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Rural Homes Will Be Forced To Install Unaffordable Heat Pumps

March 23, 2023

By Paul Homewood


h/t Ian Magness




More than two-thirds of people living in off-grid rural homes fear they would not be able to afford a heat pump if required to install one, a survey found.

Nearly 70 per cent of households said they would not be able to afford £15,000-30,000 to install a heat pump if their boiler breaks down after 2026, when the Government plans to ban new boiler installations in off-grid homes, the data show.

There are around four million homes in the UK that use heating oil or liquid gas, almost all of them in rural areas.

Fuel poverty rates among these households are 43 per cent higher than on-grid homes, affecting half a million households, and nearly half of residents are over-65.

Rural off-grid homes have faced soaring energy costs as the price of oil and liquid gas has risen in recent months, and they were originally left out of the Government’s bills support scheme.

Nearly 60 per cent of off-grid households think the 2026 new gas boiler ban, which is nine years earlier than that proposed for homes on the grid, is unfair and should be scrapped, according to the poll of 1,000 people commissioned by Liquid Gas UK, which represents domestic heating fuel suppliers.

Its figures for heat pump conversion costs for off-grid homes are higher than the Government’s own estimate of between £12,000 to £24,000.

Government modelling suggests around 80 per cent of off-grid homes do not need an extensive retrofit to accommodate a low temperature heat pump, which works like a refrigerator in reverse.

Plans to ban new fossil fuel boilers in these homes are currently being consulted on by the Government, which has said it intends to move ahead with the 2026 deadline.

David Jones, Conservative MP for Clwyd West said: “The owners of off-grid homes are in danger of becoming the losers in the race to net zero. Off-grid properties, many of which are poorly insulated, are harder to heat by the methods currently preferred by the Government.”

Liquid Gas UK said its figures on the cost of retrofitting homes came from analysis by energy consultancy Ecuity which was commissioned by the trade body.

Whether the cost is £24000 or £30000 hardly matters – either way heat pumps will be totally unaffordable for anybody but the ultra wealthy.  About 1.1 million homes are off grid.

In fact, the government’s consultation goes much further than simply a ban on fossil fuel boilers. Below is the relevant section in their consultation, which was published in October 2021, and closed in January 2022:



So in addition to a ban, the new regulations or laws will also require that heat pumps are fitted where practical to do so, or installation another low-carbon alternative where not.

This  is how they will do it:




This really  is quite astonishing. It is one thing banning a certain heating system, but it is a gross infringement of our basic rights to dictate what systems we must install, regardless of whether we can afford them or not. And this even extends to being forced to spend thousands on insulation if needed for heat pumps to be effective,

They talk of alternatives, but ground source heat pumps are even more expensive and I am not aware of any district heating systems in the middle of the countryside!

There are some houses which simply are not suitable for normal heat pumps, but they will not escape government diktat either:




Biomass boilers cost between £13000 and £25000, according to the document, so these will not be affordable either; in any event it sounds as if they will be strictly rationed  in order to be sustainable. And the high temperature heat pumps mentioned cost even more to buy and run than the low temperature versions we are used to.

This will likely be the template for on-grid homes when the gas boiler ban takes effect in 2035. We will all be given the choice of freezing to death or forking out tens of thousands!

One final comment; the report contains this:



We are usually told  by the heat pump lobby that air source heat pumps operate at about 300% efficiency. Now the government admits it is much less, at 244%.

Ignore the costings provided, as these were based on 2021 pricing. But at current prices, the heat pump would cost £2028 pa to run, compared to £1530 for a gas boiler.

When will the public wake up to this nightmare?

  1. Douglas Dragonfly permalink
    March 23, 2023 1:07 pm

    Like enforcing Smart meters. It is all about control.
    Heating, eating, driving and so on.
    The government will make every decision for everyone.
    Then inforce their will if the public do not comply.

    Or at least that is the UN & WEF dream. We the people have to say, ‘NO’.

    • Douglas Dragonfly permalink
      March 23, 2023 1:12 pm

      They’ll try and enforce it too !

