Great Britain

Britons face £2,500 bill to replace unsuitable heating pipes after 'major complications'

Boris Johnson outlines plans to hit net zero

The Heating and Hot Water Industry Council (HHIC) has this week warned Government advisors that there is a potential £12.5billion risk to consumers when it comes to heating their homes in future. They have claimed that five million homeowners will need to fund urgent system upgrades, costing an estimated £2,500 per household, to prepare for installing a heat pump. The Heating Up to Net Zero white paper has been penned to inform future policy about how these costs can be avoided.

The issue is said to be that many houses built since the Seventies were fitted with microbore central heating pipework.

This means the diameter of the pipes is less than 15mm, typically eight or 10mm, while technologies such as heat pumps require a diameter of at least 22mm.

Microbore became highly popular in the new-build market for central heating installations as it was cost-effective and easier to install due to its smaller size.

But because the pipework is largely hidden from view under the floorboards, a replacement can reportedly be expensive and highly disruptive.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson announced plans to install 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028 to British households (Image: GETTY)

Fixing boiler

five million homeowners will need to fund urgent system upgrades at an estimated £2,500 per house (Image: Getty)

Any homes with microbore pipework looking to install a heat pump, which the Government are currently intending to roll out, could result in huge costs and major disruption to installing additional equipment.

All pipework throughout the properties might also need replacing.

In 2020, Boris Johnson announced plans to install 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028 to British households.

It was included in his Ten Point Plan to inspire a "green industrial revolution" and reach the 2050 net zero target.

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Emissions

The rollout of heat pumps is part of the strategy to make heating homes greener (Image: Getty)

The rollout of heat pumps is part of the strategy to make heating homes, schools and hospitals greener, and more energy-efficient.

But industry experts estimate the costs of removing microbore pipework, needed to install a heat pump, to be an average of £2,500 for a standard household.

Stewart Clements, Director of The Heating and Hot Water Industry Council said: “The purpose of this whitepaper is to inform and educate government on a practical way forward in the journey to net zero.

“The reality with the mass rollout of heat pumps, then millions of homeowners could experience major complications.

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Heated homes

Houses built since the Seventies were fitted with microbore central heating (Image: Shutterstock)

Heat pump

Domestic heat pump (Image: PA)

“The UK has one of the most diverse building stocks in the world, attempting a one-size-fits-all solution is unrealistic.

“The different heating systems that circulate heat and hot water in our homes are not adequately covered by strategy and policy work. This white paper aims to pragmatically change that.”

The white paper puts forward a number of alternatives to Mr Johnson’s heat pump strategy.

These include things like introducing low-carbon hydronic heating and hot water solutions into existing systems, upskilling and training and providing more consumer information.

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