Heatpump hub

Everything you need to know about heat pumps

Heat pumps are big news right now. They’re a greener alternative to gas central heating – and soon lots of us will have them in our homes. Want to learn more? You’re in the right place.

What’s a heat pump?

...only the hottest thing in home heating

A heat pump sucks warmth from the air or ground outside and uses it to heat your home, and give you hot water. A bit like a fridge in reverse! It works all year round, even when it’s cold out – amazing, right?

Whats a heat pump?

What’s a heat pump?

...only the hottest thing in home heating

A heat pump sucks warmth from the air or ground outside and uses it to heat your home, and give you hot water. A bit like a fridge in reverse! It works all year round, even when it’s cold out – amazing, right?

Whats a heat pump?

Cosy home. Happy planet.

Check out all the benefits of heat pumps

Goodbye gas

Heat pumps can be powered with 100% renewable electricity – which you get with all OVO Energy plans¹.

As toasty as ever

Most models can be controlled easily from an app, so you get all the cosiness with less of the carbon.

Super efficient

They’re at least 3 times more efficient than traditional gas boilers²!

Lasts for years longer

Your new heat pump can last over 20 years – up to 25% longer than your gas boiler³. And it’ll be easier to maintain too!

The 2 main types of heat pump

One absorbs heat from the air – the other from the ground

Air source heat pumps are more common (and less expensive) than ground source heat pumps. But it’s a good idea to read about both to decide which one’s right for you.

You might not know this – but heat pumps aren’t new. They’re tried and tested technology. And regularly used in countries around the world!

showing heat pump

The 2 main types of heat pump

One absorbs heat from the air – the other from the ground

Air source heat pumps are more common (and less expensive) than ground source heat pumps. But it’s a good idea to read about both to decide which one’s right for you.

You might not know this – but heat pumps aren’t new. They’re tried and tested technology. And regularly used in countries around the world!

showing heat pump

How do heat pumps work?

Let’s take a look...

Whether you choose a ground source heat pump or and an air source heat pump, they both work in pretty much the same way.

Step 1

Heat pumps absorb warmth from the air or ground, even in winter

Step 2

This warmth is compressed to create even more heat

Step 3

...and this is transferred into your home for radiators and underfloor heating. It can also be used to heat water in a hot water cylinder. Genius!

Fun fact:  heat pumps can work in temperatures as low as -20℃!

Pumped for planet Earth

Why heat pumps are the future

Did you know that home heating makes up roughly 14% of the UK’s carbon footprint5?

Luckily, heat pumps are set to change that. Because when you power them with renewable electricity you get all the cosiness, with less of the carbon.

For the UK to be net zero carbon by 2050, we need to cut carbon from our central heating systems – and fast!

Heatpump outside home

Pumped for planet Earth

Why heat pumps are the future

Did you know that home heating makes up roughly 14% of the UK’s carbon footprint5?

Luckily, heat pumps are set to change that. Because when you power them with renewable electricity you get all the cosiness, with less of the carbon.

For the UK to be net zero carbon by 2050, we need to cut carbon from our central heating systems – and fast!

Heatpump outside home

Be a heat pump pioneer

We’re putting heat pumps through their paces.
Fancy getting involved?

Join one of our groundbreaking trials

When we ran the UK’s biggest zero-carbon heating trial in 2020, we upgraded the heating in hundreds of homes. Out went the fossil-fuel systems and in came the swanky low-carbon tech, worth up to £15,000!

Now our engineers have installed nearly 1,000 – and counting. To hear more about similar carbon-kicking tech, and our future trials, register your interest today. You could even get a heat pump for free!

Register your interest
Heatpump Trials

Join one of our groundbreaking trials

When we ran the UK’s biggest zero-carbon heating trial in 2020, we upgraded the heating in hundreds of homes. Out went the fossil-fuel systems and in came the swanky low-carbon tech, worth up to £15,000!

Now our engineers have installed nearly 1,000 – and counting. To hear more about similar carbon-kicking tech, and our future trials, register your interest today. You could even get a heat pump for free!

Register your interest
Heatpump Trials

Talk to a pro on the OVO forum

Got a question? You don’t need to be an OVO member to pick the brains of our passionate heat pump owners.

Join the conversation
Heatpump forum

Talk to a pro on the OVO forum

Got a question? You don’t need to be an OVO member to pick the brains of our passionate heat pump owners.

Join the conversation
Heatpump forum

Learn more about heat pumps

Heat pump FAQs

The total cost of getting an air source heat pump system, including installation costs, could be between £7,000 and £13,0006. But the exact price (plus the running costs) will depend on the size of your home, the system you choose, and your insulation. Always make sure you get several quotes, and go with a trusted installer. Read more about air source heat pump installation.