    • In The Real World permalink
      March 23, 2023 6:49 pm

      In 2016 a Government climate committee concluded that , to change to electric home heating including heat pumps would need a 400% increase in generating capacity . So the idea was scrapped as being impossible .
      So how come politicians are now ignoring facts and trying to force insane ideas on everyone .
      But I suppose we should not expect any common sense from politicians being controlled by the Green Loonies .

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 23, 2023 7:19 pm

        Not forgetting the necessary 400% upgrade to the entire electricity distribution network, of course.

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        March 24, 2023 8:21 am

        Since the whole farrago started we have inexorably moved from lots of time to do not much to we must change everything immediately. The “science” has complied with that – every year we hear “its worse than we thought”. That is so unlikely to get true it’s laughable but it suits those who want to change society and most people don’t look at such things analytically.

      • Vernon E permalink
        March 25, 2023 3:17 pm

        I am mainly concerned about the effect this nonsense will have on property prices. No doubt there will be legislation along the lines of the Energy Performance Certificate and non-compliant properties will be unsaleable. My own property is over 100 years old and its most unlikely tat it could be made compliance without demolition. So where are all the finaniers in all this? After all, the banks and mortgage providers have the ultimate ownership of many, if not most, UK property? The same applies to LTNs. What value is a nice house in residential Oxford if it has no vehicular access?

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 25, 2023 6:17 pm

        I can’t see it happening myself, the Green scam is already starting to fall apart.

        In Europe the centre of gravity of the EU is gravitating to the East, Hungary and Poland are showing distinct signs of awkwardness, the Dutch are acting up over the outrageous demands on their agricultural industry, Germany is vetoing the IC ban – and we can forget the “Green” fuel red herring – as is Italy, much to the irritation of the French, who are falling out with Germany due to the Gallic predilection for nuclear expansion.

        Across the Pond even Biden is rowing back on his commitments, issuing licenses for drilling in the rich oilfields of Alaska and Africa has stated that Net Zero stinks of Colonialism and is not about to be told by Whitey it can’t exploit its very huge reserves.

        So I’m not worried that my 1650-ish cottage’s three foot thick stone walls which when warmed through act like big storage heaters are going to be covered in Grenfell style plastic panels any time soon!

    • Phil O'Sophical permalink
      March 24, 2023 1:41 pm

      “We the people have to say, ‘NO’.” It doesn’t work like that, Douglas.
      The Left and the Globalists long ago realised it is no good trying to argue or persuade people to follow their warped views and agendas. They just turn them into law the first chance they get. It then becomes irrelevant to argue with them using facts and reason; their ruinous policies and arbitrary dates are the law so they must happen, and anyone disagreeing is a conspiracy theorist or dinosaur. Never mind that it is they who are conspiring against us.

      Milband’s Climate Act; Harman’s Equalities Act; May’s Net Zero tinkering. As bonkers and irrational as they are ruinous. And now the EU’s Energy Performance of Building Directive.

      Heat pumps are the least of our worries. The EU has passed the Energy Performance of Building Directive. This does not apply, as you might think, bad as it is, to new buildings. From 2030 their citizens will be mandated to upgrade their homes’ heating, insulation, energy supplies, etc. Not only will it be financially crippling (impossible) to buy or sell a home, people will have to move out unless their home complies. Guess what? Your kindly government will provide approved buildings for you in 15 minute cities.

      You will own nothing and Klaus will be happy. If you ever wondered how they could bring this about; they’ve done it. Stealthily, far enough in the future for people not to notice until it is too late. Evil is a real thing.

      And where the EU goes fake-Brexit Britain will follow.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 24, 2023 7:23 pm

        “people will have to move out unless their home complies”

        Good luck with that!

  2. Mark Stevens permalink
    March 23, 2023 1:13 pm

    Yes, I’m one of those in a rural location whose house is not exactly right for this conversion. I did get someone around to see what would need to be done and it was in the £25k-£30k range. I have a friend who had one fitted to his bungalow (using existing radiators as underfloor wasn’t suitable) a few years ago along with extra wall/loft insulation and in the winter it’s always noticeably chilly there. He said his electricity usage has shot up since.

