Homeowners will have to put up with central heating that is cooler by 10 degrees C if Britain is to hit climate change targets

  • Government has set a target of 600,000 heat pumps installed each year by 2028
  • Pumps are more efficient than using fossil fuel technologies such as gas boilers
  • However, they operate 10 degrees lower than boilers meaning families may have to invest in larger radiators or underfloor heating to get the same level of warmth
  • UK is half way to net zero emissions but next stage requires ‘personal changes’ 

Homeowners will have to turn down radiators by 10 degrees for the country to hit climate change targets, it has emerged.

The Government has set a target of 600,000 heat pumps being installed every year until 2028 to replace current gas boilers to bring down emissions.

The pumps, which look like air conditioning units on the outside of buildings, suck energy from the air and use it to heat homes and are more efficient than using fossil fuel technologies.

The Government is planning for gas boilers (pictured) to be banned and for homes to be fitted with heat pumps which operate at lower temperatures, in a bid to tackle climate change

But in order to run efficiently, they operate at lower water temperatures with Government advisors the Climate Change Committee saying they believe the technology will run at 50 degrees, rather than a gas boiler’s 60 degrees, the Telegraph reported.

It means families may have to splash out on larger radiators to get the same warmth or invest in other technologies such as under-floor heating and better insulation.

Nathan Gambling a consultant specialising in training heating engineers told the Telegraph: ‘[A heat pump] is a low temperature heat system. It’s an advantage, but can be seen as a disadvantage.

‘Ideally all our heat systems in our home should be low temperature, for a number of reasons.

‘Low temperature is a healthier form of heating.’

Making the nation’s homes greener is one of the Government’s main targets and ministers want as many existing homes as possible to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of Band C or better by 2035. 

Last year it was reported gas boilers will be banned in all new-build homes within the next three years. 

The ban on boilers comes two years earlier than had previously been planned and is part of the ‘future homes standard’ which will mean all new homes must have low-carbon alternatives, such as electric heat pumps.

The UK is almost half way to reaching its net zero emissions target largely by use of wind farms 

Experts say the heat pumps can cost up to £10,000 including installation with a fully modified home paying out as much as £18,000 for the likes of under-floor heating.

Speaking in 2020 Jim Watson, professor of Energy Policy at University College London, said: ‘I suspect we won’t get anywhere near 600,000 heat pumps a year under current policies.

‘It would make sense for the Government to bring in a ban on gas boilers for a certain year in the future, just as they have done for petrol and diesel cars.

‘People might then be more likely to switch to them, and it could increase the small number of firms accredited to install heat pumps and scale up manufacture of the pumps.’

Only around 250,000 buildings in the UK currently have heat pumps, including commercial buildings, while around 22 million have gas central heating.

According to the Telegraph, the UK is almost half way to reaching its target of net zero emissions but the next stage will require Britons to make personal changes such as to the way they travel and heat their homes. 

What is an air-source heating systems and how does it work?

One of the heat pumps, which extracts the air and turns it into fluid which is heated

A conventional home in Britain is heated via an electric or gas-powered boiler, which pushes hot water through the home’s radiators before the water returns to be reheated.

Air-source heating systems extracts heat from the outside air, working in the opposite way to a fridge which extracts heat from the inside.

The process is so efficient that it can absorb heat from the air even when the temperature drops to below -30C.

The heat from the air is absorbed into a fluid, which then passes through a compressor where the temperature is increased to heat the home.  

It is considered to be a more efficient and environmentally friendly method of heating as the heat that is being mined is renewed naturally over time.

It also requires less electricity to run, meaning it can be easily powered by solar panels.

There are several downsides to an air-source heating system, however.

They are noisy, similar to an air conditioner, and require larger radiators to heat the home effectively.

Underfloor heating is the most efficient means, which can prove costly, and the system requires a well-insulated home. 

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