Brits ‘bamboozled by heat pump misinformation

Good Energy survey finds at least one in four in the UK believe false information about heat pumps as it launches its bespoke winter tips for heat pump customers.

The scheme provides £500 per person off the training cost.

Renewable electricity company Good Energy is revealing new research today which shows the widespread nature of misinformation around heat pumps.

The green energy supplier and heat pump installer commissioned Opinium to survey adults across the UK, asking them to identify if several statements about the electric heating technology are true or false.

Shockingly, the most widely believed statement, identified as ‘true’ by 25% of respondents, is that ‘heat pumps are less efficient than gas boilers’. Heat pumps are not simply more efficient than boilers; they are much more efficient — converting one unit of energy into three or four on average, accounting for seasonal differences. This makes them four times as efficient as a typical gas boiler.

False information

Other fake news that a significant number of people consider a fact, according to the survey, includes:

· Running a heat pump costs more than a gas boiler, according to 24% of those surveyed. The greater efficiency of heat pumps brings their running costs down, even accounting for the inflated unit costs of electricity compared to gas.

· A heat pump is louder than a fridge, believed by 23% of respondents. The maximum noise output of a heat pump is 42 – 45dB, about the same as a fridge and slightly quieter than a gas boiler, which can range from 48dB – 53dB.

· Heat pumps only work in newer homes, identified as ‘true’ by 20% despite government-funded research showing they are suitable for all housing types

· Heat pumps don’t work in the cold say 15%, presumably unaware that 1.4 million homes in Norway are warmed by heat pumps, which can function well down to outdoor temperatures of -15ºC or even -20ºC.

· Heat pumps require underfloor heating, a further 15% believe. While underfloor heating and a heat pump are a great combination, the clean technology can function perfectly well with traditional radiators.

The survey results have been published as Good Energy is launching its new bespoke ‘winter tips’ service for its heat pump customers.

Winter tips

The new winter tips service will provide tips and individualised data on customers’ overall efficiency and recommend any changes they wish to make to their setup to save energy over the colder months.

Good Energy chief executive Nigel Pocklington said: “For some unfathomable reason, heat pumps have found themselves in the front line of the culture war, with the truth, as ever, becoming an early casualty.

“The constant flow of misinformation from media with poor journalistic standards, an absence of reputable data or the fingerprints of lobbyists all over them, means that the overall level of public understanding has fallen.

“The best antidote to this is to keep pointing towards fact-based research and data, and we will continue to do that.

“That is what we will be providing with our new winter tips — information and data for our customers to ensure they are as informed as they possibly can be about their heating in order to save money and be greener.”