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Is my house suitable for a heat pump? 

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Is my house suitable for a heat pump?

If you’re one of the thousands of people in the UK who are exploring low-carbon heating solutions at home, then it’s likely you’ve considered installing a heat pump. If so, then you’re probably wondering whether your home is suitable for a heat pump. The good news is, no matter the size and shape of your property, a recent project funded by the UK government found that all homes are able to have a heat pump successfully installed.

However, to get the best results from your heat pump, there are some key considerations and important steps you’ll need to take. The more heat pump-ready your home is, the more effective and economical it will be.

  • With the help of this article, you can find out whether your house is suitable for a heat pump and kick-start the process of getting one installed.

Do you need planning permission?

Do you need planning permission?

Fortunately, in the UK, most heat pump installations will not require planning permission. However, this will depend on the size of the heat pump unit and its location – in some cases, larger units may need planning permission. For example, in England, this is necessary for 10/12 kW over 0.6m units. 


More often than not, heat pumps fall within permitted development rights. If you happen to live in a listed building or a conservation area, then it’s best you get in touch with your council to check on local policy. 

Is your home energy efficient?

Is your home energy efficient?

The more efficient your house, the more suitable it will be for a heat pump. A key part of this is ensuring it’s properly insulated, as this will help to retain heat and stop it from escaping the building. This means your heat pump won’t have to work as hard to heat your home, saving you money on your energy bills. 


If you have a modern home, then the chances are your property will be energy-efficient. For older homes, you may need to consider making some home improvements in order to make it more suitable for a heat pump. 

 You can get heat pump-ready by: 

  • Insulating your loft, cavity walls, internal walls, external walls, and flooring 
  • Installing double glazing windows 
  • Draught-proofing areas that may allow heat to escape 
  • Sealing any gaps around doors and windows 

What type of heating system do you currently have?

What type of heating system do you currently have?

In most cases, homeowners will opt to completely replace their existing heating system with a heat pump, avoiding any possible complications and being more carbon neutral. While this is the recommended option, it is possible to integrate your new heat pump with an existing system. 


For example, if you heat your home using gas and a combi boiler, you might find that a hybrid heat pump is the best option. This two-in-one system combines a gas boiler and a heat pump to accommodate homeowners who want to make a positive change but don’t have a house that’s ready to reap the full benefits of a heat pump. 

Are your radiators the right size?

Are your radiators the right size?

Heat pumps also work with radiator systems. However, it’s important that your radiators are the right size for a heat pump in order for it to work effectively.  


Due to the lower flow temperatures of a heat pump, your heat-emitting surface area must be bigger than for boiler-operated heating. Therefore, you may need bigger radiators.  


It’s also possible to sometimes tailor your heat pump so it accommodates the radiators you already have. For example, in an older home, your heating system will likely need a high water flow temperature to keep the property warm, which means a high-temperature heat pump is the best option. 


Alternatively, a modern home with underfloor heating or newer radiators would benefit from a low-temperature heat pump. 


When it comes to knowing whether your radiators are the right size, fear not, as your installer will always tell you if you need to change your radiators when conducting the survey before work commences. 

Do you have enough space?

Do you have enough space?

The final important consideration is whether you have enough space for the type of heat pump system you want to be installed. Therefore, you’ll need to think about where you want to put the unit and whether the chosen area is suitable. 

Air source heat pump – Best suited to the front or back garden of a property with large outdoor wall space. You’ll need to ensure the wall space is clear from doors and windows and the outdoor unit won’t be obstructed at all. A good option for smaller homes and urban areas. 

Ground source heat pump – You’ll need sufficient outdoor space and a large garden for the outdoor unit, due to the additional groundwork required for the heat collectors. The area will need to be free from trees and roots. Typically, the area needs to be twice the surface area of the dwelling. Only feasible for homes in remote areas with a lot of land. 

Water source heat pump – Available to homeowners with a large water area near the front or back of a property.  

With all of the above heat pump types, you’ll also need space inside your house for an indoor unit, hot water cylinder, and a temperature control system.

Hopefully, you should now know whether your house is suitable for a heat pump or not. For more information, you can use the UK government’s portal to check if a heat pump could be suitable for your home.

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