What is the difference between a boiler and a heat pump?

Posted January 27, 2022 by Jon Matthews

You’ve probably heard of the debate between boilers and heat pumps, with boilers being the established heating systems across the UK, and heating pumps coming in as the new technology on the block. Here’s a look at the differences between boilers and heat pumps.

How does your boiler stack up against a heat pump?

Heat pumps

The main heat pump benefit is their role as a renewable energy source, with a better carbon footprint.
Heat pumps also have a COP score of up to 3, meaning that every unit of energy you put into running one may return as much as three times that amount of energy as heat.

You can also have heat pump installation subsidised, thanks to the UK government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme, which offers each household up to £5,000 for eco-friendly heating installation.


  • Heat pumps draw heat from the environment, so they are most efficient in summer and least efficient in winter.
  • Heat pumps don’t do too well in poorly insulated, older homes — which includes many of the UK’s residences.
  • Heat pumps are larger and louder than boilers.
  • A broad range of individuals find that heat pumps don’t heat their homes adequately, and there are few heat pump engineers out there to do repairs.



  • Boilers are trustworthy, and will provide consistent heating all year round, no matter what the weather outside is like.
  • Boiler repairs are also much easier to undertake, as huge numbers of engineers are qualified to handle boiler repair and boiler service work.
  • For draughty older homes, gas boilers can be more effective at keeping things warm.
  • Finally, boilers are smaller and quieter than heat pumps.

Gas boilers may be less sustainable as time goes on, in light of UK government carbon targets and plans.

If you are currently comparing heat pumps and gas boilers it is worth noting the following facts:

  • Boilers are significantly less energy-efficient than heat pumps, in cases where heat pumps are performing at their best.
  • Air Source heat pumps (ASP) cost more than double that of a gas boiler to run as demonstrated by Oftec.
  • Boiler manufacturers have created boilers that have the potential to work using future fuels. For example, the current range of highly efficient gas boilers, by Worcester Bosch’s already have the potential to run on a 20% hydrogen blend.

It is possible that a combination of heat pumps and boilers may be the best solution in the future.

If you are looking to replace your boiler, the highly skilled and knowledgeable engineers at Aquila Plumbing are always happy to help.