recent example was of a homeowner in Lincolnshire who recently claimed his £25,000 pump was costing him £850 a month to run but still failed to keep his home at a comfortable temperature.

The government has launched heat pump grants to encourage homeowners, including the boiler upgrade scheme.

Clarke says heat pumps can save a lot of money on bills

George Clarke explains his choice of air source heat pump on his Instagram (Image credit: George Clarke/Instagram)

How does insulation help with heat pumps?

A better insulated home loses less heat which means don’t need to turn your heating up as high, saving you money.

Insulation means creating a barrier between something that is hot and something that is cold by reducing heat transfer by either reflecting thermal radiation or decreasing thermal conduction and convection between them.

Simple things you can do to reduce heat loss are insulate your loft, installing double or triple glazing to reduce heat loss through your windows, closing your curtains to stop heat escaping through the glass, and filling in any draughts around window sills, doors or in the floorboards.

Sam Webb

Sam is based in Coventry and has been a news reporter for nearly 20 years. His work has featured in the Mirror, The Sun, MailOnline, the Independent, and news outlets throughout the world.  As a copywriter, he has written for clients as diverse as Saint-Gobain, Michelin, Halfords Autocentre, Great British Heating, and Irwin Industrial Tools. During the pandemic, he converted a van into a mini-camper and is currently planning to convert his shed into an office and Star Wars shrine.