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Why do heat pumps have a higher EPC rating than gas boilers?

When it comes to heat pumps, one of the most common questions asked is in relation to the EPC rating that they have, because many are confused because their neighbours, who have traditional gas boilers, have better EPC ratings than them. This is a good question and one that needs some explaining, so this page will focus on that specific problem and why this is the case.

Before we go on, we should look at what EPC ratings are, so that we can fully understand what we are analysing. An EPC rating basically records how energy efficient a property is and is based on the amount of money that it takes to heat a home per year. The less money it takes, the better the rating is, with the best possible rating being an A rating and the least efficient properties receiving a rating of G. The fact that this part of the EPC rating is based purely on cost, and not on the environmental impact of the home, explains why a home with a gas boiler will have a better rating than one with a heat pump, as we shall see in the next paragraph…

It is not in doubt that a heat pump is about 3 times more efficient than a gas boiler in terms of the amount of energy that it produces, therefore meaning that it is much more environmentally friendly. The problem is this though: heat pumps run on electricity, while gas boilers obviously run on gas. Gas is cheap when compared to electricity – the price of a unit of gas is about four times cheaper than a unit of electricity – so therefore, as the EPC rating is calculated on the cost to heat the home, those using a heat pump will find their EPC rating to be higher than those using a regular gas boiler.

It must be remembered that, even if you have a heat pump installed, there are ways that you can bring down your EPC rating if you so desire. These methods include using low energy light bulbs around the home, increasing the amount of insulation that you have in your loft or making sure that your cavity walls are properly filled.

Author: Adrienne Harries

This article was published by Adrienne Harries on 04.04.2016.