Heating installers split on whether to begin fitting heat pumps

The transition to low carbon heating is at a finely balanced tipping point, with installers split on whether they will be installing heat pumps in their customers’ homes.

That’s the main finding of a new report from heat solutions provider, Baxi, which assesses what would encourage installers to take the leap to low carbon sources of heat.

Baxi’s research with installers found that nearly a third (equivalent to about 37,000 of 130,000 of the UK’s heating engineers) are prepared to embrace heat pumps in the near future. By contrast, around 30% say they are extremely unlikely to install heat pumps.

The government is targeting 600,000 heat pump installations every year by 2028. That is 10 times the current market and represents a transformation from early adoption to a mass market proposition. It would require an army of low carbon heating installers to be assisting homeowners and encouraging them to make the change.

One of the main findings in the report ‘Heating Installers: Taking the Leap to a Low Carbon Future’ is that the government and the industry will need to address the important issues of training costs, ensuring there is enough demand from customers and reducing paperwork.

  • On training costs – 39% of installers said they would be more likely to install heat pumps if they received help with training costs. Installers currently pay the full cost of training and forgo work in order to receive heat pump training.
  • On customer demand – 56% of installers said customer demand needed to be addressed, and 38% of installers are concerned about lack of government support for the market. The current Boiler Upgrade Scheme, which pays a max £5,000 grant to support air source heat pump installations, ends in 2025.
  • On paperwork – 44% of installers want support to reduce the burden of paperwork, for example, in applying for government assistance schemes.

Karen Boswell, Managing Director of Baxi UK and Ireland, says: “Installers will play an important role as we decarbonise the nation’s heating and it will be vital that the government and industry supports them with the right information, incentives and training.

“They will need to be advocates for low carbon sources of heat and recommend to the nation’s homeowners that they should make the leap to a heat pump. To achieve this, we will need to address their concerns, support them with training, and explain clearly the financial and non-financial benefits of these appliances.”

Baxi’s report makes a series of recommendations, which include spelling out stronger government initiatives that will drive demand for heat pumps over the coming decade; support for training costs on a first come-first served basis; and an industry wide campaign to market the role of a low carbon heating installer to attract new entrants.

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