Installation checklist and guide

Installing a heat pump system is like planning for any new central heating system. It's a big job, but with forethought, you'll minimise disruption, and you could soon be enjoying a warm, cosy low-carbon home.

There are interest-free loans and financial support for homeowners across Scotland. Home Energy Scotland's heat pump installation guide and checklist will take you, step-by-step, through the journey to a low carbon emissions lifestyle.

Heat pump installation checklist

There are seven essential steps, from thinking about installing a heat pump to having it up and running in your home.

  1. Research and advice: Look at heat pump suitability, types, costs, and space required. Contact Home Energy Scotland for free, impartial, and expert advice to help you on the way.
  2. Get informed: Know what paperwork you'll need and from whom.
  3. Quotes: Get professionals (we recommend at least three) to provide system designs and costs.
  4. Review and apply: Double-check everything. Home Energy Scotland can help with interest-free loans to help pay for the work.
  5. Heat Pump Installation: Once you have a loan offer, work can start.
  6. Completion: Review the work, collect invoices and your Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certificate. Get a post-installation Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
  7. Funding: Claim the loan funds, apply for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), maintain your heat pump and enjoy low carbon heating.

Let's look at each one in more detail. You can also download and print our handy Heat Pump Installation checklist.

air source heat pump

1. Research

Who is eligible for heat pump installation funding?

Homeowners in Scotland can use our funding finder to see financial support options for home improvements and renewable energy.

This guide concentrates on heat pump installation and the Home Energy Scotland Loan for homeowners in Scotland. People who install heat pumps may also be eligible for payments from the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme.

If you are a homeowner in Scotland and live in the property, you may be eligible for a Home Energy Scotland Loan to help with the installation costs.

Self-builders can apply for home renewables systems like heat pumps and energy storage systems. Not all financial support packages are available for self-build homes.

Private landlords or businesses should read our advice about Private Rented Sector Landlord Loans.

Read our grants and funding guide for heat pump installations for more information.

Which type of heat pump is best for you?

There are three main types of heat pumps; air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, and water source heat pumps. Each has different installation requirements and costs. Read our heat pump guide for more information and our myth-busting article, too.

Our Home Renewables Selector can help you work out if a heat pump or other renewable technology will suit your home.

Head to Scotland's Green Homes Network for a more practical demonstration of heat pumps and renewables. The Green Homes Network showcases all sorts of houses across the country whose homeowners have installed renewable energy systems.

Network members want to share their journey to renewables. We can put you in touch with members to find out more. In some cases, we can arrange a visit to their homes if you wish to see renewable energy systems in action. They can explain costs, how their renewable energy systems work, and answer any questions you may have. This advice can help you towards making an informed decision about a heat pump.

Heat pump loan eligibility

You must meet several conditions to claim a Home Energy Scotland Loan for a heat pump.

  • You must be a homeowner.
  • You need a qualifying energy report that recommends a heat pump for your home. This could be a free Home Energy Scotland report or an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Check our Home Energy Scotland Loan: in detail webpage.
  • You must use a Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) installer and products.
  • Your post-install EPC can’t recommend loft or cavity wall insulation. If required, you must install these before you can claim your funding — but funding is available for these measures, too. See below for more details.

If unsure, call Home Energy Scotland for free on 0808 808 2282 for advice.

One of the most critical conditions is having a well-insulated home. Heat pumps work best in energy-efficient homes. Your home must have a certain level of insulation — our advisors can help — to claim Home Energy Scotland Loan funding.

There are a variety of home reports that validate your home's suitability for a heat pump. These reports may also recommend home improvements such as loft insulation to ensure your home is energy efficient. Check our Home Energy Scotland Loan: in detail webpage.

After you receive an offer and install your heat pump, you will need to get a new EPC to claim your loan funds. This post-install EPC should show the heat pump has been installed and that there are no recommended energy efficiency measures outstanding to meet the loan requirements.

Your property may already have an EPC. Search the Scottish EPC Register to check – you can also see if your EPC currently recommends loft or cavity wall insulation. If your property doesn’t have an EPC, Home Energy Scotland can talk to you about your home. The EPC register can help you find an assessor near you. Only registered Domestic Energy Assessors can issue an EPC.

