The annoyance of noisy heat pumps at 2am | Letters

Jillian Ambrose’s interesting articles on heat pump myths (Do heat pumps work at freezing temperatures? 22 May) have not yet mentioned the noise that a single heat pump can generate, and the implication once large swathes of communities start using them.

We stayed at a new-build property in Suffolk last summer, where all eight or so properties had heat pumps. We had to shut the windows in hot conditions as heat pumps went on and off all night, each with its own start-up and switch-off frequency and whine. If you sat in the garden in the evening, it was an annoying, continual source of noise.

I have read that some local authorities now demand noise assessments before agreeing to an installation. The noise of a pump can be up to 65 decibels – like having someone hold a conversation in your garden. Not so bad at 11am, but irritating at 2am. Imagine thousands of them in your town – all stopping and starting all the time. You need to factor in the cost of noise reduction using some form of acoustic barrier in your price calculations and lists of pros and cons.
Martyn Taylor
Reading, Berkshire

In January, I explored the possibility of installing a heat pump via British Gas. I live in a 1930s semi with solid walls. My home is on an estate of hundreds of such houses. To even make my home heat-pump-ready, I would need to install internal or external wall insulation and underfloor insulation, and increase the level of insulation in my loft. I would also have to find room for a water cylinder and have all the piping and radiators replaced. The cost would be about £30,000, only some of which will be eligible for grants.

I already have a gas boiler that could apparently run on hydrogen without all these major changes and disruption to my home.

The installation of heat pumps will often require the wasteful removal of functioning gas boilers, piping and radiators. Surely a sensible and less wasteful way forward is to ensure all new homes are built to high insulation standards with heat pumps, while older properties are offered a transition to hydrogen central heating systems?

As always, there appears to be no clear evidence of a central government strategy.
John Lovelock


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