Your Heat Pump questions, answered
We’re hot on heat pumps. They’re the most carbon friendly heating solution out there (with 4x the efficiency of a gas boiler), and they could even save you money on your energy bills. But before you make the switch to low carbon heating, you probably still have a few questions. So we’re here to break down the facts and dispel the myths on heat pumps. Skip to FAQs
Heads up: heat pumps are so hot right now that wait time for a survey date is currently several months.
Our team are working quickly to support everyone waiting, so we'll be with you as soon as we can.
An introduction to heat pumps
Answers to common questions
What to expect from your heat pump home surveyThe survey is an important time to discuss where your heat pump will go and any bespoke needs your home may have.
What to expect from your heat pump installationThe big day has arrived and your heat pump installation is happening. But what does it involve? We talk you through the process step by step.
Is a heat pump right for me?
A heat pump can provide home heating that’s more energy efficient, more consistently comfortable and far better for the planet than a boiler powered by fossil fuels. That’s a win-win for you and the environment.
Ensuring that your heat pump works effectively is our top priority, so you can keep monthly bills down whilst staying cosy. We’ll work with you to optimise your temperature settings for cost and comfort, and we recommend that your home is well insulated before we begin tailoring your design.
Our heat pumps start at £500 for a standard installation (including the government grant). For larger or more complex homes, costs will be higher, but nearly all our quotes are less than the national average of £5,565.
Whilst heat pumps can be fitted in most UK homes, we’re not able to install them in all properties just yet. To find out if a heat pump will work for your home and how much it will cost, fill out our no-obligation form, and we'll get in touch to let you know if your home is heat pump ready.
Heat pump myths busters
🔥 The heating quality isn't as good as gas heating
Before installation we do a thorough home survey to ensure the heat pump system we install is optimised for your space. Unlike a gas boiler, where the temperature tends to yo-yo throughout the day, a heat pump is designed to stay on for longer without costing you more - keeping your home a cosy, consistent temperature throughout.
When surveyed, 90% of our customers said the warmth from their new heat pump was either just as comfortable or even more comfortable than their old boiler.
🔥 They won't work when the temperature is below freezing
Air source heat pumps can actually work in temperatures as low as -20 °C when properly installed. In Norway, one of the world’s coldest countries, every other home has a heat pump (so they must work pretty well). When it gets very cold, the heat pump will need to use a bit more energy than usual to keep your home cosy, but fortunately we only see temperatures below -10°C a few days per year, and even then, a heat pump will still function more efficiently than a gas boiler.
🔥 Heat pumps are really noisy
Thankfully this just isn't the case with modern units. The main engine of a heat pump is something called a compressor, which does generate a bit of noise but there are strict regulations on how loud this can be (around 40 - 60 decibels within one metre). That's roughly the same as a fridge freezer or a gas boiler and because they're outside, most people won't even notice.
🔥 They need a lot of maintenance
A heat pump can last 20 years – about twice as long as a boiler – and they need less pricey maintenance. Our installations include a 5 year warranty for your heat pump (when serviced annually), and 2 year warranty for hot water tanks and radiators installed by us. If you'd still like extra peace of mind, check out our optional market-leading service plans.
🔥 Heat pumps are just too expensive
With the Government's Boiler Upgrade Scheme, a heat pump may be more affordable than you think. 90% of our heat pump quotes beat the UK's average cost of £5,565, and when including the government grant, can be installed at a comparable cost to a gas boiler + installation. If you have a larger house or need a more complex installation, this will increase the price - see our FAQs below for info on additional costs. Get a cost estimate here.
More questions? We've got you covered:
How much does an Octopus heat pump cost?
We’ve been working hard to optimise our processes and supply chain to bring heat pumps to you at the lowest price possible. 90% of our heat pump quotes are lower than the national average cost. Our standard installation costs range from as low as £500 including the Boiler upgrade scheme, when including the £7,500 Boiler Upgrade Scheme grant (which BEIS publish monthly on their website). It can cost more if you have a larger home or non standard installation - we'll let you know if your cost estimate. Find out more about potential additional costs in our Do I need insulation?' Do I need radiators?and Other costs we may factor into your quote FAQs below.
We'll be able to let you know exactly what you need and how much it costs after your no obligation home survey.