    • Tonyb permalink
      March 23, 2023 5:09 pm

      Did that 25/30k range include the heat pump plus the resizing of radiators and insulation?

      If you had spent that money would the house have been warm enough to be comfortable or would you still need a secondary source of heat?

  3. GeoffB permalink
    March 23, 2023 1:30 pm

    Plenty of trees in the countryside…..I think sales of wood burning boilers/heaters is going to go up rather rapidly. At some point the rebellion will occur, look at Sri Lanka and Holland.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      March 23, 2023 7:52 pm

      Yep syngas to drive the car and methanol stills for the rest plus a bit of charcoal on the side. Love it! The greenies can burn their own bullshit.

  4. Dave permalink
    March 23, 2023 1:36 pm

    But your friends who live ‘in the City’ can still buy gas boilers and then pass them to you use in your off-grid location . . . . . . people will find a way . . . .

  5. Aaron Halliwell permalink
    March 23, 2023 1:39 pm

    Paul H says 1.1m offgrid homes; Telegraph says 4m offgrid homes. Who is right? Could make quite a difference to the protest!

  6. Gordon Hughes permalink
    March 23, 2023 1:54 pm

    One of things about both bureaucrats and politicians is that they learn nothing from experience elsewhere or in the past. The lesson in this case is from what are called elderly clunkers in the US – or import bans in Cuba and many other countries. Regulations of this kind simply extend the life of the existing capital stock because people can’t afford replacements. All well-known to anyone with a basic knowledge of environmental policies. The end result is that either you pay for people to make the change or very little happens because people keep their existing boilers (or cars or whatever) going.

    In practical terms there is one simple lesson: replace your oil boiler now!! I have just replaced an oil boiler that was 35 years old (and still functioning well) by a new one with an expected life of 25-30 years. Probably, at a push, its life can be extended to 40 years – i.e. to the 2060s. If the policies hadn’t looked likely to be so stupid, I would not have made the change.

    Actually they are unlikely to enforce it seriously. There is very little that government can do about what used to be called dumb insolence. The political and financial costs of enforcement are prohibitive. It is a first class way of ensuring that political parties lose local council and parliamentary seats. People won’t forgive that kind of damage to their wealth and well-being. What is worse is that they will worsen the housing shortage in rural areas because they will impose restrictions on landlords who will just withdraw properties from the market.

    • Vernon E permalink
      March 25, 2023 2:55 pm

      Don’t forgety that they will always get you when it comes to selling your property.

  7. March 23, 2023 2:02 pm

    My oil boiler is probably about 30 years old, and I have no intention of replacing it – every time I have it serviced I am told not to replace it. It should last as long as I will. I did look at installing a water-source heat pump about 15 years ago, but definitely decided against it.

  8. Tony Drew permalink
    March 23, 2023 2:11 pm

    If I was in their position I would install a new boiler before the deadline and with a life expectancy of 20 years it should see me out and two fingers to the green blob!

    • John Brown permalink
      March 23, 2023 6:02 pm

      Unfortunately, you may think you can continue to run your boiler along “Cuba” lines or like Trigger’s broom, but those in charge of our energy policy will force you to stop using it simply by ensuring you cannot get fuel for it.

  9. Mack permalink
    March 23, 2023 2:24 pm

    Think it’s bad now, wait till Starmer gets in to power. There is an even stronger authoritarian streak on the Green left than even the hapless non conservative Tories can muster. Wasn’t it the current shadow chancellor who wanted to criminalise climate sceptics? And, as the Year Zero beckons, government energy diktats will only have to become more extreme to keep the master plan on track. Looking on the bright side, more people appear to be waking up to the realities of the crushing of their freedoms by the doomster cult and a push back now seems inevitable. We are not quite at Dutch Farmer level yet but wide resistance to 15 min cities and ULEZ schemes show promise.

  10. Vernon E permalink
    March 23, 2023 3:13 pm

    O/T – Sorry but the recent suggestion that our gas will soon be diluted made me think more about the magical “hydrogen” future. One point that doesn’t seem to have entered the debate is that hygrogen has a calorific value about one third of natural gas, volumetric basis. The implication is that to achieve the same amount of heat – which is what its about – will require the production and distribution three times the volume of gas the system now carries. The fantasy grows.

