Heat pumps are practical and necessary | Letters

Readers respond to letters from readers who were sceptical about the practicality of replacing gas boilers with heat pumps

Your correspondents are too gloomy about heat pumps for houses and flats (Letters, 20 October). Heat pumps may be unusual in Britain, but they are a major industry and very widespread in Europe and elsewhere. They are used in Canada, where outside temperatures drop very low. Individual units may not be suitable for high-rise blocks – although they might be installed on balconies. But high-rise buildings make up a small fraction of the housing stock, and blocks can have communal heating and cooling with large centralised heat pumps.

Older heat pumps were noisy, but new makes are on the market that are much quieter. It is not true, except in the worst cases, that installing heat pumps requires dwellings to be insulated first. The great majority of houses and flats in the UK are already reasonably insulated, and heat pumps can be run for longer and at lower temperatures than gas boilers. Better insulation of existing gas-heated houses and flats will by itself only produce modest cuts in carbon emissions. To meet climate goals, we have to stop using gas.

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