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Heat pumps won’t work in old homes, warns Bosch

March 15, 2023

By Paul Homewood



h/t Ian Magness

Another nail in the coffin!



 Heat pumps will not work for Britain’s Victorian houses, one of the largest makers of the devices has warned.

Vonjy Rajakoba, managing director of Bosch UK, told The Telegraph that heat pumps did not make sense for older homes that lack extensive insulation or were not detached.

Mr Rajakoba said: “At low temperature you need well insulated homes, you also need space for heat pumps for the external unit and also the tank, so you need to have the sort of home which is adequate around the heat pumps.

“We think that in the UK, with the fleet of Victorian houses or period houses and so on, hydrogen, or in the interim hydrogen-ready boilers, are the solution.”

Mr Rajakoba’s comments will stoke doubts about the current government "net zero" strategy, given Britain’s ageing housing stock. Almost two fifths of private homes were built before 1945, according to government figures.

Mass adoption of heat pumps is a key plank of Britain’s plan to reach “net zero” carbon emissions by 2050.

The electric devices raise the temperature in people’s homes by pumping compressed air from outside to raise the temperature indoors. The Government wants to see 600,000 heat pumps installed each year by 2028, compared to around 35,000 today.

However, a House of Lords committee claimed in February that using hydrogen to heat homes was “not a serious option”, citing concerns about whether the gas could be produced at scale and cheaply enough. The report urged the Government to instead focus solely on heat pumps.

So we go around in circles again. Heat pumps are useless, so go for hydrogen, scream Bosch. But hydrogen won’t work, so go for heat pumps say the House of Lords.

I’ve got a better idea – just stick with what does work, gas boilers.

53 Comments leave one →
  1. March 15, 2023 11:58 am

    It’s obviously not worth it, except to the deluded wa4mists and the masses of the corrupt, seeing more subsidy money for their pockets.
    Would the CCComittee be amongst the latter more than the former?

    • Mack permalink
      March 15, 2023 3:30 pm

      And the same troughers will be absolutely salivating at the prospect of £20 billion going down the great carbon capture and storage gravy drain courtesy of our new chancellor following today’s budget. I note a recently proposed small scale CCS plant in the states was costing $4.5 million to build to capture the CO2 equivalent of $7,000 worth of trees. That’s the kind of bargain that gets the Debdenites rushing out of bed in the morning!

  2. Dave Ward permalink
    March 15, 2023 12:07 pm

    “The electric devices raise the temperature in people’s homes by pumping compressed air from outside to raise the temperature indoors”

    Whaaaaaat??? Another “Journalist” with absolutely NO idea what he’s writing about…

    • 1saveenergy permalink
      March 15, 2023 12:09 pm

      You beat me to it !!

      • Beagle permalink
        March 15, 2023 1:12 pm

        And me.

    • Chris Phillips permalink
      March 15, 2023 1:47 pm

      The ignorance and lazyness of a lot of today’s “journalists” knows no bounds. It’s extraordinary because today researching anything via Google is so easy but these journalists can’t even be bothered to do that.

    • teaef permalink
      March 15, 2023 10:48 pm

      Nailed the science there!

  3. March 15, 2023 12:54 pm

    As you say going around in circles again. Heat pumps are useless, so go for hydrogen, scream Bosch who make a lot of boiler. But hydrogen won’t work, so go for heat pumps say the House of Lords. We need a different outlook. How about locally sourced Gas while we work our better solutions like thermal storage heating systems and household solar. Governments have a poor success rate in selecting winning technology.

  4. Harry Passfield permalink
    March 15, 2023 1:13 pm

    Round in circles, exactly. But I could count on the thumbs of one hand the number of MPs who could, a: understand the problem, or b: propose that gas be kept.
    Or even, c: argue to scrap NZC altogether.

  5. 2hmp permalink
    March 15, 2023 1:23 pm

    Can someone please give the Chancellor and the Primes Minister a serious lecture on Carbon Dioxide -the nature of the gas, the value of the gas and the benefits from having more of the gas.

    • Thomas Carr permalink
      March 15, 2023 3:01 pm

      Time to round up the Govt. scientist if the post still exists. She/He might at least take the trouble to listen to the debate about the ‘competence’ of hydrogen today and the futility of heat pumps for the majority of UK housing stock.

  6. Gamecock permalink
    March 15, 2023 1:30 pm

    “Governments have a poor success rate in selecting winning technology.”

    tangoev isn’t giving us a revelation; everybody knows it already. You surely knew it when you gave the power to the government.

    So take the damn choice away from them. Leave the people alone to pick what works best for them. Their choice. When you let government choose, they will do it for THEIR reasons, not yours. [Remember “dash for diesel?]

    Frankly, your, “Oh, no, the government has made a bad choice” whining is ridiculous. What did you think was going to happen?

    Use this example to take the government’s power away! Otherwise, you will stay on this same path, even if they make a new decision. The governments are getting bolder in their demands that citizens put their own capital into the governments’ choices. It isn’t going to work. Stop it.

    • March 15, 2023 2:04 pm

      Market forces choose the best options. All that is left for governments to choose are failures.

