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Heat pump retrofit grant

  • 18-03-2019 11:57am
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 844 H.E. Pennypacker


    Has anyone made any progress with the SEAI heat pump retrofit grant? I’ve found a marked reluctance on the part of quite a few heat pump installers to have anything to either a retrofit scenario or to get involved in the grant process. Going by the lack of industry enthusiasm that I’ve run in to so far, the grant at its current value is going to do little or nothing to incentivise a move from fossil fuels.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,746 ✭✭✭✭ Muahahaha


    Have you tried the companies that are registered with them and listed on the SEAI site?

    Also AFAIK the grant for heat pumps is contingent on your house achieving a specific rate of heat loss. With older houses a heat pump could be very expensive to run if the house is losing lots of heat, hence SEAI might not approve the grant unless you are committing to also insulating the walls and attic at the same time.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 844 H.E. Pennypacker


    Muahahaha wrote: »
    Have you tried the companies that are registered with them and listed on the SEAI site?

    Also AFAIK the grant for heat pumps is contingent on your house achieving a specific rate of heat loss. With older houses a heat pump could be very expensive to run if the house is losing lots of heat, hence SEAI might not approve the grant unless you are committing to also insulating the walls and attic at the same time.


    I've an SEAI technical adviser lined up and the house qualifies for the grant in terms of BER, HLI and age so no issues there.


    I contacted three companies from the SEAI list. There's a distinct lack of enthusiasm for retrofit work - one company on the list told me that they don't do that kind of work (don't know what they're doing on the list...). I've spoken to a couple of other companies in the process of getting SEAI approval who feel that the SEAI requirements are onerous and lead to an 'overkill' approach with, for example, refrigeration companies having to recruit FETAC Level 6 plumbers. Another company told me that even if the existing radiators worked with a heat pump, they'd only proceed if they could replace all radiators as it'd deliver a guaranteed output for the system. All well and good but that'd cost an extra €7k. In my case, the existing steel radiators are well oversized and the oil fired boiler heats the house well and keeps it comfortable with a flow temp of 40C but I'd have to change them all just to tick a box. Two companies suggested bypassing the grant scheme as a means of saving money and overengineering a solution. That said, I can understand why the SEAI is being cautious given the issues in the UK with poorly run pilot retrofit heat pump projects.



    Overall, I think that the fundamental problem is that the grant is nowhere near sufficient to incentivise a retrofit and that this is going to impact on the success of the scheme. I'd be very interested to know what the takeup rate for the grant is.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,746 ✭✭✭✭ Muahahaha


    Its a bit of a strange system alright. On one hand the SEAI regulations give the customer a level of comfort that the job is done to an agreed spec. On the other you've got SEAI registered companies shying away from the work.

    I don't know why that is. Can I ask are you only looking to get a heat pump installed or are there other works to be done too? Just speculation but perhaps these companies are seeing your job as too small. Reason I say that is last month I spoke with a guy who used to sell heat pumps and is currently getting out of the business, the reason being is he just could not get installers to do the work when he sold a heat pump. He told me there is a severe lack of qualified installers and what are available are working in the commercial sector.

    What does your technical assessor say? Surely he might have some contacts who could do the job?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 844 H.E. Pennypacker


    Muahahaha wrote: »
    Its a bit of a strange system alright. On one hand the SEAI regulations give the customer a level of comfort that the job is done to an agreed spec. On the other you've got SEAI registered companies shying away from the work.

    I don't know why that is. Can I ask are you only looking to get a heat pump installed or are there other works to be done too? Just speculation but perhaps these companies are seeing your job as too small. Reason I say that is last month I spoke with a guy who used to sell heat pumps and is currently getting out of the business, the reason being is he just could not get installers to do the work when he sold a heat pump. He told me there is a severe lack of qualified installers and what are available are working in the commercial sector.

    What does your technical assessor say? Surely he might have some contacts who could do the job?

    I think that the SEAI requirements are right and proper. They even show some flexibility on the HLI limit which is officially 2 but they'll allow up to 2.3 for houses that are there or thereabouts and which would require disruptive work (such as floor insulation) to improve the HLI further.

    I have a certain amount of sympathy for the heat pump contractors who want to do the job once rather than having to keep returning to tweak things but I would worry that it runs the risk of people playing safe and maybe overspecifying systems.

    The job here is probably on the small side. The heating was upgraded in 2012 with full zoning, TRVs etc so it doesn't need structural improvements. Its not far off plug and play.

    My technical adviser recommended one installer (on foot of a recommendation from the Daikin agents). They've quoted but they're not really interested and took a lot of chasing to do anything at all. I wouldn't be confident of their after sales service given my experience of their sales effort. They're also quite expensive.

    My guess is that there's not enough in it for the heat pump installers. They pass the extra on to the client and we end up with a quote for €18k to replace an oil fired boiler with an 11kw air to water heat pump with the rads being replaced just to be on the safe side. If that's going to be the approach then the scheme doesn't have a future. Maybe as time goes on and everyone builds experience things will settle and installers will grow in confidence. Maybe there's potential for the SEAI technical adviser to assume full responsibility for specifying the system so that the heat pump installer doesn't have to play too safe. Maybe there's scope for including high temperature heat pumps in the scheme (according to my €18k quote, they're excluded). There's huge potential to move people away from fossil fuels but the payback needs to be less than 10 years. The quote that I got has between a 36 to 45 year payback depending on how optimistic I am about savings.


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