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Modern home-owners are spoiled in numerous ways in the modern age, particularly when it comes to the range and diversity of heating options available to them.

Take heat pumps, for example, which are effectively systems that move heat from one location to another by using a compressor and circulating a structure of liquid (or gas refrigerant). They usually utilise solar heat that has been absorbed by the ground or air, and are capable of heating both the air and your water supply.

Of course, there are various pros and cons associated with heat pumps, and we’ve broken down some of these in greater detail below.

The Advantages of Heat Pumps

Perhaps the biggest advantage of heat pumps is that they’re much cheaper to run than traditional oil or gas boilers, and this undoubtedly translates into sustained financial savings over time.

Similarly, heat pump systems reduce your household’s carbon emissions, by creating an incredibly efficient conversion rate of energy to heat. This benefit is reinforced by an extended lifespan of up to 50 years, which also hints at the relatively low-maintenance nature of typical heat pump systems.

Interestingly, heat pumps can also provide cooler air during the summer months, turning the system into a de facto air conditioner as and when required.

On a final note, the fundamental nature of heat pumps makes them an inherently safe heating source, particularly when compared to alternatives that are based on combustion.

This is a key consideration, and one that may be particularly appealing to first-time homeowners who are looking to create a safe and secure environment for them and their loved ones.

The Disadvantages of Heat Pumps

We’ve already touched on the energy efficient nature of heat pumps, which offers long-term financial savings to households.

However, this is slightly offset by a relatively high start-up and installation cost, which varies according to your choice of heat source and the precise model that you invest in.

More specifically, the cost of installing an air source heat pump is estimated at between £8,000 and £18,000, while ground source alternatives may set you back anywhere between £13,000 and £35,000.

Conversely, the cost of installing a standard gas boiler is just £3,000 on average, and this represents a marked difference that may prove challenging to some homeowners.

Not only is it costly to install heat pumps, but this process can also be incredibly difficult. This is particularly true in the case of heat pumps, as installers need to undertake thorough research in order to understand the movement of heat and the local geology.

Research has shown that some heat pumps will experience sustained issues in cold or coastal areas, which may cause considerable damage to the system over time.

As a result of this, optimal efficiency may prove to be an unachievable goal during the cold season, although such challenges may be overcome by investing in an upgraded heat pump system (if you’re able to afford this).

Although there are some energy efficiency benefits associated with heat pumps, it’s important to note that these systems are partially reliant on electricity to run.

This means that they’ll never be entirely carbon neutral, and this is a key consideration before you make a final decision.

Claire Preece

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