You also need to use an MCS-certified installer when installing your heat pump. Find a complete list of certified installers and products at the Microgeneration Certification Scheme — see below for more.

2. Get advice from Home Energy Scotland (H2)

If you haven't contacted us by now, it's a good idea to get in touch for free, expert, and impartial advice. Home Energy Scotland advisors can answer questions you may have about heat pumps and energy efficiency and provide more information about schemes and financial support.

You can ask about financial support, heating systems, steps in the process, and many more of the heating options and help available. We may be able to arrange a visit, or a call from a specialist to assess your home, too.

Contact us on 0808 808 2282 for free. Speaking with Home Energy Scotland is vital in understanding the heat pump installation process and possible financial aid. It’s a condition of the loan that you don’t start work before you receive a loan offer – so it’s best to speak to us early in the process.

3. Get a qualifying recommendation report

There is some paperwork involved with heat pump installation and the Home Energy Scotland Loan. These requirements are in place to protect you as a consumer, maintain high work standards, and ensure the heat pumps work correctly.

You need to have a qualifying energy report that shows a heat pump may be suitable for your home. The report must be included with your Home Energy Scotland Loan application.

There are several types of qualifying recommendation reports for heat pumps:

  • Home Renewables Selector Report (issued by Home Energy Scotland following a phone discussion).
  • Home Energy Improvement Report (issued by a Home Energy Scotland specialist following a phone discussion or visit).
  • EPC.

Home Energy Scotland can discuss suitable qualifying reports for you, and your property may already have an EPC. Search the Scottish EPC Register to check.

Energy efficiency work required to claim the loan

It's a requirement that a certain level of insulation is in place before we can pay your loan to you. Your qualifying report or EPC may also recommend specific energy efficiency improvements. If your EPC recommends loft or cavity wall insulation, you will have to install these before, or at the same time, as your heat pump.

You must submit a post-install EPC to claim your Home Energy Scotland Loan. The post-install EPC will show the heat pump has been installed and that loft or cavity wall insulation is not or is no longer recommended. You can add the EPC cost to your Home Energy Scotland Loan if you wish.

Visit the Scottish EPC register to see if your home has a current and valid EPC.

The Home Energy Scotland Loan is available to help with these energy efficiency improvements, too. The maximum funding for energy efficiency measures is £15,000 (including a maximum cashback amount of £6,000). There are also conditions attached to these amounts – read Home Energy Scotland Loan - in detail to find out more.

Energy Performance Certificate exceptions

In some cases you won't require a new EPC.

  1. Self-build properties - you'll need to provide planning permission documents when applying. To claim the Home Energy Scotland Loan, you'll need to provide title deeds instead of a post-installation EPC.
  2. You installed an energy storage system only and have a current EPC which:
  • is three years old or less;
  • shows the renewables system the energy storage system is connected to; and
  • does not recommend any of the energy efficiency measures required by the loan.

You'll also need to declare in writing that you haven't installed any other measures since your last EPC.

4. Quotes for your heat pump

Once your home’s considered suitable for a heat pump installation, the next step is pricing.

We recommend getting quotes from at least three different qualified installers. The Home Energy Scotland Loan requires you to use an installer registered with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). This certifies that installers, and their installations, adhere to recognised industry standards.

It is a condition of the Home Energy Scotland Loan that your heat pump installer and products are MCS-certified.

You can find installers in your area (as well as customer reviews) on Energy Saving Trust's Renewables Installer Finder.

When getting quotes, you should expect your installer to give you:

  • A detailed breakdown of the technical specification and costs.
  • An explanation of how they calculated your property's heat demand.
  • Information on the system’s maintenance requirements and running costs.
  • An explanation of who is responsible for the system’s different components.

Now you have your recommendation report and your quotes, it's time to review everything before filling in your Home Energy Scotland Loan application form. Remember, heat pump installation work cannot start until you have received a Home Energy Scotland Loan offer in writing.

