SMF - Just Installed!

Anyone have personal experience of heat pumps?

Started by Hippogriff, March 21, 2024, 07:56:41 AM

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I'm having a bad year with boilers... all are supposedly in good order(?), but some are just getting to "that age". I echo what my Heating Engineer tells me there, because - in truth - I'm wary of the whole thing.

I've replaced an inherited Vaillant turboMAX of uncertain age this year - cost £2,300 (needed some extra flue bits) - replacement is a very efficient 10-year warranty one, so at least that's good.

Another one - an IDEAL Logic+ commissioned in about 2010 - is on its way out I'm told - definitely would need the heat exchanger replacing, for hundreds of £s, and then "what would go pop next year"? I could be chasing my tail with it on a semi-permanent basis. It's just about old enough that I'm persuaded replacing it soon is an acceptable choice. So I'll go with that later in the year.

Another IDEAL Logic+, commissioned around 2014, so not even 10 years old yet... it needs re-pressurising daily (there's no leak on the central heating system - holes in the wall and floor have proven that!)... it's a known issue on IDEALs (two heating engineers have commented on this) and it also needs the heat exchanger replacing. It was suggested a replacement should be considered here too. I'm not really inclined to do that.

But, if I did all three then I'm looking at upwards of £6,000.

So, here I am - replacing gas boilers with new ones in 2024 when we're all supposed to be going for ground source or air source heat pumps!

But all I hear is anecdotal stories of a) them being too expensive and b) not being good enough to do the job.

Does any Landlord here have actual experience of taking the plunge?


I have two possibly helpful experiences, but neither of them directly helpful, I'm afraid.

I have a friend who was building a new home who installed a ground based heat exchanger - one of the ones buried in the ground not just a boiler replacement. It was brilliant and he essentially had free energy for heating. The disadvantage was that it was slow to heat the entire house compared to a gas boiler, but because it was so cheap, they never turned the heating off so that didn't matter.

I investigated getting my own home converted, but all of the central heating piping and radiators would need to have been replaced. The piping was too narrow and the radiators too small in most of the rooms. That killed any possible return on the investment in my lifetime (being over 55 at the time) and I didn't feel sufficiently motivated to save the planet at my own cost (being a selfish git).


I'm arriving at the same conclusion that there are too many prerequisites / hurdles for a retro-fit. OK for new builds. And expense? Wow. No wonder the government is offering grants of "up to £7,500"... what's left to pay? Quite a bit I'd wager.


To be honest, I found it next to impossible to find a supplier prepared to consider the job.

I live in a rural area with no gas supply, so I've just replaced my kerosene boiler with another one when it started to leak too badly.

Simon Pambin

Likewise, no personal experience but I've been researching them with a view getting one at home at some point in the future. I've considered one for the rental property but decided against it for the moment, mainly because it's not something the tenants are looking for.

Unless I managed to time it between tenancies, it would be a few weeks of disruption for them (and cost for me), and it would be imposing a way of heating the property on them that they might not want. It's a 2000-ish 3 bed semi, so call it a nominal heat loss of 8kW. The current gas boiler is 20-something kW so, if they want to whack the heating on for just a few hours morning and evening, it heats up quickly enough. A heat pump isn't well suited to that sort of approach: it's much more efficient if you keep the temperature with a couple of degrees day and night. I don't know where my tenants currently sit on the on-off vs low-and-slow spectrum. That's none of my business at the moment. If I put a heat pump in, though, I can foresee a whole load of "It's costing a fortune" / "Well, that's because you're using it wrong" back-and-forth.

If and when the time comes, I'd be inclined to take a good look at air-to-air instead of air-to-water. It doesn't attract the BUS grant, and you'd need another solution for the hot water, but it's cheaper to start with, it's inherently more efficient, it's a bit more tolerant of on/off usage and it gives you the option of cooling in summer. Plus, it looks different from the radiators people are used to so, mentally, they may be more prepared to use it differently. It's what the rest of the world mostly uses. We're a bit of an anomaly with our attachment to wet systems.


It seemed appropriate to at least check. But I've not heard a single thing to persuade me to go further down the rabbit hole. The time seems right in one way, but is the opposite in reality. It's for people who want to make a statement, I think, those who really want to be seen to be doing the right thing. It seems costly and ineffective - the worst of both worlds.

Tomorrow the heat exchanger on one of the IDEALs will be swapped-out... £470. Had a quote for over £900 for that too. Apparently it's a "special part"... it's not, but it can be a laborious job... so he just priced himself out 'cos he's lazy and wants the easy work.