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Clive Holland feels the temperature of Boiler Upgrade Scheme 

Posted: Thursday, June 6th, 2024

On the second anniversary of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS), Clive Holland reviews the initiative.


From the government's perspective, the scheme is not only going well, it is the future.


“Heat pumps are totally the future because they are more efficient in their use of energy than gas boilers. They are cleaner with no emissions and consumers have a 25 year guarantee of our MCS certified installation,” said Lord Martin Callanan the minister for Green Energy.


MCS certified heating engineer John Cruikshank does not share that optimism. While he is all for more energy efficient heating, John said the cost of certification and lack of hybrid system could make adoption of heat pumps an uphill task.


“I’m a massive believer in them but if you design the system properly, it will work, like a PV and a heat pump which may not be considered in future homes. And, you’ve got to know so much!” he said.


Master plumber Jimmy Hendry also joined the show saying he’s had to learn so much about boiler (up)sizing and how the upgrade signals an investment challenge for builders. 


According to him, heat pumps are more complicated to install than just slinging in a combi-boiler. ASHPs need to be sized for the specific house they are fitted in whereas with gas boilers, there is more flexibility. 


Jimmy also lamented the number of unqualified people attempting to install heat pumps which will lead to bad installs and unhappy customers. “We’ve started off this scheme with no regulation involved so anyone can buy these things and fit them and it clearly won’t do the job,” he said. 


Addressing this, Lord Callanan said the government is spending £5m to train gas boiler installers to be able to install heat pumps as well. 


Messaging in, a listener Dan Kevinolly said energy bills doubled after installing a heat pump in their Victorian town house, while Ross Fisher said regardless of the grants, the cost of living crisis will discourage people from upgrading. 


In response Lord Callanan said energy suppliers are offering special tariffs for builders installing heat pumps amongst other initiatives.


Listen to the full show here:

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