Survey shows UK heat pump owners satisfied with performance in old homes


Nesta, a UK-based charity supporting innovation, commissioned a large-scale survey on heat pump users in England, Scotland, and Wales in December 2022. It surveyed more than 2,500 residential heat pump owners and over 1,000 domestic gas boilers about how satisfied they are with their heating systems.

Its analysis of the survey finds that among people who have had heat pumps installed while living in their current homes, 81% are as satisfied or more satisfied, compared to their previous heating systems. The figure is similar for heat pump owners in pre-1900 Victorian properties, at 83%.

Nesta said that similar levels of satisfaction across property type and age suggests that heat pumps are likely to be effective across the range of residential property types in Great Britain.

“It’s time to put to rest outdated ideas that older homes don’t support heat pumps,” said Madeleine Gabriel, director of sustainable future at Nesta. “The rollout of heat pumps across all property types in Britain is proving that the age of your house doesn’t have to be a big factor when deciding whether to get a greener heating system.”

The survey also shows that satisfaction levels between heat pump and gas boiler users are high and very similar. Nesta says heat pump owners are particularly likely to prefer their heat pumps if they previously used electric heating, oil, or liquid petroleum gas (LPG) boilers. Of these users, more than 80% said that they are more satisfied with their heat pumps, whereas 75% of users moving from gas boilers said they are more satisfied with their heat pumps.

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Regarding running costs, Nesta reports higher satisfaction among heat pump users, with 67% of heat pump owners and 59% of gas boiler owners expressing satisfaction. However, heat pump users showed lower satisfaction with ease of use and control compared to gas boiler users. About 74% of heat pump users said that they are fairly or very satisfied, in contrast to 88% of gas boiler users.

Finally, the survey showed that satisfaction is highest among people who have chosen to install heat pumps in their own homes, rather than those moving into new builds or existing properties with heat pumps.

“The survey suggests that heat pump ‘inheritors’ – who move into homes with heat pumps already installed – would benefit from more information on how to use their systems, as many had very little awareness of heat pumps before moving into their properties,” concluded Nesta.

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