UK Air Source Heat Pump Cost Survey 2020

Air Source Heat Pump
Cost Survey 2020

Heat pumps have been around for a long time now and are an established technology but they are still a new idea to most homeowners in the UK. This presents many problems for the industry and also for potential buyers. One of those difficulties is that homeowners have no idea what to expect in terms of costs.

The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive has been with us since 2014 and yet still today there is no clear, data backed, answer to the question how much does a heat pump cost? At the end of 2020, we carried out research with one simple aim. We surveyed installers to find out what a reasonable cost estimate would be for the installation of an air source heat pump in a typical UK home.

Indicative prices for domestic air source heat pump installation in the UK

Scenario 1
Connection to low temperature distribution system (eg underfloor heating)

Installers were asked to provide an indicative price (complete installed cost, inclusive of VAT and any other costs) for a complete Air Source Heat Pump installation in a typical UK home. In scenario 1 the system is assumed to connect to a low temperature distribution system such as underfloor heating.

Most installers gave their answers in the form of a range. Something like €10,000 to €12,000 for example. Some gave a single indicative quote. In either case, these price estimates are very much intended to be a ball park figure.

We plotted the responses in the graph below. Where respondents gave a range, we have plotted the low end, the high end and a central estimate to give a picture of the distribution of the prices.

The indicative prices given by installers ranged from a low of £6,000 to a high of £20,000 but both of these were outliers. The vast bulk of responses for clean installs fell in a range between £9,000 and £14,000. The mean mid range estimate we received was £12,118. Installers typically provided their estimates in the form of a range and the most common range was £10,000 to £12,000, followed by £12,000 to £14,000.

Scenario 2
Retrofit to typical existing heating system (eg standard radiators)

Installers were asked to provide an indicative price (complete installed cost, inclusive of VAT and any other costs) for a complete Air Source Heat Pump installation in a typical UK home. Scenario 2 is a retrofit where the system is assumed to connect to an existing typical heating system with standard radiators etc. and where upgrading is likely to be necessary and cause additional cost.

When we plot the responses we can see that the prices given are somewhat higher than for scenario 1 and also that they are a little less densely concentrated. Again, the installers tended to respond with a range. For scenario 2 the ranges given were often wider, sometimes starting at the same low but reaching higher. For example, a respondent might have given an answer of £10,000 – £12,000 for scenario 1 and then £10,000 – £14,000 for scenario 2.

The mean mid-range estimate is £13,249. That’s just over £1,000 more than the average for scenario 1. The largest price given was £22,000. The upper end estimates were usually given as the upper end of a wide band (eg, £14,000 – £20,000) and this essentially reflects the difficulty in giving a ball park figure for a retrofit without knowing what elements would be required.

Additional Works Included

There is more to an air source heat pumps system than just an air source heat pump. Prices indicated in the survey are for complete installations so it is worth looking at what other works are typically included. Based on the indications given in the survey these are likely to include:

  • Plant room installation
  • Compatible hot water cylinder
  • Buffer tank
  • Associated pipework

Additional Costs Involved in Retrofitting Air Source Heat Pumps

Our quotes for the retrofit scenario averaged just over £1,000 more than for connecting to a low temperature system such as underfloor heating. Comments given by installers during the survey indicated additional costs for retrofit ranging from €800 to €4,000.

Some of the cost elements included:

  • Decommission and remove aspects of existing system.
  • Design and specification for radiator outputs at lower flow temps.
  • Re-sizing radiators as required

Based on responses, customers should probably count on roughly €250 per radiator where new, re-sized radiators are required.

Heat Pumps Brands

The prices given were based on a very wide range of heat pump brands with some of the installers providing a range of brands and others focusing on 1 or 2.

The most common brand quoted was Mitsubishi, followed by Vaillant and Nibe but 12 different manufacturers were represented in all.

Mitsubishi 15
Vaillant 8
Nibe 8
LG 4
Stiebel 2
Samsung 2
Dimplex 2
Daikin 2
Viessmann 1
Hitachi 1
Clausis 1