What is a heat pump?
A heat pump extracts heat from the air outside and brings it into the home using electricity. This means you get a bigger quantity of heat with less electrical power usage.
Air-source heat pumps give you comfortable, consistent heating and hot water. But with…
- Less energy: Heat pumps use 4x less energy than even the most efficient boilers to generate the same amount of heat.
- Less carbon: That efficiency means you’ll instantly slash your heat carbon footprint by around 70%. Plus, they run on electricity, which gets greener every year.
- Longer life: A heat pump can last 20 years – up to twice as long as a gas boiler.
Visit our Heat Pump Hub to find out more.
How does a heat pump work?
Heat pumps harness energy from the environment (either the ground, or air around your home). They then use that energy - alongside a smidge of electricity - to heat the water in your pipes, and so your home. If you’re interested in finding out more, you could watch this helpful video, or if you want to dive a little deeper, our lead heat pump boffin Peter explains more in this dedicated blog post.
Or take a look at this great article from The Guardian explaining the fascinating science of heat pumps - visualised.
How much space do I need?
The outside bit of a heat pump is roughly 1m x 1m x 2m (or to help you visualise - the size of a moped). It needs a space of around a meter infront and to each side to breathe.
Inside you need space for a hot water tank - 2m x 1m x 1m (the size of a modern fridge freezer), on the ground or first floor of your home (the closer to the outside the better).
The cylinder can also be installed in a garage, outdoors in a purpose-built store, or in the loft, but this may decrease efficiency (it takes more energy to heat the water when the cylinder is exposed to the cold).
If you don't have the room right now, new space saving technology is being developed all the time, so expect this to come down considerably in future (more on this to come 👀).
Do I need to be an Octopus Energy customer to get a heat pump installed with you?
Nope! We’re on a mission to decarbonise heating - anyone can get a survey and installation with us even if you’re not an Octopus Energy customer.
How will I be able to control my heat pump?
With an Octopus heat pump, you’ll be able to set your schedule and temperature from wherever, whenever with an app on your phone. Plus, you’ll have both a digital control panel and thermostat in your home - so you’re free to use whichever works best for you. Check out our handy video on how to set up a schedule on the in-home control panel for a little insight into how it works: https://octo.ps/schedule
What's the process to get a heat pump with Octopus Energy?
Fill out our quick online form and we'll provide you with a fixed price quote. You can speak to our team about any questions you have, and if you choose to accept your quote, we'll take a £500 fully refundable advance payment and book in your home survey.
If your home isn't suitable for a heat pump, we'll let you know at this stage, and we'll be back in touch as soon as we have a solution for you.
During the home survey, our experts will check the heat loss of your home and discuss where your heat pump will go. We’ll use this time to finalise your heating design and double check that a heat pump is suited for your home, or whether any additional works are needed.
We’ll then send you an assessment of the home survey in a final sales agreement. Our team will be available to answer any questions you may have. If you accept the agreement, our install coordinators will be in touch to arrange and manage your install. We’ll then take your final payment after installation.
After installation, our dedicated aftercare team will be available by phone or email, 7 days a week, to help with any queries you have. Your heat pump comes with a 5 year warranty, and 2 year warranty for the other products we install (like your hot water cylinder and radiators). Find out more about our service plans.
How is my quote calculated?
We generate your quote using the information you provide us when you request a quote and EPC data on your home from the national database. This allows us to generate, with a high degree of accuracy, the cost of a standard installation for your property.
If your home requires any non-standard work to make it heat pump ready (this is rare, but it happens from time to time) our team will let you know after your home survey.
What's included in the price of an instant quote?
Your quote includes everything you need for a standard installation:
- A brand new Daikin heat pump sized for your home’s heating needs
- A new Daikin heat pump-compatible water cylinder
- Any necessary radiators for your new system
- Plumbing & electrical bits needed to fit your new heating system
- Labour to complete your installation
- 5-year warranty on your heat pump
- 2-year warranty on all other parts
- 5-year warranty on labour & workmanship
- £7,500 Boiler Upgrade Scheme grant (we apply for this grant on your behalf)
Terms & Conditions apply; labour provided based on standard installation
There may be some additional work or tests required to make your home heat pump ready at an extra cost, such as planning permission in some cases or insulation if you need it (to reduce heat loss). Following your survey, we'll be able to confirm precisely what work is necessary so that you can make an informed decision on whether you'd like to go ahead (see the FAQ below for more detail).
