UK households urgently need clarity on future home heating, survey reveals
Property owners and tenants in the UK are largely in the dark about the future options for heating their homes and many remain unconvinced about the Government’s focus in supporting them with the switch to more sustainable heat sources, according to a new survey by Wolseley, one of the country’s largest specialist providers of heating and cooling systems.
The poll indicated an alarmingly low level of awareness of alternatives to gas and oil-fired boilers, and demonstrated a broad need for improved public clarity and understanding as the Government moves ahead with revised energy transition policies following its announcement on 20th September.
Responses from 1,000 homeowners and tenants across the UK found that:
- 61% of respondents remain unconvinced about the Government's efforts to decarbonise home heating, with only 6.3% totally convinced
- Only 28% had heard of a heat pump - the primary alternative to gas boilers that the Government has been promoting
- 29% believe that the cost of a heat pump remains inaccessible despite the Boiler Upgrade Scheme grant
Of the people surveyed, 54% were renters and 42% owned their home. The survey found a crucial knowledge gap among households, suggesting that the Government needs to provide greater clarity and information:
- Those questioned were mostly aware of gas and electric boilers, but only 16% were aware of alternative heating systems like biomass, hydrogen/hybrid and LPG boilers
- Most respondents (52%) didn't have a real understanding of the drawbacks or benefits of heat pumps as a home heating system, with only 12% claiming to have a clear understanding of both
- Of the 28% of respondents aware of heat pumps, a third were unable to identify a single benefit of the system
- 13% of respondents indicated that they did not know what their own home heating system was
These findings follow the Government’s announcement, which saw the delay to a number of key net zero commitments. The Government plans to extend the ban on diesel and petrol cars, as well as the ban on the sale of new gas boilers, to 2035. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme grant is also due to rise from £5,000 to £7,500.
“Homeowners are still waiting for the Government to clarify how the energy transition will be accomplished. We need more information on the options, an acknowledgement that no single technology will be the solution, better listening to homeowners and installers, and clear alignment of public funds and policy in the areas where it is needed most. Following the recent announcement by the Prime Minister there is even more of a policy vacuum to support reduction of carbon in the home. Policy will need to address the very significant up-front costs to homeowners, and ideally acknowledge a role for hybrid heat pump systems that can offer carbon reductions at a lower cost to the homeowner in many cases” said Simon Oakland, CEO, Wolseley Group.
Wolseley is a leading specialist provider of renewables, plumbing, heating, cooling, and utility products to trade customers. Trading under a number of leading brands including Wolseley Plumb & Parts, Wolseley Pipe Centre, Wolseley Climate Centre, William Wilson, Jointing Tech, Burdens, and Fusion Utilities. Wolseley has nearly 700 branches across the UK and Ireland, three centres of excellence in the utilities sector, support centres in Warwick and Ripon, and four distribution centres.
In each of the sectors it supplies, Wolseley acts as a trusted partner, providing a range of enhanced services and expertise to help customers to win more work, trade more efficiently and be more profitable as the UK transitions to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. Customers benefit from the skills, knowledge, and expertise of Wolseley’s people, the range of complementary products and service offerings, its scale, its bespoke logistics network, and a market-leading suite of digital services.
About the survey
The survey was conducted amongst a representative nationwide sample of 1,000 UK householders during September 2023. Wolseley Group acknowledges that other surveys at other times may yield different results.