Report confirms heat pump owners think they are quiet

Announcement comes alongside confirmation of Clean Market Mechanism incentives to drive heat pump takeup and data showing heat pump purchases have ‘surged’ after Boiler Upgrade Scheme increased

Research carried out by a range of consultants has shown heat pumps are generally rated as quiet, with a majority of those surveyed saying they did not notice the sound. The review found complaints from neighbours are rare – with people far more likely to hear the noise of traffic and dogs barking, over of the sound of nearby heat pumps.

The Department of Energy Security and Net Zero said: “Today’s report examining the sound coming from heat pumps follows significant advances to reduce noise levels. The report concludes that heat pumps are now very quiet – with sound levels similar to a gas boiler or fridge…Extensive research was carried out for the independent study by acoustic experts who reviewed existing data and conducted interviews with households, installers, manufacturers, industry bodies, as well as local authority planning officers. Currently some households need to seek full planning permission to install a heat pump. However, the report recommends a change in planning rules to make it easier for households to install heat pumps under permitted development rights – while also strengthening heat pump noise assessments conducted by installers to continue protecting the public from noise pollution.”

The Chancellor announced a consultation in last week’s Autumn Statement on introducing new permitted development rights to end the blanket restriction on heat pumps one metre from a property boundary in England.

At the same time, the government published data showing that new applications for government’s heat pump support surged after the BUS grant was increased to £7,500. New applications in the first week since the grant uplift hit 1,150 – treble the average weekly rate prior to the change. In the subsequent three weeks, new applications have remained nearly 60% higher than the previous weekly average, the government reported.

Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho said:

Today’s new figures show our pragmatic approach to net zero is working…We are supporting hardworking families who want to make the switch and replace their boiler in a way that’s within their budgets.

Also today, the government confirmed plans for a new Clean Heat Market Mechanism, launching next year, which will incentivise the UK’s heating industry to invest in heat pumps.

Rebecca Dibb-Simkin, Chief Product & Marketing Officer at Octopus Energy Group, said:

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme has already done wonders to kickstart a nascent heat pump industry and drive hundreds of millions of pounds of private sector investment in the UK. Since the increase in the grant was announced, we’ve seen 5 times more requests for heat pumps from our customers, and we’ve even been able to offer some installations for free. Many of the planning rules around heat pumps are outdated, so it’s great the government is modernising them to make it easier for more people to get their hands on one.

Mat Moakes Chief Commercial Officer at OVO said:

It’s encouraging to see the rise in applications for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme with the recent uplift helping households make the switch. At OVO we’ve seen an uplift in customer interest and our data also shows that when paired with innovative tariffs to reduce the cost the uptake increases.