      • March 16, 2023 11:39 am

        Market forces choose the best options? You mean like, ‘MSDOS – kills all known interest in computing….?’

    • gezza1298 permalink
      March 15, 2023 2:25 pm

      All very good but how do we take the power away from the government since the power part of democracy doesn’t exist in the UK?

      • Gamecock permalink
        March 15, 2023 3:15 pm

        Not my job, mon.

  7. Phoenix44 permalink
    March 15, 2023 1:52 pm

    So when the CEO of the CCC produces a report he claims is well-researched and which says heat pumps are the answer, who did he talk to? Why is he not raising the issues rather than simply lying about them?

  8. gezza1298 permalink
    March 15, 2023 2:37 pm

    The Germans have noticed the same thing as a ban on installing new gas and oil heating systems comes in next year with fines of 50,000 euros for non-compliance. The EU fascists have decided that you will be forced to upgrade your property so that by 2033 you must meet energy grade D. While the people of Berlin have a vote on 26th that could bring their Nut Job Zero target forward to 2030.

    • John Brown permalink
      March 15, 2023 6:26 pm

      “Mission Zero” has recommended the government mandates that by 2033 no house can be sold unless it has an EPC rating of C. And for the end of new and replacement boilers by 2033. I don’t think I have seen a date for when domestic gas supplies will be cut off….

      • March 15, 2023 10:35 pm

        Interesting insight. This is inevitable–no one wants it so MANDATE IT.

      • cookers52 permalink
        March 16, 2023 6:49 am

        No need to bother with an end date they stopped life cycle replacement of the National Grid gas infrastructure some time ago.

  9. Broadlands permalink
    March 15, 2023 2:51 pm

    “….you also need space for heat pumps for the external unit and also the tank, so you need to have the sort of home which is adequate around the heat pumps.”

    The air-handlers also need space.But, the big problem arises if “emergency” heat is needed when it’s really cold. That requires electrical “heat strips” that use lots of energy. I am currently in that position. Expect a bigger bill this month.

  10. David permalink
    March 15, 2023 2:58 pm

    The CO2 output from gas is obviously no problem. It is good for the environment. If there is a valid argument for eliminating the other gasses emitted, then the only answer is to ultimately heat most homes with electric power maybe with many having insulated hot water storage tanks for reducing unwanted demand peaks. Ultimately maybe this will be produced by fusion reactors but in the meantime the country should go all out to increase our conventional nuclear power by perhaps 500% from its present level.

  11. Peter MacFarlane permalink
    March 15, 2023 3:34 pm

    “ The electric devices raise the temperature in people’s homes by pumping compressed air from outside to raise the temperature indoors.”


    If this is the level of their understanding, it’s no wonder we’re in such a mess.

  12. MrGrimNasty permalink
    March 15, 2023 3:37 pm

    The problem is that if they don’t eliminate GCH, they won’t be able to claim all the tax raising driving zones and the enforced switch to EVs made the slightest bit of difference to air quality.

  13. Dodgy Gezzer permalink
    March 15, 2023 3:48 pm

    Where’s the money in just sticking with gas boilers?

    You want the same economic scam as lighting. Drop incandescent, go for halogen.Then drop those, go for mercury fluorescent lights. Then Then drop those, go for led….

  14. John Hultquist permalink
    March 15, 2023 3:58 pm

    Vonjy Rajakoba, managing director of Bosch UK, . . .

    . . . soon to be on slow boat to The Elysian Fields.

  15. Malcolm permalink
    March 15, 2023 4:56 pm

    Oh no Paul, heat pumps don’t work like that. To keep it short, they are fridges or air conditioners installed backwards which chill the ground outside and warm the house using pressurised gas which if escapes is very nasty for the climate.

  16. March 15, 2023 5:29 pm

    I was encouraged when I read this guy finally acknowledged the laws of TDN and concluded heat pumps WILL NOT WORK in older British homes. But when he recommended Hydrogen boilers my eyes glazed over, just like they do when some green starts droning on and on about the TerraWatts of sunlight hitting the Earth,blah, blah, blah. Hydrogen boilers; yeah, right. Just let me set my phaser to ‘STUN’ so I can coral me a magic unicorn.

  17. John Brown permalink
    March 15, 2023 5:45 pm

    DESNZ (ex BEIS) believe that heat pumps have a CoP of 4 whatever the outside temperature. To quote “Mission Zero” authored by Chris Skidmore, MP with the assistance of BEIS : Page 241 Paragraph 957 :

    “Heat pumps are efficient, cost-effective and offer many other benefits. As heat pumps mostly transfer rather than generate heat, they produce multiple units of usable heat for each unit of electricity consumed to operate them. For example, the energy output of a heat pump is four times greater than the electrical energy used to run it. This makes current heat pump models 3‐5 times more energy efficient than gas boilers. Currently, heat pumps are cheaper to run than gas boilers”

    And these people are making the decision when to cut off our gas!

