Industry advocate appointed new Technical Manager for ground-breaking heat pump app

Heat pump expert, Paul Spence, has been appointed as Technical Manager for heatly, the new heat pump sector app and supporting software that is currently in development.

A fierce advocate of correct specification and installation for heat pumps, Paul supports heat pump owners and installers through his Facebook group, Heat pumps U.K. Over 10, 500 members – consumers and those working in the sector – us the group to regularly ask questions, share information, and support each other in their heat pump endeavours.

Protecting the industry’s reputation

“I started Heat pumps U.K. two years ago to provide a place where homeowners and heating engineers could post their queries,” Paul explains.

“Poor installs, a lack of knowledge and failures in the systems in place that are supposed to ensure quality and safeguard customers, do nothing for the reputation of heat pumps. I’ve helped thousands of homeowners online and many with personal visits; from basic faults to quite complex issues.

“I met Griff Thomas (Director for heatly) via another Facebook group, had a chat on the phone after a debate over a technical point. Griff (also the MD for GTEC Training) then invited me to GTEC’s HQ in Hawes where I found out about heatly. I was extremely impressed with what I saw and heard.

“The technology behind heatly is game-changing, turning the installer’s phone into an invaluable tool – from simple heat loss calculations to quick 3D room scanning, dramatically speeding up some very time consuming and complex processes.

“For heat pump owners, heatly provides a one stop shop for everything related to their heating system – installer communication, warranties etc. And, in the future, the app will be able to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency improvements, such as insulation, showing the cost-savings associated with reducing heat loss. This is an area I am particularly passionate about. Investments in home efficiency before a heat pump is installed, will pay dividends long-term.”

Expert input

Paul has always worked in the heating industry, since following his father’s footsteps in the early 1970s, helping him out after school, in the holidays and on weekends. After leaving school at 15, Paul went straight into an apprenticeship with the largest industrial and commercial M&E company in the country at the time, Haden Young Ltd.

After completing his apprenticeship, Paul joined the armed forces, serving on board HMS Ark Royal and HMS Newcastle and at a variety of shore bases, where he spent most of his time dealing with chilled water plant ACPs and flash evaporators generating drinking water from sea water – both of which use the same principles as today’s heat pumps.

After leaving the armed forces, Paul set up his own heating business, primarily installing gas and oil-fired heating systems, which he has run successfully for over 30 years. 

Griff Thomas, Director for heatly, commented: “Paul has an unrivalled depth of knowledge and a true passion the heating sector. Through Heat pumps U.K., he has a direct line to the queries and concerns of both installers and consumers, which is of great use to heatly.

“Paul is perfectly placed to help us ensure heatly works for its intended audience, while supporting our wider aims of education and knowledge sharing.”

Paul concluded: “Heatly has the potential to fill a huge void, not just helping installers streamline their projects, but also engaging the public, many of whom are wary of change. Simplification and demystification are key: easier heat loss calculations and system design and easier communication between heat pump customers and heating engineers, which should lead to better installs and greater levels of trust – crucial to the widespread take-up of this technology.”

Simplifying processes

Part funded by the Heat Pump Ready Stream 2 programme, heatly has been designed to remove the barriers that make heat pump installation more complex than choosing a fossil-fuelled boiler. By standardising, simplifying and speeding-up processes like heat loss calculations and room by room surveying, installers will benefit from easier specification, greater accuracy and enhanced customer satisfaction.

Everything is available through the heatly app, turning the installers smart phone into an essential tool.

A version of the app is currently being trialled in Jersey, with plans to launch UK wide towards the second half of 2024.