What to look for when choosing a heat pump installer
If you’re considering purchasing and installing a heat pump into your home, then you might have heard a lot of rumours about how much they cost and how efficient they are.
On the face of it, you might think that this is a fault of heat pumps themselves. However, almost every case that our installers have found of air source heat pumps that aren’t working are down to an incorrect installation. So, in order to find the best heat pump, you need to find the best installer too.
Why is choosing the right installer important?
If you’re looking to make your heating system more sustainable, then installing an air source heat pump is probably on your list of options to consider. Government grants and initiatives have caused the number of heat pump installations to rise rapidly in the last few years, with 36,000 installed in 2021 and the number set to double in 2022.
Despite this, there is a huge shortfall in the number of trained heat pump installers. Compared to the more than 100,000 gas boiler installers in the UK, there are just 1,900 who are qualified to fit heat pumps. Yet the rapid growth in demand for these systems has meant some companies and individuals have started to offer installation services without adequate training.
This lack of experience and training often leads to faulty installations, the impacts of which can be huge. Not only does it lead to inaccurate rumours about the performance of heat pumps, but can lead to serious problems for homeowners too, including losing their heating and hot water, huge energy bills and the costs of fixing the problem.
In short, choosing trusted, reliable installer means they will guide you step-by-step through the installation process and provide you with:
- A heat loss survey: this survey will look at the heating requirements of your house and show where heat is being lost in a building. This will help to determine which renewable heating system is right for your house.
- An honest opinion: heat pumps are not the right option for all heating systems in all houses, particularly ones that aren’t insulated or double glazed. A trusted installer will give you their honest opinion on whether they think a heat pump is right for your home or not.
- An installation plan: as we mentioned, getting the installation right is key. A heat pump has specific requirements, e.g. being on the outside of your home in a space where there’s free air flow. An installation plan ensures that the heat pump is put in the best place and works most efficiently with your heating system.
- Guidance on the right type of air source heat pump: the specific heating requirements of your house will dictate the type of air source heat pump required. It’s not a one-size-fits-all sort of installation, so ensure you go and see any heat pump operating in a show room before you buy.
- A quick and high-quality installation: you may think that changing your heating and water system is a big, messy job, but it really shouldn’t be. A good installer will ensure the process is smooth, the job is tidy and that you are never left without hot water or heating for too long, even if the installation takes a few days.
How can you find an MCS accredited installer?
The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) sets the industry standard for renewable products and installations. So, when you’re choosing an installer, make sure you ask for evidence of their MCS certification. This will ensure that they’ve been fully trained to install your heat pump correctly.
The MCS also offers its own directory of contractors, so you can easily find a qualified air source heat pump installer near you.
What should you ask an air source heat pump installer?
Before you book any consultations with installers, we’d recommend doing a bit of reading and research around the different renewable heating options out there. As well as looking at the different types of heat pumps available (i.e. air source, ground source and different manufacturers) you might want to consider other options, like installing solar panels, for example.
Once you’ve done some research and feel more confident that a heat pump will meet your needs, its time to book some consultations with installers and ask them:
- If they offer a heat survey and installation plan: some contractors may get other companies to do this for them, but you should receive both of these documents before any work takes place.
- Are they MCS accredited: they should have certification to prove they’ve achieved this industry standard.
- If they have a showroom of products: that way you can see any heat pump product in action before you buy.
- If they have any customer reviews: whether they’re on Trustpilot or another independent review site, check these reviews to see if they’ve got the experience and level of service you need.
What questions should the installer ask you?
Any installer looking to do a thorough job will have lots of questions to ask you about your heating system and requirements, including:
- Which parts of your home need to be heated and how (for example, underfoot heating): this will help to determine the requirements of the system.
- If you have a recent heat survey for your home: this should be completed as a standard part of the installation process.
- If you need any planning permissions to install your pump: they should also offer to check this for you if you’re unsure.