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A new survey has revealed the widespread nature of misinformation around heat pumps, with one in four believing gas boilers are more efficient than these renewable heating systems.
Green energy supplier and heat pump installer Good Energy commissioned Opinium to survey adults across the UK, asking them to identify if a number of statements about the electric heating technology as true or false.
The most widely believed statement, identified as ‘true’ by 25% of respondents, is that ‘heat pumps are less efficient than gas boilers’. In fact, heat pumps are much more efficient — converting one unit of energy into three or four on average, accounting for seasonal differences. This makes them as much as four times as efficient as a typical gas boiler.
Other fake news that a significant number of people consider fact, according to the survey, includes:
• Running a heat pump costs more than a gas boiler, according to 24% of those surveyed. In fact, the greater efficiency of heat pumps brings their running costs down, even accounting for the inflated unit costs of electricity compared to gas.
• A heat pump is louder than a fridge believed by 23% of respondents. In fact, the maximum noise output of a heat pump is 42 – 45dB, about the same as a fridge and slightly quieter than a gas boiler which can range from 48dB – 53dB.
• Heat pumps only work in newer homes, identified as ‘true’ by 20% despite government funded research showing they are suitable for all housing types.
• Heat pumps don’t work in the cold say 15%, presumably unaware that 1.4 million homes in Norway are warmed by heat pumps, which can function well down to outdoor temperatures of -15ºC or even -20ºC.
• Heat pumps require underfloor heating, a further 15% believe. While underfloor heating and a heat pump is a great combination, the clean technology can function perfectly well with traditional radiators.
The survey results have been released in support of Good Energy’s launch of its new bespoke ‘Winter Tips’ service for its heat pump customers.
Good Energy offers remote monitoring with its heat pumps, meaning it can identify issues early and ensure customers get the best from their heating.
The new Winter Tips service will provide a set of tips and individualised data on customers’ overall efficiency, and recommend any changes they may wish to make to their setup in order to save energy over the colder months.
Good Energy chief executive Nigel Pocklington says: “For some unfathomable reason, heat pumps have found themselves in the front line of the culture war, with the truth, as ever, becoming an early casualty. The constant flow of misinformation from media with poor journalistic standards, an absence of reputable data or the fingerprints of lobbyists all over them, means that the overall level of public understanding has fallen.
“The best antidote to this is to keep pointing towards fact-based research and data, and we will continue to do that. That is what we will be providing with our new Winter Tips — information and data for our customers to ensure they are as informed as they possibly can be about their heating, in order to save money and be greener.”
More misinformation can be found on the Good Energy blog.