    • John Brown permalink
      March 23, 2023 5:29 pm

      Correct, they will have to increase enormously all the pumps in the system to triple the volume/time. There is surely going to be a lot of leakage as a result of this extra pressure and the fact that the hydrogen molecule is much smaller than the methane molecule. In addition the hydrogen corrodes the large bulk carrying steel pipes. I have suggested to my MP/BEIS that it would be far better and cheaper to use green methane, even if made from hydrogen by electrolysis, so as to keep in place all the devices (boilers etc.) and piping infrastructure. Geen methane can also be used as an e-fuel for existing ices with minoer modifications.

  11. March 23, 2023 3:30 pm

    Does the government intend to put electric boilers for CH systems on the banned list?

  12. Paul B permalink
    March 23, 2023 3:42 pm

    If people are concerned about domestic natural gas and leakages leading to explosions, wait until we switch to hydrogen . . . as the song declares, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

  13. 2hmp permalink
    March 23, 2023 4:06 pm

    We shall all have to vote Reform who I have been told will not enforce NetZero nor heat pumps.

  14. March 23, 2023 4:42 pm

    If you don’t install it, will the government shut off your gas line? Turn off your electricity? If you refuse to pay the bills/fines, will they arrest and jail you, especially if you have a united Association?

    How about if you privately install a large Nat Gas tank or diesel generator on your property? Will they confiscate them? Jail you?

    Enforcement will be a big public problem, but if the recent shift towards totalitarian actions by the UK police forces are an indication, the jackboots of the State, along with media support, will end such disobedience.

    • gezza1298 permalink
      March 23, 2023 6:14 pm

      Perhaps we will need to look to France as to how to deal with these people. I know it will be a challenge for many people, but the police have long since ceased to be on the side of the public.

  15. Simon Newington permalink
    March 23, 2023 5:33 pm

    Following this article I had written to my local MP ,yes I know, but made the point that theres quite a few, my estimate 2 million or so based on 1.3 million households ,active mainly Tory voters that this will really upset !!!

  16. John Brown permalink
    March 23, 2023 5:36 pm

    “We are usually told by the heat pump lobby that air source heat pumps operate at about 300% efficiency. Now the government admits it is much less, at 244%.”

    The MP, Chris Sidmore, who authored “Mission Zero” wrote that heat pumps have a 400% efficiency :

    p 241 :

    “For example, the energy output of a heat pump is four times greater than the electrical energy used to run it.”

  17. catweazle666 permalink
    March 23, 2023 5:56 pm

    “Government modelling suggests…”

    Courtesy of “Pantsdown” Ferguson and Imperial College, no doubt..

    • Vernon E permalink
      March 24, 2023 4:18 pm

      Cat: further on hydrogen. Since you have posted that you worked for W-D in the 1960s I assume you worked on ICI steam reformers. My recollection is that they were built in “trains” of 10 mmcfd each. So to produce three times the current volume of UK natural gas of around 7-8 bncfd would require over 2000 reformer trains. What kind of fantasy is that? My belief, often stated, is that we are too reliant on natural gas and should be changing to liquid fuels wherever feasible, esp for CCGT facilities. I notice that approval has been granted for a large new (2GW) gas fired CCGT insatallation in North Yorkshire and it will have battery back up. That’s got to be government interfence. Who in their right mind would try to back up 2GW with batteries?

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 24, 2023 8:04 pm

        From my experience of working around hydrogen I learned that it is horrible stuff with some highly unpleasant proclivities!
        Best avoided.

        “Who in their right mind would try to back up 2GW with batteries?”

        That’s an easy one, subsidy farmers!

  18. John Brown permalink
    March 23, 2023 6:08 pm

    My advice to anyone forced to give up their gas or oil boiler is to try out first a couple of infrared heaters before spending enormous sums on the installation of a heat pump. Do the necessary calculations, bearing in mind that as well as far cheaper installation costs, infrared heaters do not require any maintenance.