Potential costs not included in your quote
Our quote includes everything you need for an efficient, MCS-quality heat pump install. If you want extra bits (for example, extra radiators, a water cylinder upgrade, or solar diverter), it will cost more. We'll discuss all options after the survey.
You can only claim the heat pump grant if you have an in-date EPC with no outstanding insulation recommendations. Check your EPC here. It costs about £60 to get a new EPC; any insulation works must be sorted separately. You can check the full grant eligibility requirements here.
Other important bits:
- We can only install Octopus-supplied hardware (sorry, no designer radiators!)
- We can't install in properties without any existing plumbing (or if the plumbing needs to be fully replaced)
At survey, we may find other works are necessary to make your home heat pump ready, such as asbestos testing (costs from about £90 per sample) and removal; planning permission (around £322), electricity network upgrades, or groundworks. These costs are not included in your quote, but we can help you to arrange this.
Check out the FAQs below for more detail on whether you'll need to carry out these works.
Additional works if applicable
If a hot water cylinder is located above the ground floor, it is sometimes required for us to set up scaffolding in order to connect the heat pump to the hot water cylinder. This would generally be on installs where we are running the pipework up externally on the wall. Depending on your space requirements and type of property, scaffolding can cost between £500-£800.
If you have Microbore Pipework (8mm) at home, you will be subject to a third-party re-pipe, at an extra cost. We’ll check this at your home survey, but if you’d like to find out sooner, you can measure the external diameter of the radiator pipe to check if it’s smaller than 8mm.
Do I need an asbestos test?
If your home has an artex ceiling or was built before the year 2000, for safety reasons, it’s likely that an asbestos test will need to be completed before we can begin your installation. Generally an asbestos check is around £90 per sample, and removal is around £300. We’d only need to remove the asbestos if we’re planning on doing direct work on what may be asbestos. Such as drilling through ceilings or removing a boiler/water cylinder that contains it.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a mineral that occurs naturally in specific types of rock. Due to its durability, fire-resistance, and relatively low cost, it was used in the manufacture of thousands of products, particularly building materials up until 1985, when it became known that asbestos poses serious respiratory health hazards to people who are exposed to even a small amount of airborne fibres. The HSE has guessed that all buildings constructed before the beginning of the 21st century may contain asbestos in the UK.
Do I need planning permission?
Most heat pumps can be fitted under something called “permitted development” which means that planning permission is not required.
However, there are a few scenarios where your install may not fall under permitted development, in which case advice and/or planning permission must be sought from your Local Planning Authority (LPA). The most common reasons are outlined below:
- Your proposed heat pump location is within 1 metre of the boundary of your property;
- Your proposed heat pump location does not pass a noise assessment (i.e. the proposed location is too close to a neighbouring property’s window);
- Other fan units (such as another heat pump or an air conditioning unit) already exist at the property;
- Your property is located within a World Heritage Site or conservation area, or itself is a Listed Building.
We will inform you if your proposed heat pump install would be subject to planning permission being obtained from your LPA, but we’re unable to submit planning applications on your behalf.
As Octopus Energy is an MCS-accredited installer, planning permission must be obtained prior to commencing your heat pump installation. There may be a cost charged by your LPA of around £250 to submit your planning application, but if successful then this allows us to claim the £7,500 BUS grant on your behalf.
You can read more about permitted development and planning permission for heat pumps here.
Do I need insulation?
Insulating your home is always a good idea, as it means whatever boiler you have will work more efficiently. Generally homes with an Energy Performance Certificate Rating of D and above, with at least a couple of types of insulation (wall, loft or double glazing) should be well insulated enough already, which includes most homes in the UK. You can check your EPC here. If not you may have to insulate first, which is usually quite straightforward (cavity wall insulations costs around £500 and takes 4 hours on average) and we can help arrange this for you.
Keep in mind that you can only claim the heat pump grant if you have an in-date EPC with no outstanding insulation recommendations.
Do I need new radiators?
