Heat Pumps – Your Questions Answered

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Published: 04 June 2021


Martyn Bridges, Director of Technical Communication & Product Management at Worcester Bosch answers some of the most pressing questions around heat pumps and MCS

Heat pumps

1.            What are the key benefits of a Heat Pump I should be mentioning when talking to my customers?

The key benefits of heat pumps include lowering of energy bills, efficiency levels, and the fact that they are a low carbon, renewable source of energy.

They also require little maintenance, do not require fuel deliveries, and make the homeowner eligible for payment under the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme.

2.            How does the maintenance upkeep for a Heat Pump differ to traditional heating systems?

Generally, heat pumps only require professional attention every 2 or 3 years. However, if you have a mains pressure hot water cylinder installed then that may require annual servicing.

3.            Are there any financial initiatives in place, such as grants or reward schemes, that can help my customers with the costs of installing a Heat Pump?

Yes, the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme offers financial support for those who install heat pumps.

Customers will receive RHI cash payments quarterly over seven years. The amount they receive will depend on a number of factors, including the technology you install, the latest tariffs available, and sometimes, metering.

Customers can estimate how much money they could earn through RHI using the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) RHI Payment Calculator.

4.            How important a role will Heat Pumps play in the transition to renewable energies?

Heat pumps will play a very important role in the transition to renewable energies. They are one of the low-carbon technologies on the market, they will be pivotal on the road to net zero 2050, particularly in new build properties.

5.            What are the key steps to consider when installing a Heat Pump?

When installing a heat pump, there are many factors to consider.

The home must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of at least band C to be suitable for heat pump installation. The home must be properly insulated.

The home must also have sufficient space to house a heat pump and a hot water cylinder. Existing heating system pipework will not be compatible with the low temperatures that a heat pump operates at, so they will likely need to be replaced – including larger radiators installed.

6.            Are there any new skills required to install a Heat Pump over a boiler?

Yes, installing an air source heat pump requires you to attend a training course which is generally around 3 days in duration, on successful completion you would be competent to install the units.

Once you have completed this, installation is more complicated than a boiler but well within an installers’ skillset.

7.            Will there be training available for installers looking to offer Heat Pumps?

Yes, a full suite of training courses will be available from Worcester Bosch in Q2 2021.

8.            How will Heat Pumps benefit the environment?

Heat pumps are low-carbon systems which will reduce fossil fuel emissions and hazardous emissions locally. They run on electric and only use one third of the electricity required by baseboard electric heaters.

Ultimately, they are one of the most environmentally friendly technologies on the market.

9.            What is the difference between Air to water and Ground Source Heat Pumps?

Air to water heat pumps source their heat from the air, while ground source heat pumps source their heat from the ground. This means ground source heat pumps are slightly more efficient that air to water heat pumps due to the ground’s constant temperature of 10-13 degrees Celsius year-round.

A Ground Source Heatpump is sited inside the property so more space will be required than an Air Source version. Both will require space for a hot water storage cylinder and quite often a buffer store or/and a hydraulic unit.

MCS

1)            What is MCS?

MCS is the Microgeneration Certification Scheme, an independent scheme certifying microgeneration / low-carbon products and installers supported by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

From heat pumps to solar panels, MCS creates and maintains standards which allow for the certification of products, installers, and their installations.

Installers who fit renewable products such as heat pumps can become registered under the scheme, which certifies your qualifications.

2)            What is the benefit of MCS?

MCS demonstrates that the technology fitted by the installer is specified, installed, and maintained correctly. It is a mark of standard which ensures safety and competence.

For customers, MCS provides assurance that these standards are upheld when fitting renewable technologies and, for installers, the certification makes them more desirable to customers.

3)            How can I offer MCS?

If you want to become MCS certified, you should first identify which Certification Body you wish to be a member of. Certification Bodies are independent, third party organisations who carry out the assessment and guide you through the process.

Each Certification Body has different prices for becoming certified, and different timescales for the assessment.

All MCS Installers will be assessed against the NCS 001 standard and the specific technical Standard for the technology you wish to become certified for. 

Becoming MCS certified requires 4 elements; a commitment to quality workmanship, a commitment to customer care, demonstration of competency, and a commitment to continual improvement through the deployment of an effective management system.

For more information, visit the MCS website:  www.mcscertified.com/

4)            What can I do if I don’t have MCS but the customer wants to take advantage of government incentives?

You can subcontract to an MCS registered installation company; however, the standard of work must still meet the MCS requirements.

You can fit a Heat pump without being MCS registered but your customer would not be able to receive any of the available grants or incentives.

5)            How is Worcester supporting installers with the MCS scheme?

Worcester Bosch runs the MCS Made Easy programme, which is designed to help installers prepare for their MCS accreditation assessments.

To become MCS certified, installers must complete the Energy Efficiency course as well as the QCF mapped solar and heat pump courses that are available for installers looking to gain approved competency for requirements with MCS.