A leading plumbing firm has warned agents that many landlords feel bewildered by the conflicting announcements and advice on ground-source heat pumps as the government moves to bring all rented properties up to EPC band C.
It is estimated that some 400,000 rental properties in the UK have their gas boilers replaced every year. But if government announcements are to be believed, landlords should be considering alternatives such as ground source heat pumps now.
The government has said that from 2025 there will be some restrictions on where gas boilers can be installed, with further rules and financial incentives looming for privately-rented residential properties.
“Landlords are responsible for providing access to a reliable and safe source of heat and hot water at all times,” says Gareth Knell of GK plumbing (pictured).
Knell says ground-source heat pumps are just one of several options including enhanced insulation, biomass boilers, high retention storage heaters, heat batteries, and heating pumps.
But he says ground source heating pumps have become the most popular.
“There are all kinds of reasons why ground source heat pumps are gaining in popularity for landlords and homeowners. They’re efficient. They can reduce fuel bills. And they can be used to heat the home as well as water – but that’s not necessarily of any benefit to landlords,” says Knell.
“For landlords, the advantages are that they require little maintenance so, the likelihood of receiving 3am emergency call-outs because the boiler has blown in the middle of winter are significantly reduced.
“If managed correctly, they also have the potential to generate an additional income through the Renewable Heat Incentive.
“Also, ground source heat pumps remove the risk of combustion, which can have a bearing on your building insurance.
“Lastly, ground source heat pump installation will also help you future proof your properties against coming legislation.”
But ground source heat pumps do come with challenges – they require a property to have a garden, employ invasive pipework and use distinctly un-green R-22 hydrochlorofluorocarbon as their refrigerant.
Find out more about new boilers and their alternatives.