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Should you ditch your gas boiler for a heat pump?

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By Imogen Ford
20 May 2024

The development of our green gasmill and our campaign to save our boilers a few years ago sparked a debate about whether we, as consumers, should ditch gas in our homes in favour of a brand-new heat pump.

Our mission has always been simple: to end the use of fossil fuels in Britain. This is the message behind everything we do, but it’s integral that this isn’t at the cost of the consumer.  We can still keep our gas boilers and eradicate CO2 emissions from home heating, and we can do it cheaper, faster, more simply and with less hassle or waste, simply by changing where we get the gas from.

The case for gas

Surprisingly, natural gas isn’t actually all that ‘natural’ – it’s still a fossil fuel.

Some people favour natural gas because it emits less CO2 than other fossil fuels; however, the biggest component of natural gas is methane, which is over 80 times more harmful than CO2. That’s hardly sustainable.

However, there are other ways to make gas, as we’ve discovered. Our first green gasmill was connected up to the grid late last year and has been pumping green gas into the local grid ever since, powering over 4,000 homes with clean, green gas. The total cost of a national green gas program is just £30 billion – one tenth of the price of a heat pump program. It will also create almost 100,000 jobs in the rural economy and create vast wildlife habitats.

How do heat pumps work?

Heat pumps work like a fridge in reverse – they use electricity to make heat, instead of cold. It’s not a new idea - the most commonly available are air source, which take heat from the air. If your property is already electricity-only, with no gas, it may be a viable option for you, but it still involves extra costs – more on that later.

heatpump diagram
Weighing up the costs

This year, the average cost to install an air source heat pump in the UK is around £16,500 – that’s an incredible cost for the average homeowner to front. Of course, the government offers subsidies of £7,500 under the current Boiler Upgrade Scheme, but there are certain criteria you have to meet to be eligible, which also rules out most new build houses and social housing.

Even so, if you managed to get the £7,500 grant to install a heat pump, you’d still have to foot the remaining cost, plus any extras like upgrading your radiators or installing a hot-water storage tank.

Plus, if you have a gas meter, you’ll continue to pay standing charge unless the meter is removed, which comes at a cost too. As of 1st April 2024, the average annual gas standing charge on our Green Gas tariff is just over £114 - that’s just for maintenance costs, like line rental for phones.

Meter removal costs vary by region due to meter operator costs outside of our control.

Our solution

If you have a gas boiler in working condition, you really don’t need to rip it out to put in new tech – just switch to Ecotricity for Green Electricity and Green Gas. That way, your bill money will be doing good – we use our customers’ bill money to build more sources of green energy ourselves. We call this ‘Bills into Mills’.

green gas

As Dale says, “our government needs to wake up and smell the freshly mown grass, the answer to the question - how do we heat our homes and fight the climate crisis? - is growing right under our feet.”

Switch to Ecotricity today for truly green electricity and gas and join our mission for a greener Britain.

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