Heat Pump runs at a lower temperature than a typical gas boiler (which makes them greener and cheaper to run), but this may require larger radiators or more radiators to be installed to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Most homes need a couple of radiator upgrades, our Surveyors will confirm any radiator changes required during your home survey, and we can install them at the same time as the heat pump. It’s worth mentioning that heat pumps also work well with wet underfloor heating (dry underfloor heating doesn't work with a heat pump).
Which types of property are Octopus installing in at the moment?
Heat pumps can work in nearly all homes, but as we scale up, there are a few limitations on homes we’re able to install in right now. As a general rule, if your house is below 200 metres squared, was built after the 1930’s and is well insulated, it should be a good fit for an Octopus heat pump.
Right now our dedicated team of scientists and engineers at our Research & Development centre are working hard to find cost-effective heat pump solutions for homes with specialised needs. That includes systems for small properties and flats, or larger properties with higher heat loss. To find out if this applies to you, fill out our enquiry form.
I’m planning on renovating my home or building an extension, can I still get a heat pump?
Making home improvements is really exciting, and a heat pump could be the icing on the cake! If you’re planning to make structural changes (like knocking down a wall or adding an extension), you will need to wait for the renovation to be complete before we can begin designing your heat pump.
This is because big changes will alter the overall heat loss and thermal performance of your property. We tailor your heat pump design specifically to your home, so if the layout changes, the needs of your heat pump will too. This means your heat pump may end up being too small or less efficient, and cost you more money in the long run. Your heat pump may also no longer meet MCS requirements, which is needed for the government grant.
However, there are some things you can factor into your renovation plans now to get your home heat pump ready:
- Underfloor heating/ radiators - underfloor heating is the perfect partner for heat pumps or larger, higher output radiators to accommodate the lower flow temp. Just let your contractor know you're planning to match it with a heat pump and they'll find the right emitters for you.
- Pipework - you'll need a minimum pipe size of 15mm for a conventional heat pump. If you have smaller pipes, they can still work well but you may need a more bespoke system.
- Space - think about where you'll be placing your heat pump (outside) and water cylinder (inside) - the closer together, the better!
- Insulation - renovation can be a prime time to add more insulation to your property, which will make your heating more efficient (whatever system you have)
Please get back in touch once your renovation is structurally complete and we'll be happy to give you a heat pump quote.
How loud is a heat pump? Try our test.
There are strict regulations on how loud a heat pump can be - around 40 - 60 decibels. That's roughly the same as a fridge freezer or a gas boiler and because it lives outside, the sound shouldn't be too noticeable for most people.
If you'd like to test how loud your new heat pump will be in the space you think it will be installed, we've put together some simple steps to test the noise level.
- Download a sound level meter app on your phone. We used Decibel X:dB in our test and found it free (without too many ads), and super easy to use.
- Go to the spot where your heat pump will be installed.
- Begin recording the sound levels with your app.
- Play the video below demonstrating the sound of a heat pump.
- Turn up the volume of the video until you hit 62 decibels (dB). That’s the standard noise rating for our biggest heat pumps, smaller are a bit quieter. For average sound level by heat pump model, check out the list below:
EDLA04 - 58 dBA
EDLA06 - 60 dBA
EDLA08 - 62 dBA
EDL09-16 - 62dBA)
- If you'd like to test how loud the heat pump will be for your neighbours, turn the volume down to 42dB. For most councils in the UK, you'll need to apply for planning permission if the sound exceeds this volume at their window.
Keep in mind
This is quite a simple test, and the MCS average noise ratings we reference are tested in perfect conditions. In real life noise levels can vary depending on environmental factors such as the direction of your heat pump and whether there are objects or surfaces close by for sound to bounce off.
Occasionally your heat pump may sound a little louder. For example when it's going through a defrost cycle which should only happen when it's very cold. Alternatively, it can be even quieter when the heat pump is just ticking along.
How to visit a heat pump before you buy
If you're keen to see a heat pump in action before you purchase, innovation agency, Nesta, are launching a program that will give you the opportunity to visit a working heat pump in your area. Find out what it's like to live with a heat pump first-hand from heat pump owners across the UK, hear it running and see it in a home like yours.
All you need to do is register to find out about viewings close to you, and visit a heat pump!
Do I need to be an Octopus Energy customer to get a heat pump installed with you?
