Train to get ahead in the heat pump game

With all signs pointing to a heat pump future, now is the time for installers to prepare themselves for the changes to come. Grant UK’s Phil Stanley looks at the training opportunities and the standards engineers will have to meet. 

It is widely recognised that our dependence on fossil fuels for heating our homes must be significantly reduced in order to lower carbon emissions as a nation. The government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy outlined the plans for how the UK will reach net zero carbon by 2050 through the decarbonisation of homes and other buildings. The Strategy also detailed the government support that will be given to encourage the transition to low carbon heating systems such as a heat pump.

Get on the BUS

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme, or BUS, (formerly the Clean Heat Grant) came into effect in April and replaced the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive. Through the BUS, the government is offering grants of £5000 for homeowners in England and Wales who are looking to make the move from a fossil fuel boiler to an air source heat pump. 

The grant aims to cover up to 75% of the installation cost and the government has set aside £450m for the Scheme – providing grants for the installation of around 90,000 heat pumps over three years. The BUS will undoubtedly encourage demand for renewable technology and now, as an installer, it is a great time to make the switch and prepare to install heat pumps. 

Product training

Training is crucial when it comes to working with air source heat pumps. Not only must a heating engineer feel confident with the product itself, but they must also have a thorough understanding of the differences between high and low temperature systems. An ideal starting point for installers is manufacturer product training. 

These courses focus on the heat pump unit, allowing installers and engineers to get familiar with the specification of the product, its features and benefits, and the installation and servicing procedures. While many existing heating and plumbing installers will not find the installation of a heat pump difficult, training on the technology they intend to fit is strongly recommended, and this is why Grant UK offers product training on its Aerona³ range both in person at its centres and online through its eLearning Academy. 

MCS standards

For installers who are looking to complete installations as part of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, they will need to ensure that their businesses and the individual heat pump installations fulfil the Scheme’s criteria. One such requirement is that the installing engineer must be MCS certified. Earlier this year, MCS split its Heat Pump Standard into MIS 3005-D (The Heat Pump Standard – Design) and MIS 3005-I (The Heat Pump Standard – Installation). 

Installers who carry out both the system design and installation will need to be MCS certified to both Standards, but if an installer partners with another company who is MCS certified for the Design Standard, the installer can hold MCS certification for the Installation Standard only.

In order for an installer or company to achieve MCS certification for Heat Pump Design, Installation, or both, they will need to hold the relevant industry qualifications recognised by MCS. Grant UK runs both the new LCL Awards Level 3 Award in Low Temperature Heating & Hot Water Systems in Dwellings and the LCL Awards Level 3 Award in the Installation and Maintenance of Air Source Heat Pumps Systems (Non-refrigerant Circuits) at their Devizes training centre.

The Installation and Maintenance of Air Source Heat Pump Systems (Non-refrigerant Circuits) qualification is a three-day course, including assessment. This course is designed for heating engineers who will be installing, maintaining and servicing air source heat pumps with the qualification meeting the requirements for those applying to be MCS certified for work under the scope of MIS 3005-I. The course explores the key elements of heat pump installation, commissioning and the handover process, as well as inspecting, servicing and maintaining air source heat pump systems.

The Low Temperature Heating and Hot Water Systems qualification is a two-day course, including assessment, and this meets the requirements for those wishing to apply to be MCS certified for work under the scope of MIS 3005-D. This course, which is intended for heating professionals who will be designing low temperature heating systems, explains the key concepts of such systems, including heat loss calculation and the correct sizing of pipework, emitters, circulating pumps and hot water cylinders, as well as covering the latest industry and regulatory standards.

Installation focus

The Installation and Maintenance of Air Source Heat Pumps Systems (Non-refrigerant Circuits) is the qualification that enables registration with MCS for work under the scope of MIS 3005-I, so this is the course for heating engineers who will be installing and maintaining air source heat pumps. The scope of this course explores the key elements involved in a heat pump installation – including the commissioning and handover processes – as well as inspecting, servicing and maintaining air source heat pump units. This course includes both theory and practical assessments to give installers the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the subjects covered.

Design focus

The Low Temperature Heating and Hot Water Systems qualification, in addition to the Installation and Maintenance of Air Source Heat Pumps Systems (Non-refrigerant Circuits) qualification, enables registration with MCS for work under the scope of MIS 3005-D so this course is intended for heating professionals who will be designing low temperature heating systems. The course explains the concept of low temperature heating systems, the needs and requirements for installing low temperature heating and hot water systems, as well as covering the latest industry and regulatory standards, room-by-room heat loss calculation requirements and how to correctly size all the elements in the system. This course concludes with a theory assessment covering all the elements of system design.

Individuals looking to achieve MCS certification for Heat Pump Design under MIS 3005-D will need to attend and pass both the above mentioned courses. 

Revised MCS standards

The recent restructure of the MCS Heat Pump Standards allows installers or companies the scope to specialise in either system design as a certified Designer (against MIS 3005-D), or in heat pump installation as a certified Installer (against MIS 3005-I), or develop their in-house expertise to be certified as both Designer and Installer (in accordance with both MIS 3005-D and MIS 3005-I. It means that if an engineer wants to focus on installing and maintaining heat pumps, they can achieve MCS certification as an installer only and then, to fulfil the MCS requirements for the Design, they can partner with other companies who have MCS certification for MIS 3005-D to provide them with the system design support they need to fulfil the BUS requirements.

www.grantuk.com/professional/training/courses

www.grantuk.com

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