Gas boilers are for all age groups it seems

27th Feb 2023


I’m not going to hold back this week. So if you are of a sensitive nature, turn away now.

Some months ago, a leading supporter of ‘heat pumps for all’ explained, with deep regret, that although they had made their home “heat pump ready” they had a small child, so were going to stick with a gas boiler. Last week, a leading green NGO leader bemoaned that their home was also ready for a heat pump, but because it would take six weeks to get a heat pump fitted (and it was cold) they were going to replace their gas boiler as this could be done the next day. Last weekend, another heat pump enthusiast, who supports heat pumps for all; gas boiler bans and no hydrogen for heating, found that their elderly and frail father-in-law had an old boiler that had recently packed up. Once again, replacing the gas boiler became the outcome – justifying the purchase on the basis that a new condensing boiler would save carbon as well as money.

Now while I have utmost sympathy for the innocent individuals I have nothing but contempt for the heat pump advocates concerned. They sit in positions of influence, calling for heat pumps for homes across the UK, but when they or their family are inconvenienced, their principles simply vanish. Obviously, they are above any universal public policy. Banning gas boilers is for ordinary people, not for the likes of them.

But their sheer hypocrisy does raise an important public policy consideration. Up to now, heat pump advocates have always called for a heat pump to be installed at the point a boiler ceases to work, a distress purchase. But is this sensible, especially in the light of what I have just described?

In the middle of winter, five days without heat and hot water while a heat pump is installed is not practical. Waiting six weeks for this process to start, compared to a boiler being replaced the next day, all with a broken boiler on the wall – well that’s ridiculous.

So is the solution a planned approach to boiler replacement by a heat pump? If so, it means perfectly viable boilers being ripped off walls and prematurely scrapped. Hardly good news either. The public, us lesser mortals, need to know which it is.