Heat Pump vs Boiler: Should You Switch

The UK is in the midst of a ‘home heating revolution’. Consequently, we’re seeing more people opt for renewable alternatives to traditional gas and oil boilers to heat their homes or commercial businesses.

This shift comes as no surprise, especially when you consider that 14% of UK emissions come from domestic energy use (Climate Change Committee, 2019).

In a bid to reduce emissions, the government is taking steps to ban gas boilers and released their Heat and Buildings Strategy in 2021. This ban is made up of two phases:


Ban Phases

Phase One

Banning the installation of gas boilers in new builds by 2025. The government is planning to “consult on ending new connections to the gas grid” so that they can make all new builds low carbon.

Phase Two

Phasing out all gas boiler installations by 2035. For gas boilers that break or stop working after 2035, low carbon or renewable energy alternatives will need to be installed.


The global gas shortage, volatile prices of oil and the subsequent April 2022 price cap increase is also further driving the demand for alternative solutions, as it is predicted to impact around 22 million people.

According to Ofgem, this 54% rise will affect both tariff and prepayment customers. “Those on default tariffs paying by direct debit will see an increase of £693 from £1,277 to £1,971 per year (difference due to rounding). Prepayment customers will see an increase of £708 from £1,309 to £2,017.”

As a result, we’re seeing a shift in attitudes, with more and more people looking for low-carbon heating alternatives in a bid to reduce heating costs and their overall impact on the environment. Slowly but surely, heat pumps are becoming the nation’s favourite heating and cooling system.


In layman’s terms, a heat pump is a device that’s attached to the exterior of a building. It converts energy from even cold air into heat and transfers it around an enclosed space.

Find out everything you need to know about heat pumps.


What are the key differences between heat pumps and gas boilers?

Heat pumps and gas boilers both do similar jobs - they heat buildings. However, the design, set up and the way in which they heat homes and water is different, along with the source of energy they use.

Heat Quickly

Boilers produce a lot of heat quickly and heat radiators at high temperatures.

Small Radiators

Boilers tend to work with smaller radiators due to operating at much higher temperatures.

Lower Temperatures

Heat pumps produce heat at more constant, lower temperatures.


In comparison, heat pumps require radiators or emitters with larger surface areas to distribute heat.

Work Better

Heat pumps can work better with other types of emitters, such as underfloor heating and fancoils.

Is the UK weather compatible
with heat pumps?

We’re often asked if the UK is warm enough to work with heat pumps, and the answer is yes. Enula’s heat pumps work in temperatures as low as 20℃; heat pump installations are leading the way in much colder countries such as Norway, Sweden and Denmark, which are much colder than the UK - they’re a great heating alternative.


Gas boilers use heat exchangers that are located in the gas combustion chamber. Water passes through the exchanger and absorbs heat from the gas. The heat exchanger absorbs 90% of the gas into water. Due to the amount of heat in the heat exchanger, a significant amount of water vapour is condensed onto the heat exchanger (also known as a condensing boiler).

However, heat pumps are measured by Coefficient of Performance (CoP) which looks at the ratio of energy used versus the amount of heat generated.

Whilst heat pumps need electricity to run, they convert renewable energy (air) and turn this into heat. Additionally, the vapour compression (refrigeration) cycle means that a building can be heated 300% - 500% more than the electricity it needs to run.


What are the upfront costs of gas boilers and heat pumps?

Heat Pumps

The installation of heat pumps isn’t cheap, but there are many Government grants that can offset the costs. Depending on the project specification, size of the building, heating requirements and other factors, air source heat pump installation can cost anywhere from £8,000 or exceed £15,000.

Gas Boilers

The installation of gas boilers is relatively cheaper and can start at £1,500 and go up to £5,000 depending on the project specification.

Often heat pumps themselves are very expensive and their installation is bespoke and complicated.


The UK government offers many incentives and grants to help offset costs and fund the installation of heat pumps in homes across the country. These schemes include:

Boiler Upgrade Scheme

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme is the Government’s flagship programme. You may be eligible for this policy if you:

  • Own your own home

  • Live in England or Wales

  • Have an installation capacity of 45kWth

  • Have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) with no outstanding recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation.

Individuals can apply for grants and submit applications from 23rd May. This scheme offers the following:

  • £5,000 off the cost and installation of an air source heat pump,

  • £5,000 off the cost and installation of a biomass boiler

  • £6,000 off the cost and installation of a ground source heat pump

Other grants include:

  • Warmer Homes Scotland

  • Home Energy Scotland Loan

  • Nest Scheme, Wales

Find out more about these schemes here.


Standard gas boilers or combi boilers are often tucked away in cupboards in bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchens across homes. However, heat pumps use different equipment, so the set up is a little different.

In most instances, air source heat pumps require boxes that are installed outside of a building - these boxes have fans and compressors inside. You’ll also need space for a hot water cylinder, control box and potentially a buffer tank.

Thanks to innovative manufacturers such as Haier, there are instances where heat pumps sit on top of the tank, making flats and tower blocks compatible with this renewable heating solution.


The ‘Smart Home’ is paving the way - you can link both heat pumps and boilers to heat controls.

Enula have partnered with a range of industry leading brands including Panasonic, Samsung, Haier and Swegon who are at the forefront of offering smart renewable heating solutions. Their equipment can be controlled via an app or bluetooth, giving you the ability to monitor your heating wherever you are.

With boilers slowly being phased out, it makes sense to look at alternative heating solutions. If you have any questions, browse our Resources centre, or get in touch with an engineer today.

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