    • gezza1298 permalink
      March 23, 2023 6:21 pm

      Another option is diesel garage heaters, if you can locate one outside and blow the hot air in through a duct.

      • John Brown permalink
        March 23, 2023 10:26 pm

        I’m assuming that all fossil fuels will be unobtainable/unusable by law, probably even burning wood. It will be electricity or nothing. Or, possibly if you’re wealthy enough, you may be licenced to use green methane made from vegetation from your own land with your own anaerobic digester.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 23, 2023 11:10 pm

        There’s always vegetable oil, including used cooking oil.
        I used to get 5 gallon drums of the stuff from a local pub for taking it away.
        Give it a couple of weeks to settle and use the top 4 gallons, filter it and pour it in my aged Mercedes, ran better than diesel due to the higher CV and ran quieter due to stopping injector clatter, needed a bit of diesel to thin it out in winter to give the lift pump an easier life.
        A scrap dealer of my acquaintance bought some big transformers at scrap metal price and was gratified to discover that each one contained around 1,000 gallons of transformer oil that ran perfectly in his assorted vehicles, result!

      • gezza1298 permalink
        March 24, 2023 12:05 pm

        Interestingly it is illegal to use old engine oil – possibly thinned with a bit of diesel – in a garage heater. You are supposed to take it to a disposal site, where it is collected up and then burnt anyway. LOL I mix my old oil in with creosote for fencecoat, but I would have no problems burning it. And apparently you are also not allowed to use red diesel in a garage heater. Obvious question is how would anyone know. I did look into it but you can only get it in bulk other than from a petrol station just off the A23 which is a little bit far from me but I do pass it sometimes. I also happen to have some farming friends…

  19. GrumpyFeck permalink
    March 23, 2023 6:12 pm

    I live “off grid” in the sense that I have to choose between oil, wood or lpg as a fuel source. I have had a air source heat pump installed – with a notional capacity of 34Kw – for over 10 years. it has an oil (condensing ) boiler as back up as it cannot cope sometimes. The HP has an efficiency rating (COP) of close to 4 but, at most needed times – i.e. at 4:00 am in a morning at between -2 and plus 6 deg temperature – when the house heating and hot water demand kicks in – the efficiency drops to below 1 and it spends most of its time on “defrost” mode.
    It has the best of compressors available but it is still “fragile” technology as it is on the edge with its pressure / temperature working mechanisms and the fact it is really difficult to set up properly.
    It recently “blew up” – so much so that it tripped a main 63 amp breaker – so I have had it degassed – cost £500 plus – and thrown the rest of it in a skip.
    New oil boiler – very efficient – but more importantly, works all the time no matter what the outside temp and I get to negotiate a price for the oil.
    I was quoted £15k to £18K for a new heat pump but the oil boiler cost less than £5k and has a stainless steel he.
    Air source heat pumps in the UK only work efficiently in late spring, summer, etc and are not as good as wet solar – which, on a separate note, I have wet solar and pv solar which the pv supplies the wet solar pumps – super efficient in the summer for hot water, buffer tank, etc

  20. March 23, 2023 7:31 pm

    It might be time to consider replacing your existing fossil fuel boiler with another, new, fossil fuel fired boiler now or next two years while you can still buy one. Go for an efficient condensing boiler so as to have something new and dependable, with many years of life in it while this green energy nightmare blows over. Just a thought.

  21. Micky R permalink
    March 23, 2023 9:35 pm

    A small combined heat/power unit would do for me if I was off grid. Or perhaps a larger unit and sell some heat/power to neighbours.

  22. Gerald Ratzer permalink
    March 24, 2023 12:32 am

    I question some of the numbers for heat pumps, quoted above. I have recently bought one that is designed for a larger range of temperatures. It is called an Arctic model and will work down to -29C outside. I am in Montreal, Canada and we do have temperatures that low. Just check out to see the prices range from US$2,000 to $3,000 for Arctic units that will cover from 1,000 to 2,000 sq ft residential space.
    Installation is extra and depends on the specific residence, but typically will double the purchase price of the unit. These units have a coefficient of performance (COP), discussed above, in the 3 to 4 region for UK temperatures.
    Putting that another way – these units supply 300% to 400% amount of heat compared to resistant electrical heat (which is rated close to 100%). None of the other residential boilers or heating units can claim that.
    Heat pumps are not a solution for everyone – I have backup baseboard radiators and a wood stove as alternative heating sources, just in case. However, the cost and performance of these units have improved and are worth a second look.
    The 300% to 400% efficiency is pure magic – provided you have access to the outside air. An unbeatable way around the Laws of Thermodynamics!

