Spean Bridge Air Source Heat Pump

What technology have you installed?

Air source heat pump, an 8 kW Mitsubishi Ecodan .

We also installed a new wood burning stove at the same time, a Woodwarm Phoenix Firebug Convector 8 kW.

Where do you live and what kind of house is it?

8 miles outside Fort William, along a single track road in a remote rural location. The bungalow was built in the early 1990s.

What system was replaced?

We replaced our biomass boiler as it was becoming difficult/expensive to source parts and to find people who could/would service domestic biomass boilers in our area. The radiators and pipework needed to be replaced for the new air source heat pump system as the water is supplied at a lower temperature by the new system.

When was it installed?

November 2019.

Installation cost?

Mitsubishi Ecodan 8kW – £3,570

200L hot water cylinder – £1,025

Installation (retrofit) – £3,650

New radiator system – £3,360

Design, Commissioning and MCS Certification – £695

Travel and accommodation – £1,470

Plus extra parts etc…

TOTAL = £15,263

Did any grants/support help with the cost?

Home Energy Scotland Loan from Energy Saving Trust – £10,000 interest free loan

Renewable Heat Incentive, which pays a small amount per quarter over 7 years and is meant to cover the increased cost of the renewable system.

What difficulties did you encounter getting the installation carried out?

No difficulties. We used Black Isle Renewables and they were excellent.

The old plumbing needed replacing as it was small pipework which wouldn’t work well with the low temperature water from a heat pump.

How long did it take?

Four months in total.

Initial quote August 2019.

Initial survey September 2019.

Revised quote October 2019.

Installation November 2019.

It took five days for the installation, which included replacing all radiators (six in total) and new plumbing throughout the entire house.

Has it been effective?

The house has never been warmer or more comfortable. Air source heat pumps work best if you leave the house at a constant temperature, which is something we have never done before. We are really appreciating the warmth and it seems to be benefiting the house as well. Our electricity consumption has gone up, as expected. However, we are no longer spending money on wood pellets to heat the house and our hot water. It is still a little early to compare costs as we pay our electricity bill quarterly and our Renewable Heat Incentive payments have just started. Happy to provide an update on costs once we have a few more seasons of experience with the new system.

Would you recommend the system?

Yes, we are very pleased with the new system and would highly recommend it.

Is there anything else worth noting about the system or your experience?

We have quite a lot of space for the system up in the loft, which made the installation more straightforward. I think if the engineer had been required to work in a more restricted/confined space it would have been more difficult and would have required more planning/consideration.

LEG Comments

Older systems can get more difficult to repair, and automatic pellet stoves have a difficult fuel to work with so they will eventually need replacing. New pipework and radiators are often required as heat pumps deliver lower temperature water than a fuel burning boiler.

It’s great to see another heat pump in Lochaber!

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