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Why get a heat pump?

  • Stop relying on gas
  • Slash your carbon footprint by up to 44%
  • Pair your heat pump with solar panels

Choosing the right heat pump installer for your home

  • Heat pumps can dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of your home
  • It’s important to get the right size of heat pump for your needs
  • Choosing the right heat pump installer is essential
  • Make sure your installer is MCS-certified
an engineer in a fluorescent jacket checking on heat pumps on a roof

Choosing the right heat pump installer for your home is an important decision

Installing a heat pump is one of the most beneficial things you can do to reduce the carbon footprint of your home. 

However, as heat pumps are a relatively new to the UK domestic market, it’s important to understand the technology, how it will work in your home, and what the transition to electric heating from a fossil fuel heating system will mean.

If you have never installed a heat pump before, the amount of technical information and questions that you need to ask may seem overwhelming, but any installer who is worth their salt will guide you through exactly what you need to know, and make sure you are set up with a system with the specifications you need for the size of your home.

Based on advice from the Heat Pump Federation, we’ve put together this short guide to cover everything you need to know before your installer comes to visit – including the right questions to ask, and other factors to consider.

Is my property suitable for a heat pump?

Contrary to popular heat pump myths, almost every home in the UK can be fitted with a heat pump.

As Bean Beanland of the Heat Pump Federation told The Eco Experts: “If a building can be heated with a boiler, it can be heated with a heat pump.”

Whatever the size, age or type or your property, these factors will be taken into account by your installer to determine what type of heat pump you need to make sure that it works for all of your heating and hot water requirements. 

As with all heating systems, the best thing that you can do to make sure your heat pump runs as efficiently as possible, is to make sure you insulate your home to keep the heat in, and minimise heat loss through draughts, cracks in doors, window frames and old roofs. 

Insulating your home through loft insulation or cavity wall insulation is straightforward, relatively cheap and will lead to cheaper energy bills, regardless of the type of heating system that you have. 

If your home is a listed property, in a Conservation Area, or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you may need certain permission to have your home insulated, or you might be restricted from doing so, but these are rare cases.

Is there advice on how to choose the right heat pump and installer?

Yes, most notably the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), The Energy Savings Trust, Which?, Citizens Advice, The Carbon Trust, YouGen, central and local government, electricity suppliers and electricity distribution network operators.

These are all useful sources of information, but they are not heat pump specialists and if you’re for more specific advice, reach out to the Heat Pump Federation, Ground Source Heat Pump Association and the Heat Pump Association

How do I choose the right heat pump?

When you’re deciding which heat pump to buy, it’s important to consider the following:

  • Total heat demand (i.e. how much you’ll use it in the winter and your annual usage.)
  • How much space you have – this will determine if you buy an external air-source heat pump or a ground-source one.
  • Space for a viable water source
  • Space inside the house
  • How your heat pump would work other technologies – solar power systems etc 
  • Incoming electricity supply
  • Current fuel type
  • Personal preference
  • Budget

What type of heat pump should I buy?

There are four main types of heat pump:

  • Air-source heat pumps (ASHP) – these use the air outside your home and use it to heat a refrigerant liquid, and from there they pass the resulting gas through a compressor and increase its temperature, which then heats up your home’s hot water supply.
  • Ground-source heat pumps (GSHP) – these draw in heat the same way, but the difference is it draws warmth from under the ground, which means they’re more consistent and efficient.  
  • Water-source heat pumps (GSHP) – this type of heat pump absorbs warmth from nearby bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers, streams, sea water and mine water. 
  • Air-to-Air heat pumps – these work in a similar way to air-source heat pumps, except they don’t use the hot air to heat up your water supply, instead they blow the hot air straight into your home. 

There are clear benefits to all four, with air-source being arguably the best value and commonly installed for houses. 

Water-source heat pumps are considered the most consistent and efficient, but you need a body of water nearby to make them work. Similarly, ground-source heat pumps are consistent and reliable, but you need a reasonable amount of land to make the most of them.

There is also the issue of grants, which can make your heat pump more affordable. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme can save about £7,500, however it is not available for air-to-air heat pumps.

Choosing the right installer

Choosing a heat pump installer is a lot like choosing a plumber to replace a gas boiler. It is worth taking the time to find someone who is experienced with the technology, even if they are further away than someone you’d hire for a less complicated job. 

Before you pay out for a heat pump to be installed, consider the following:

  • Does the installer have MCS certification? This will be needed for your insurance and is compulsory if you want to access to a heat pump grant from the Boiler Upgrade Scheme. 
  • Does the installer have experience with your specific type of property and energy usage?
  • Does the installer have references from previous clients?
  • Does the installer have Professional Indemnity Insurance (as well as legally required insurance)?
  • Can they show you certificates?
  • Can they offer deposit protection?
  • Will they book a surveillance visit six months after installation?

Those are some topline points to consider before getting started.

Once you’ve decided on your installer, there are also some technical things to think about and discuss with them before they start work.

  • Discuss design conditions with your installer – i.e. temperatures in the home and any adverse weather conditions your area has.
  • Is your heat pump of choice internet enabled for improved servicing and trouble-shooting? If so, who monitors this?
  • Are any licences or consents required? If so, is it the homeowners’ responsibility?
  • Is your electricity supply capable of supporting the heat pump?
  • Are the existing heat emitters – radiators etc – compatible and safe with a heat pump?
  • What temperature will the radiators be in winter, compared to the previous fossil fuel boiler you might have set up?
  • What is the control strategy for your needs?
  • Is cooling required? If so, does this affect which heat pump you should choose?
  • Is the projected financial modelling at reasonable utility costs for electricity and the displaced fuel type – be that gas, oil or any other type of heating system.
  • Are you getting sound advice on electricity tariffs?
  • Should time-of-use electricity tariffs be considered and, if so, how does this influence system specification and operational guidance?
  • Ask yourself if you should get a smart meter – the answer to this question is yes, in most cases. 

Is it important my heat pump installer is MCS certified?

If you want to access money from the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, having your heat pump installed by an MCS-certified installer is a prerequisite. 

MCS certification provides the homeowner with certain financial protections and it can help with any contractual problems, in the unlikely event that they arise.

Therefore, it’s really important to check that your heat pump installer is MCS certified at the very start.

If your heat pump installer is MCS certified, you’ll either be able to check on the MCS website.

Either the business will be individually certified, or they will be covered under an MCS umbrella scheme. 


  • Almost every home in the UK is suitable for a heat pump.
  • Consider insulating your home before you begin to get maximum efficiency from your heat pump.
  • The type of heat pump you choose depends on the size of your property, and your access to outdoor space and/or water.
  • Always make sure your installer is MCS-certified.
Written by:
Max joined The Eco Experts as content manager in February 2024. He has written about sustainability issues across numerous industries, including maritime, supply chain, finance, mining and retail. He has also written for  City AM, The Morning Star and the Daily Express.
Reviewed by:
Roland is Editor of The Eco Experts. He is passionate about solar power, reducing plastic waste and technology that can help humanity overcome some of its greatest challenges.
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