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EST heat pump trial Phase 2 Report

The first wave of heat pump installations in the UK to 2010 look to have left some customers disappointed. It is, therefore, some relief that recomissioning (ie. resizing) and installation of some of the poor performers, means that the EST Heat Pump Trial Phase 2 report (2010-13) is significantly more upbeat.

Bad publicity from Housing Associations tenants reporting huge electricity bills has not helped the cause of heat pumps. NEF’s literary review for DECC, catalogues reported problems (p47-56). The EST’s Phase 1 Heat Pump Trials of 2009 – 2010 looked at 83 installations and found that whilst there was some good news, there were also significant failings. In the worst cases wrong sized pumps had been installed leading to poor performance.

It is, therefore, some relief that recomissioning and replacement of 10 of the poorly performing heat pumps in the study, means that the EST Heat Pump Trial Phase 2 report (2010-13) is significantly more upbeat. In fact, 77% of the households involved would recommend a heat pump to a friend.

The study usefully reminds us of the factors that affect the performance of heat pumps, including:

  • System sizing
  • Type of heat source/sink
  • Building efficiency
  • User behaviour
  • Heating patterns and average internal temperatures
  • Installation practices

Such caveats are also highlighted in our FAQ on Heat Pumps here. The EST report suggests growing confidence that MCS Certificated installers are now up to the job so there will be fewer issues in future.

Some SuperHomers report high levels of satisfaction with heat pumps, so we know that a quality pump, correctly sized and properly installed and used in a really well insulated house can drive down heating bills significantly.