by Geoff Royle June 24, 2021 3 min read

Whether you like it or not heat pumps are coming. The government has big plans to make them play a major role in the UK's domestic heating mix. Carbon-loaded coal fired electricity generation is now virtually a thing of the past and next on the Governments hit list is doing away with fossil fuels, such as oil and gas. Since domestic heating is one of the biggest users of these fuels, then removing them from our homes has to be a priority. The Government is planning for some 600,000 heat pump installations per year until 2028. But what are they like to live with...

For starters, they lower carbon emissions and they're said to be cheap to run, although they do rely on electricity. There are two types – ground source (GSHP) and air source (ASHP) and because of the way that they absorb renewable heat from the ground and air their heat output is significantly greater than the electricity input (roughly 3 to 4 times greater) than that needed to create the same amount of heat from a direct electric source and therefore it makes them a very energy efficient method of heating your home. Too good to be true? Well almost...

Do don't get me wrong, I'm all in favour of heat pumps, but they do have some concerning disadvantages which are important enough for the Government's plans to have a number of vocal dissenters in parliament. They're extremely expensive to buy, to install and to get to work effectively especially when retro-fitting in existing housing stock. Even though there are some grants available, the high up-front investment will still probably rule out your average homeowner (and landlord) so initial take-up is likely to be in new builds and major refurbishment projects.

When it comes to what they're like to live with, well it seems that for many people they provide a disappointing type of heat. Unlike gas or oil central heating boilers, heat pumps deliver heat at lower temperatures, but for longer periods, which make them wonderful at raising the ambient temperature of a home, which for some people works fine, but for many others (and I'm one of them) they simply don't provide the level of comfort I'm used to. They don't cope well either with sudden temperature changes. Basically they're missing that satisfying blast of heat that warms the bones when you come home on a freezing cold and wet winter's evening.

This is where a modern wood burning stove makes the ideal pairing with heat pumps. It cost-effectively gets around this problem and its fuel is virtually carbon neutral. A stove can provide you with a quick top-up of much needed heat on colder days, as well as during milder times when whole-house heating isn't needed. It will provide your home with an unrivalled warm and welcoming focal point and, let's face it, who doesn't love a stove when it's all fired up? Take a look at our best-selling Wiking Mini 2 which has been designed, just like heat pumps, to work exceptionally well in today's well insulated homes. The good news is that even with installation costs included it's going to cost you an awful lot less than a heat pump and probably provide you with so much more pleasure.

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