Can heat pumps be installed in older properties?

Air source, ground source and associated systems for heating homes
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AE-NMidlands
Posts: 1854
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2021 6:10 pm

Can heat pumps be installed in older properties?

#1

Post by AE-NMidlands »

Another of the Grauniad's good articles: https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... properties
Critics claim the technology is best suited to newbuilds – but studies reveal success with retrofits and in poorly insulated homes
The belief that heat pumps will work only in newbuild homes is still widely held.

The number of heat pumps installed every year across the EU is expected to surge by the end of the decade as governments take aim at household carbon emissions.
By 2025 heat pump installations in the EU are expected to climb from 2m a year in 2021 to more than 4m, according to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA). This global energy watchdog predicts that by 2030 annual installations could reach almost 7m.

Crucially, these forecasts suggest the majority of installations will be in existing buildings rather than modern properties. By the middle of the decade more than half of all new heat pump installations will be in existing buildings, and by the end of the decade almost three times more will be installed in existing buildings compared with newbuilds.
The findings underline a key concern in the heat pump roll out – can heat pumps really work in older buildings, or should they be reserved for newly built properties?
The claim

In the UK the belief that heat pumps only work effectively in modern buildings has fuelled concerns that Britain’s large stock of Victorian and pre-second world war homes will scupper the government’s aim to install 600,000 a year by 2028.
A report commissioned in 2021 by the Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA), a trade body that represents gas boiler manufacturers, in partnership with four gas network companies, said heat pumps would be impractical for up to 54% of British households who were using gas to heat their homes.
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The science

Research published in 2022 by the Energy Systems Catapult (ESC), an independent research and technology organisation set up by the UK government, appears to dispel this claim.
The group ran a project aiming to install heat pumps in up to 750 homes across the country – from south-east Scotland and Newcastle to the south-east England – to test the technical and practical feasibility of a large-scale rollout of heat pumps into existing British homes. It found that properties including Victorian terrace houses and 1960s flats could have a heat pump successfully installed.

“The project has not identified any particular type or age of property that cannot have a successful heat pump installation. The suggestion that there are particular home archetypes in Britain that are unsuitable for heat pumps is not supported by project experience and data,” the ESC report said.
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The verdict

Claims that the majority of the UK’s housing stock is not suitable for a heat pump appear to be overblown.
While some older homes will undoubtedly pose challenges to installers, field studies have shown that these challenges are not insurmountable. For example, basic insulation in older properties could improve energy efficiency. And flats in high-rise blocks with limited outdoor space could be connected to a heat network using other sources of low-carbon waste heat, or even large-scale heat pumps.

There has never been a single heating solution to fulfil the needs of all housing types in the UK and other European countries, and the case with heat pumps will be no different. But for the majority of homes it could be the easiest route towards a low-carbon future.
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AGT
Posts: 696
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2022 11:26 am

Re: Can heat pumps be installed in older properties?

#2

Post by AGT »

I don’t see it as is the property suitable for a heat pump, it should be is the person living in the home ready for heat pump!

Many can’t work out existing heating system controls!
Thebeeman
Posts: 196
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2022 8:56 am

Re: Can heat pumps be installed in older properties?

#3

Post by Thebeeman »

AGT wrote: Fri May 31, 2024 9:33 am I don’t see it as is the property suitable for a heat pump, it should be is the person living in the home ready for heat pump!

Many can’t work out existing heating system controls!
A lot of properties still have the heating setup as installed by the unskilled installer, unbalanced heating system and no TRV's. There are a lot of HWC's that are set to too low a temp to prevent legionella because it would be too hot for their hands etc.
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