5. Review everything and apply

At this point, it's a good idea to contact Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 for impartial advice and to check you have everything in place.

Your checklist should include:

  • The proposed system’s efficiency values and available options.
  • Who is doing what? An MCS-certified installer must fit the heat pump. Do you need to arrange and pay for other trades, for example for any loft or cavity wall insulation?
  • Is the cost of integrating the new system with your home's existing system included?
  • Is the cost of safe removal and disposal of existing equipment included?
  • Warranty details which, if applicable, should be for a minimum of one year.
  • Any additional warranty from the manufacturer.
  • Your payment options, including consumer rules on deposits and deposit protection.
  • The right to cancel – you have the right to cancel within 14 days of signing a contract.
  • Whether the price covers the cost of commissioning the system, for example, authorising it as fit for service.
  • Details on whether the price includes aftersales service such as annual servicing.

Understand your consumer rights

Installing a heat pump, taking out an interest-free loan, and making changes to your house are significant steps. The MCS sets out standards to which all certified installers must adhere. As part of this, MCS installers must be members of a consumer code. We recommend you read and understand their consumer code to know your rights and good industry practice.

Three codes are available to MCS installers:

You can find the relevant code for your installer by searching for their name in the MCS installer database. When you select their profile, it will give you more information about the company, including their consumer code.

Fill in the Home Energy Scotland Loan application form

Be sure to have all relevant supporting documentation before starting your application for a Home Energy Scotland Loan.

Remember:

  • You can only apply using the application form provided to you by Home Energy Scotland.
  • Third parties - for example, installers or letting agents - are not allowed to apply for you.
  • You need a qualifying report to recommend the measure for which you are applying. You can submit this online - you don't need to send a paper copy.
  • The scheme is only open to homeowners in Scotland.
  • You must not start work before receiving a loan offer.

We’ll send you an online application form once you’ve spoken to one of our Home Energy Scotland advisors.

We aim to process your loan application within ten working days of receiving a fully complete application. Your loan offer may be delayed if there is missing information or if we need to clarify anything with you.

We run credit and affordability checks for every application.

6. Heat pump installation

Home Energy Scotland will send you a loan offer in writing if your loan is approved.

Heat pump installation work can commence after a loan offer is approved by us. You must complete work within 12 months of the loan offer. Don't forget; Home Energy Scotland advisors are on hand to help you with any questions at any point.

Your installer should indicate how long the work will last and the level and type of disruption to expect.

7. Completion: what to check after installation

It's essential to keep all your paperwork together after your heat pump installation, both for the work and the Home Energy Scotland Loan.

We recommend you:

  • Keep your commissioning certificate and warranty details in a safe place.
  • Keep a note of your installer’s contact details.
  • Know when to expect contact about annual servicing.
  • Leave a review on the Renewables Installer Finder - this is important; if your installer is registered here, your loan conditions require it.
  • Pay your installer and claim any associated funding (eg the Renewable Heat Initiative.
  • Share your experience with the Green Homes Network.

Apply for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) offers payments towards renewable heating costs in your home. It could help you with your heat pump's running costs.

Read our grants and funding article for more information. You could receive 28 quarterly payments over seven years if you are eligible and stick to the rules throughout the scheme.

The RHI is open to new applications until 31 March 2022.

You can apply for RHI payments once your heat pump has been installed and you have the installation’s MCS certificate. Applications must be made within 12 months of the commissioning date of your heat pump.

You can use the RHI Calculator to estimate how much you could receive. If interested in receiving RHI payments, you should first check Ofgem’s eligibility requirements carefully. The Home Energy Scotland Loan is not linked to other schemes, nor is eligibility for the loan indicative of eligibility for additional support.

You can now enjoy your low carbon heat pump, meeting your heating and hot water demands while reducing your carbon emissions.

Contact Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 for further information about heat pumps, renewable energy systems, and more.

Take action today

Home Renewables Selector

Check if your home is suitable for a heat pump and find out how much carbon and money you could save.

Green Homes Network

Read stories from those who've installed, or book a visit or chat with a homeowner to find out more.

Funding Finder

Find out what funding and support is available to help you install a heat pump.

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