Nope! We’re on a mission to decarbonise heating - anyone can get a survey and installation with us, even if you’re not an Octopus Energy customer.
The Boiler Upgrade Scheme - how it work?
The Boiler Upgrade Scheme is a government grant to help support the cost of of replacing fossil fuel heating systems with a heat pump.
On the 21st September government announced they are increasing the funding to £7,500 from 23rd October 2023. Following this announcement, we've taken the decision to apply this to all of our quotes now subject to this being implemented as announced.
We'll apply this directly to your heat pump quote, so you only need to pay the net amount. If you've already received a quote with the previous funding (£5,000) that's no problem, we'll make sure this is updated in your final sales agreement.
What about maintenance costs?
Another benefit of heat pumps is they are generally cheaper to maintain, as they operate at much lower temperatures and have fewer moving parts than a gas boiler. They also have a longer life expectancy of 20 years + (vs 10 - 15 years for a gas boiler). Most heat pumps will come with a labour and parts warranty as standard, but just like a car requires an annual MOT for its insurance, you'll need to make sure they're checked annually for your warranty to be valid. Our heat pump service plans start from £9 per month and we can help you set that up for you post installation
Should I wait for a Cosy heat pump?
In September we announced our new 'Cosy' heat pump- our super-smart, super-green new Octopus heat pump! Our smallest model 'Cosy 6' will be available in the next few months alongside our current heat pump range. If you are interested please sign up on our octopus heat pump page and we'll let you know which options are available to you post survey
Where are you currently installing?
We’re currently installing heat pumps across most of England & Wales. For solar installations, we’re installing in most of England at present.
We’re working to extend our tentacles across the rest of the UK as quickly as possible. If you’re outside of our service area now, we’ll let you know as soon as we get to you.
Why aren’t Octopus Energy installing heat pumps in my area yet?
We’re really proud of the progress we’ve already made on our journey to make low carbon heating available for more people in England. We have now hired and trained 100's of heat pump engineers to roll out installations. However, we’re still growing as a team and this means that we have had to start in the areas where we have engineers available. If you’re unsure if we’re installing in your area right now, fill out our form and we’ll be in touch to let you know.
How do we work out our claims?
90% of our heat pump quotes beat the national average:
We compared all of our heat pump quotes for July to the UK national average quote, which government
publish here every month. We found that 90% of our Octopus quotes were below the national average price of £13,065 before any grants, or £5,565 when you factor in the new government grant.
Cut carbon emissions by around 70% with a heat pump:
We've based this on the following carbon efficiency calculation:
Gas CO2 = (A/C*D) = 2.55 tonnes
Electricity CO2 = (A/B*E) = 0.78 tonnes
Carbon saving = 1.7 tonnes or 69%
Where A - E are:
A - 10 MWh typical energy demand for heating and hot water for a 3 bed property
B - 3 heat pump seasonal coefficient of performance
C - new boiler efficiency of 82.5% (BEIS study)
D - Gas fuel emissions of 210 gCO2/kWh (SAP 10)
E - Electricity fuel emissions of 233 gCO2/kWh (SAP 10)
Save £100’s on your energy bills:
On a standard tariff, you’d typically save around £340 a year with a heat pump. With other factors considered, you could save up to £712. Find out more about our running costs calculations on our blog
A heat pump is 4x more efficient than a gas boiler
Heat pumps can deliver several units of heat for each unit of electricity. For every 1 kWh of electricity you put in, you could get up to 3.33kWh of heat out, which is an efficiency of 333%! This is because heat pumps don’t create heat, but move existing heat from nature into your home (like an air conditioner or refrigerator, but in reverse).
Alternatively, when you burn stuff to generate heat (like gas, oil, or wood), you are instead creating heat by converting matter to energy - so you can never get more than one unit of heat for each unit of energy you burn. Gas boilers in UK homes are only around 83% efficient, so for every 1 kWh of gas you put in, you get 0.83kWh of heat out, which is 4x less efficient than a heat pump (3.33/0.83 = 4.1)
Still need help? Get in touch
Contact our heat pump experts
Need support after installation?
Call us: 0808 175 1696
(Our aftercare phone line is open 8am – 8pm Monday to Saturday, 10am - 6pm Sunday. Or we answer emails 7 days a week, so we’ll be on hand to help ASAP.)
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