Ground source heat pumps come in at between £14,000 and £19,0007. And you can find out more about what’s expected in a ground source heat pump installation.

It totally depends. If your home’s very energy-efficient, then a heat pump shouldn’t cost more to run than a standard gas heating system. Most UK homes are a little draughty, though – so it’s a smart move to make any energy efficiency improvements your home might need, to keep costs down. You might want to get your home insulated, or double-glazed windows fitted, for example.

In the future, heat pumps are expected to become cheaper to run. This is because it’s expected that the government will switch the “green levies” we pay (through our energy bills) from electricity to gas. So, in the long run, the cost of electricity will drop and the cost of gas will rise. But by how much, we don’t know yet. Want to find out more about heat pump costs and prices? Check out this practical guide on heat pump costs and prices.

Your home might just qualify for a grant through the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme. This is due to end in March 2022, and is going to be replaced with the new Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

It’s a new government scheme to encourage householders to switch to low-carbon heating systems. From April 2022 it’ll give you up to £5,000 (upfront) towards the cost of a heat pump.

Once a year you need to give certain parts of your heat pump a quick check over yourself – but the engineer who installs it will show you what to do. You’ll also find the info you need in the booklet you get with it. 

It can be a good idea to get an expert to check it once a year – although this isn’t mandatory in the way that it is with gas boilers. They need a full service every year to comply with manufacturers’ warranties. 

With heat pumps, the recommendation is that you get it serviced every 3 or 5 years, which will cost between £60-£100 a visit.

The short answer is yes. Although if you have an older, draughty home you might want to put in a little extra effort to make it more energy-efficient first. Otherwise it won’t be as cost-effective. Heat pumps work like a dream in well-sealed, ultra-energy-efficient homes that retain their heat for a long time. 

We’d always recommend insulating your home properly before considering a heat pump. Think about things like walls, your loft, and windows and doors. That way, when you make the switch to a heat pump you know your home will be keeping all that lovely heat inside.

Nope! Heat pumps are no louder than a traditional boiler – so your home can stay low-carbon, cosy, and peaceful at the same time.

It depends on the size of your home, how much heat you need, and the type of heat pump you choose. 

For a fairly simple installation of an air source heat pump in a mid-sized 3-bed house, you can expect 3 engineers to be on site for around 4 to 5 working days. Of those days, you might be without hot water for 1 or 2 days. 

When it comes to ground source heat pumps, your installer should be able to give you an accurate estimate of time after they’ve done the initial assessment. But you can expect the work to take at least a week. 

Read about installing an air source heat pump.

Read about installing a ground source heat pump.

With all this talk of “absorbing heat from the ground or air” you might be wondering how heat pumps cope in cold weather. The good news is that heat pumps can still work in very cold conditions – it’s just important to do your research and buy the right one. 

Heat pumps are used all over the world in much colder climates than the UK (think the USA and Canada). And some models operate in temperatures as low as -20℃ (like one from Mitsubishi). 

One thing to consider is that when temperatures really plummet, your heat pump might not be as efficient. That’s because more electricity will be needed to remove heat from the air or ground. 

On the whole, though, heat pumps are at least 3 times more efficient than gas boilers2. Heat pump efficiency is measured using Coefficient of Performance (CoP). This is calculated by comparing the amount of input to the amount of output. For example, if an air source heat pump uses one kW of electricity to produce 3 kW of heat, the CoP is 3. The higher the CoP, the better, as it shows your heat pump is more efficient.

Once you’ve done your research and know which pump you want to buy, you need to find an MCS accredited installer. The MCS recommends getting quotes from 3 installers, and then making your decision based on the installer you feel you can trust. Your installer should also give you a design for your new system, which includes where it’ll sit in your garden.  

Remember, you can also register your interest for our carbon-cutting heat pump trials – and if you’re successfully accepted onto one you could get a heat pump for free. 

By registering, you’ll also be the first to hear about our current trials. Plus, any other new low-carbon heating tech we think you’d be interested in.

1 The renewable electricity we sell is backed by renewable certificates (Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin certificates (REGOs)). See here for details on Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin certificates and how these work. A proportion of the electricity we sell is also purchased directly from renewable generators in the UK

2 Setting the record straight on heat pumps - Energy Saving Trust

3 Based on the assumption that most modern boilers last between 10-15 years

4 Heat pumps have different temp ranges and the Mitsubishi Ecodan R32 Ultra Quiet PUZ Monobloc Air Source Heat Pump model operates with outside temperature as low as -20℃

5 Energy Systems Catapult - A Guide to Decarbonisation of Heat

6 Air-to-water heat pumps - Energy Saving Trust

7 Ground-to-water heat pumps - Energy Saving Trust