Your guide to choosing a heat pump and installer

air source heat pump

Are you thinking of installing an air source or ground source heat pump? Our guide will help you work out if a heat pump is suitable for your home, where to get expert advice and what to consider when choosing your installer.

The benefits of heat pumps

There are lots of benefits to installing a heat pump. As well as likely lowering your energy bills and carbon emissions, they can be used to heat both your home and hot water. They tend to require minimal maintenance and you could even earn money from the Renewable Heat Incentive.

Do your research

When undertaking a project like this, it’s vital to research what you need and heat pumps are no different. Energy Saving Trust has lots of information on air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps, including all the key questions you need to consider.

Next, use the Home Renewables Selector to work out if a heat pump is right for you. This interactive tool helps you work out which renewable systems, including heat pumps, could work best in your home. You’ll get a report filled with recommendations tailored to your situation including how much money and carbon you could save, as well as what financial incentives may be available to you.

If you want to know what it’s really like living with a heat pump, read the stories from people who’ve already installed a heat pump or other renewable technologies on the Green Homes Network. You can even make an appointment to chat with the householder about their experience.

Get expert, impartial advice and find out about financial help

We can give you free, expert impartial advice. We run a network of advice centres covering all of Scotland, funded by the Scottish Government. A specialist renewables advisor will assess your property and advise you if a heat pump is suitable for your home.

Our advisors can also help you find funding to help you cover the costs of installation. This could include:

  • Home Energy Scotland Loan – This interest-free loan from the Scottish Government allows you to spread the cost of an installation. There are important conditions you need to satisfy, and you will need to use an MCS registered installer – but our advisors can talk you through everything you need to know.
  • Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) – You could receive quarterly cash payments over seven years under the UK government’s RHI scheme. Again, there are terms and conditions, but we can advise you.

Choosing an installer

When you’ve finished doing your research, you’ll need to find a suitable installer.

It’s always a good idea to get three quotes from potential qualified installers. We recommend choosing a Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certified installer and product.

Energy Saving Trust’s Renewables Installer Finder will help you find MCS-registered installers in your area. If you’ve applied for a Home Energy Scotland Loan, your installer and product must be certified under the MCS scheme.

Make sure you also consider:

  • the installer’s experience
  • customer reviews
  • if the installer is a member of trade associations, including those required by MCS
  • consumer protection and maintenance services (aftersales).

Remember that the cheapest quote might not be the most appropriate. Installers should give you time to consider their proposal and should never ask or expect you to sign a contract on the spot.

You should also check:

  • if the price quoted covers the cost of commissioning the system (authorising it as fit for service)
  • if the price includes aftersales service such as annual servicing.

Make sure your read and understand the Renewable Energy Consumer Code; it’s important that you understand your rights before you sign a contract with your chosen installer.

After installation

Your installer should give you a commissioning certificate. Keep this in a safe place, along with a note of your installer’s contact details and the heat pump’s warranty. Make sure that you know when to expect your installer to get in touch about the heat pump’s next servicing.

Remember to pay your installer promptly and, if applicable, claim any associated funding. If you applied for a Home Energy Scotland Loan, you’ll need to leave a rating and review of your installer (if listed) on the Renewables Installer Finder before claiming your funding.

If you’d like to inspire others by sharing your experience of installing a heat pump, why not join our Green Homes Network?

We’ve also produced this handy installation checklist that summarises everything we’ve talked about.