    • March 24, 2023 12:17 pm

      That 2X purchase price for installation must cover the Magic Unicorns as well. NO ONE beats the laws of thermodynamics without them. The COP is a ratio of heat out to heat in, so 3 or 4 does sound like magic, but it does not include two things: The power to run the strip heat, which can be massive on cold days, or the power to run your back-up heat sources which will again, be high, on cold days.

      • ratzer27 permalink
        March 24, 2023 2:23 pm

        I agree the installation cost varies greatly. I know of three local installations of the mini-split outside unit on the ground and the inside unit on the corresponding wall inside. This configuration allows for a low-cost installation. There are many online videos of people installing the unit – DYI style. The 240-volt circuit should be professionally installed. Likewise, the last step of vacuuming and testing the system should be done professionally for the warranty to be valid.
        The Senville unit, like I have, does not have any resistive strip heating and can extract heat from the air when it is -20C outside. This is magic and does circumvent the Laws of Thermodynamics, which says heat travels from a hot source to a cold sink! Unicorns will be amazed.

      • March 24, 2023 6:52 pm

        Just keep telling yourself that. Someday, perhaps, you will believe it–I do not.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        March 25, 2023 7:28 pm

        I took a look at the specification for the ~4kW model, nominally 48,000Btu/hr. It gives heating output as ranging between 12,500Btu and 52,000Btu. 12,500Btu is 3.66kWh, which actually is a COP of <1 against quoted energy consumption of 3.91kW.

      • March 27, 2023 3:05 pm

        Here is a chart of COP versus outside temperature.
        This covers the UK temperature range well.

  23. It doesn't add up... permalink
    March 24, 2023 2:00 pm

    The price of oil has been falling. Boilerjuice shows it’s back below 70ppl for 1,000 litre drops. That’s 7p/kWh, somewhat less than current gas prices for domestic consumers. Back in 2020 it was below 25ppl (half of which was tax), and the cheapest way to heat other than if you had free wood. Not that the subsidy finally offered is that large at £200 for anyone caught paying over 110ppl ahead of the winter.

    The real killer remains electricity prices. Couple with much more frequent power cuts than most city folk endure. And of course no urban heat island, so typically lower outdoor temperatures increasing heating requirements.

    • March 25, 2023 10:37 pm

      In your first reply – you pick the worst possible case which would be at -30C – NOT a temperature the UK has recorded recently. In the range of average UK temperature, these Arctic heat pumps will indeed pump out about three times the heat based on the electrical power used. This does appear to be impossible according to the Laws of Thermodynamics – but heat can be extracted from -20C air. Here in Canada, the heat pump will stop at -30C, which might occur once or twice a year on the coldest nights. A good wood stove is very effective at these temperatures – especially in a rural setting where stoves are allowed.
      In London – “The lowest daily maximum temperature is −8.3 °C (17.1 °F) occurring on 3 occasions: 8 January 1841, 4 January 1867 and 12 January 1987.”

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        March 25, 2023 11:21 pm

        The company does not publish a performance curve, but your claim that it worked down to -29C while technically true masks the fact that its performance drops off markedly as temperatures fall. Your claim was exaggerated.

        As to UK minimum temperatures, minus 15C is quite common, and minus 20 or lower occurs often enough to want to be sure that you can heat adequately.

  24. Sapper2 permalink
    March 24, 2023 3:59 pm

    France is showing the way! Albeit it started over the issue of pension reform, but is now most positively over democracy. Forcing change does not augur well.

    • Vernon E permalink
      March 25, 2023 3:05 pm

      How right you are. Just look at the films. These people are not “pension age protesters” they are outright anarchists and its a vision of what’s not far ahead for us here.

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