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      March 15, 2023 9:55 pm

      John Brown:
      It is easy to get a 3-5 efficiency when you are heating a room at 23℃ with air outside at the same temperature. You can get (possibly) 7 times if the outside temperature is 38℃ should you want to HEAT the room at 23℃.
      If the outside temperature is 2℃ and you want to heat inside then the efficiency drops drastically. At minus 10℃ outside you would be better off using an electric radiator and avoiding the problems with a large expensive piece of equipment.
      And natural gas, even at current prices, would be better economically than a heat pump. The confusion in politician’s minds is due to their belief in magical green unicorns.

  18. John Brown permalink
    March 15, 2023 6:14 pm

    If I am forced to give up my gas boiler either because the gas was cut off or because the government increased the price of gas to make heat pumps attractive (as already proposed), then I would initially start by checking out far infrared radiators as the installation costs are negligible compared to heat pumps and there are no maintenance costs. Heat pumps use resistance heating anyway to raise the temperature in the water tank at least once a day to prevent legionnaires disease and when the outside temperature drops so low that ice forms on the outside piping/components.

    • dave permalink
      March 15, 2023 6:49 pm

      “…far infrared heaters…”

      I think you might mean heaters made by the company ‘FAR Infrared.’

      By definition, far-infrared radiation comes in photonic packets of very low energy; it is not very warming.

      I have fond memories of sitting in the darkened, winter, outdoor-terrace, bar of the Metropole Hotel in Brussels – with infrared warmth pouring over me from mega-sized lamps just behind and above me. So it is certainly good stuff! As is Belgian beer.

      • March 15, 2023 10:34 pm

        Keep them behind you, not over you, or your feet will be cold. Shadow effect of radiant heating.

    • March 15, 2023 10:39 pm

      From across the pond: These things were all the rage twenty years ago-they heat people, not air, blah, blah, blah. They were ubiquitous in car dealerships and repair garages–for about ten years. Radiant heat can work quite well in a domestic home, as long as you wear heavy socks whenever you sit at a table. Shadow effect.

    • John Brown permalink
      March 15, 2023 11:10 pm

      dave & billydick007 : You may well be right. I don’t know. But I cetainly would be trying out a couple of panels before attempting to install a heat pump. I would also be keeping my gas boiler and plumbing for when they finally come to their senses over CO2….

    • John Hultquist permalink
      March 15, 2023 11:45 pm

      My water gizmo, often called a hot water heater but, of course it is a cold water heater. Anyway, mine is a 30 gallon insulated tank with a resistance electrical element that is not part of the heater/AC heatpump.

  19. Czp permalink
    March 15, 2023 7:50 pm

    So, two fifths of the UK housing stock being pre 1945, are less suitable because they’te not detached or don’t have space for the pump or tank.. how many of the post 1945 buildings would have the same needed space? Very few modern builds have any free space around them…

  20. Ben Vorlich permalink
    March 15, 2023 8:20 pm

    Is this correct
    RenewableUK has published statistics which show that over the entire winter period, low carbon power sources (renewables and nuclear) generated over 60% of Britain’s total electricity generation

    Just eyeballing Gridwatch charts for December, January and February it doesn’t look that good for renewable even with nuclear added.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      March 15, 2023 8:55 pm

      Ben it is clearly total tosh. This website has a running 28 day chart. Dr Andrew Crossland is an out an out “greenie”*and even he never came up with such incorrect data.
      * He may use the title “Dr” but I have personally had to advise him to correct his files three times so maybe not that accurate!

    • John Brown permalink
      March 15, 2023 10:55 pm

      i don’t know as I write if it’s true but don’t forget “low carbon power sources” includes interconnectors (as the power is not generated in the UK) plus biomass/Drax and hydro as well as nuclear.

      • March 16, 2023 7:40 pm

        How far do they have to go before these renewable or “low carbon power sources” claims are subject to false advertising or fraud claim? Isn’t 1 of the interconnectors (Dutch) right next to a coal power station and even the Norwegian might be exporting German/Danish coal generation. Its not like it wouldn’t be hard to get the real time figure for the interconnects.

  21. dave permalink
    March 15, 2023 9:10 pm


    I would certainly expect there to be some electrical juice coming out of all those eye-wateringly expensive, whirly thingies!

    To adapt Samuel Johnson:

    “Sir, wind power is like a dog’s walking on its hinder legs. It’s not done well, but one is surprised to find it done at all.”

    • Gamecock permalink
      March 16, 2023 9:49 am

      Wind power is dancing with a woman who isn’t your wife.

  22. March 15, 2023 9:14 pm

    Strange that it’s correct on the uselessness of heart pumps, then harps on about hydrogen as of its the best thing since sliced bread. Strange.

  23. Douglas Dragonfly permalink
    March 16, 2023 12:42 am

    Someone who has commented above PLEASE apply !
    Taken from this Telegraph writer’s Twitter:-
    RT @cg_williams: 🚨BIG JOB ALERT🚨 The Telegraph is seeking an experienced journalist to spearhead its energy coverage Apply here 👇
    It was posted about ten days ago.

    • Gamecock permalink
      March 16, 2023 9:48 am

      Experienced journalist, not energy expert.

  24. cookers52 permalink
    March 16, 2023 6:53 am

    Why are we debating how to heat our houses when climate change science tells us we won’t have to?

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