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.

An introduction to heat pumps

Answers to common questions

What to expect from your heat pump home survey

The 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 installation

The 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, to make sure the heat pump works well for your space.

Our heat pumps start at £3,000 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 £7,976.

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 £8,000, 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 a 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 £3000 including the Boiler upgrade scheme, when including the £5,000 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.

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.

Which types of property are you 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.

How much room does a heat pump 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, which is 2m x 1m x1m (the size of a modern fridge freezer), which you can place on the ground or first floor of your home (the closer to the outside the better). However, new space saving technology is being developed all the time, so expect this to come down considerably in future (more on this to follow!)

What's the process to get a heat pump with Octopus Energy?


Once you’ve registered your interest, we’ll do some initial checks to check if a heat pump is a good fit and see if we have an installer in your area. You'll receive a call from us where we will give you a rough cost estimate. If you decide to proceed, we’ll send a Low Carbon Heating Surveyors round to do a detailed assessment of your home (which normally takes around 3 hours). We’ll give you a quote for your new system, which will include any available grants. If you accept we'll book you in and complete your installation (which usually takes 3 - 5 days).

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. 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.

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).

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 £5,000 BUS grant on your behalf.

You can read more about permitted development and planning permission for heat pumps here.

Other costs we may factor into your quote


Aside from insulation and radiators, there are a couple of other things that may need to be factored into the price of your quote. Below are 3 examples of this:

If any part of your home was built before year 2000

If your home was built before the beginning of the 21st century, it’s possible that we may need to check for asbestos before doing any work on the property. Generally an asbestos check is around £50 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.

Roof access

When 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 instals 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.

I’m planning on renovating my home or building an extension, can I still get a heat pump?


Making big improvements to your home is really exciting, and a heat pump could be the icing on the cake! However 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.

If you’re just planning on redecorating or getting a new carpet, we’ll be happy to book your installation now, however if you’re looking into having any of the following work done, it’s best to get back in touch when the work is finished:

  • Building an extension on your home
  • Installing underfloor heating or changing your plumbing
  • Knocking down walls
  • Removing or changing doors or insulation
  • Replacing windows

In order to get a quote and book a survey your property must be structurally complete with a fixed floor plan (i.e. walls, roof, doors, windows, insulation and plumbing is all complete and not due to change). We’re also not able to base our designs on architectural drawings or plans at this stage as those plans may change prior to completion.

Even if you do have renovation work planned, you can still fill out our enquiry form and simply include an estimated completion date for your renovation work or extension - we’ll reach out at that stage to kickstart your journey to low-carbon heating!

What does a ‘standard installation’ mean?


A standard installation includes everything you'd need for a typical 3 bedroom home :

  • Expert no obligation consultation & home survey
  • A heat pump (up to 7kW) from a leading brand, on a ground level external wall
  • A hot water cylinder (Up to 200L) in the place of your existing one
  • Copper pipe (Up to 12m) and electrical cabling (up to 15m) connected to your existing plumbing and fusebox
  • Up to 9 days of engineer time to install your system
  • System flush, chemicals and magnetic filter to keep your system running smoothly
  • 5 year warranty on parts and labour

Every home is unique though so that is why a survey is essential to assess yours.

Are heat pumps noisy?


No! This is a bit of a heat pump myth, which just isn't true 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 meter). That's roughly the same as a fridge freezer (or a gas boiler!) and of course they're outside, so most people don't even notice it.

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.

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. By the end of 2022 we will have 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 does the Boiler Upgrade Scheme work?


The government is launching a new scheme called the Boiler Upgrade Scheme from April, which means you can get a £5,000 grant towards the cost of installation. To qualify, you need to have an Energy Performance certificate from the past 10 years that demonstrates you meet their insulation criteria (which most homes do). We’ll be able to check this for you and if you qualify, process the grant and deduct this from the cost of your installation.

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 RED (renewable energy device) heat pump?


The acquisition of RED is part of our long-term ambition to reducing costs and making heat pumps accessible to as many people as possible. Our partnership won’t be available in the market for a while, but until then we can still install some of the leading heat pump brands in the UK at a similar cost to a gas boiler, thanks in part to the government grant which will expire once it reaches their funding limit. So, if you’re interested we would strongly encourage you to register your interest with us for a heat pump as soon as possible.

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.

How do we work out our claims?


90% of our heat pump quotes beat the national average:
90% of Octopus Energy heat pump quotes are below the UK average quote of £8,143. Both the UK average, and the Octopus quotes include the £5,000 Boiler Upgrade Scheme 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 will keep you toasty, even at - 20°
Air source heat pumps can actually work in temperatures as low as -20 °C! 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.

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)

If your question wasn't answered here, just pop us an email to


There's more where that came from:

The Heat Pump Hub
Cosy Octopus: the heat pump tariff
Get a heat pump with Octopus Energy

Hey I'm Constantine, welcome to Octopus Energy!