FREE Air Source Heat Pump – North Yorks Warm Homes Fund

Scarborough Borough Council is currently working with North Yorkshire County Council and Communitas Energy to help eligible residents access funding to install Air Source Heat Pumps into their homes.  

Funding was secured through National Grid’s Warm Homes Fund programme with support from Ryedale District Council, Richmondshire District Council and Hambleton District Council to install 200 Air Source Heat Pumps into people’s homes.

If you live away from the gas network and currently heat your home using night storage heaters, room heaters or solid fuel heating, you may be eligible for a new, fully funded renewable heating system, to be installed free of charge into your home.  This will reduce your energy bills and transform your home heating.

What is an Air Source Heat Pump?

An air source heat pump (ASHP) extracts energy from the outside air, even at the coldest time of the year, to provide heat inside the home and is classed as a renewable system.  The system comprises of a heat pump, which is an external unit, usually located to the rear or side of the property. This takes energy held within the outside air which is run through a compression circuit before releasing this as heat into the home via new radiators and a hot water system.

This is classed as a renewable system and typically provides more than three times the heat for each unit of electricity used to power it and is eligible for the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (dRHI).

The funding

There are two main elements of funding for this project; Warm Homes Funding (WHF), secured by NYCC; and Communitas Energy investment which is in turn recovered through the Government’s Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme (dRHI) generated from the unit over a 7 year period. Together, these funding packages will enable the project to offer fully funded ASHP installations to eligible, privately owned, off-gas properties.

We have funding for approximately 50 units to be installed within the borough of Scarborough. This fund works on a first come first served basis.

Private and Social landlords can also benefit from the scheme and will be required to make a nominal contribution per property.

Is my property suitable?

The scheme is targeting properties that do not have an existing gas, oil or LPG central heating system and are located away from the gas network.

Properties must be insulated through loft and cavity wall insulation. Other funding provisions are available to assist homes owners with this and advice will be given at the time. A full assessment of the property will be carried out.

Do you qualify?

The scheme is aimed at providing affordable warmth for households and the following application criteria applies:

If you are a homeowner or tenant, then you could qualify if:


  1. Your home falls within one of the designated catchment areas; or


  1. All the residents in the household have a combined income of £21,000 or less and:
  • the property is in EPC band D, E, F or G and is off the mains gas network


  1. A household member receives certain state benefits:
  • Pension Guarantee Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income Related Employment & Support Allowance
  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carer's Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • War Pensions Mobility Supplement
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Child Benefit (income thresholds apply)


What are Heat Pumps and how do they work?

There are two main kinds of heat pumps, Ground Source and Air Source. Both are classed as renewable heating, as they extract heat from natural sources. With Ground Source they take heat out of the ground, and with Air Source, they absorb heat from the outside air. The system you will be receiving is an Air Source Heat Pump, which works a little like a fridge in reverse. So rather than your fridge working to extract all the heat from inside the fridge to keep it cool, the heat pump extracts the heat from the outside air, and converts it into useable heat inside your home.

What will I see fitted to my home, inside and out?

On the outside of your home, probably at the side or back of your house, you will have what is called an outdoor unit, which is the heat pump itself, and looks a bit like the air conditioning systems you see on buildings, but this is doing the opposite, i.e. providing heat not cold air.

Inside your home, you will have a new hot water cylinder, and new pipework and radiators. You will also have an easy to use heating control.

Will the new system heat my hot water too?

Yes, this is what the hot water cylinder is for, so water is heated and stored in a cylinder for when you need it. The cylinder is insulated so once heated the water will stay hot for several hours, so you will always have hot water for washing dishes and running a bath.

Will I save money on my energy bills?

You should do, yes. If you have existing electric storage heaters, or coal fire systems – these are both expensive to run, so you should see savings. Some residents however that don’t use their current heating at all, and have very low energy bills at the moment, may not see any savings.

We can have a look at your existing heat bills and give you a better idea on what you will save before the work starts.

The reason why these systems generally save money on energy bills is that they are very efficient. If you take electric storage heaters, for every £1 of electricity you buy to run them, you only get about 80% of that £1 as heat as storage heaters are around 80% efficient. Gas boilers run at about 90%, but Heat Pumps are between 300%-400% efficient, so for every £1 of electricity you buy, you can get £3- £4 worth of heat out of them.

Are air source heat pumps noisy?

There will be some noise from the outdoor unit – at a similar level to what you might hear from an extractor fan – but this is minimised by the use of rubber dampers where the unit is mounted. The sound won’t be constant, as the pump only runs when extra heat or hot water is needed.

A slight gurgling might be heard from the indoor cylinder, especially as the system settles in when first installed. This will most likely be bubbles of air circulating around the system, and it will eventually be released through automatic air vents.

What will the work involve?

The work will firstly involve removing your old heating system, so taking out old electric storage heaters, or old coal fires if you have them.

The installer will then start to fit new pipework and radiators in each of your rooms, they may need to be in your loft to fit some pipework.

A new hot water cylinder will be fitted, and the heat pump (outdoor unit) fitted outside.

How long will the work take?

Most installations should completed within 2 days. The majority of the messy work will take place on Day 1, so taking out the old system, and starting to fit most of the new pipework. Day 2 will be less messy as they connect everything up, and box in any pipework. Sometimes they may need to come back on Day 3 to finish off small jobs and check everything is working properly, but most of the work is done over 2 days.

Will I be left without heating?

No, there will be a short time during the day when the old system is removed and the new one is being fitted, and if it’s during the winter months, then the installer will provide temporary heaters for you for these few hours. At the end of Day 1, you will either have your new heating operating, or you will be left with temporary heaters overnight. If the new cylinder is not connected up, for hot water you will be able to boil a kettle for dishes and washing, and if you have an electric shower this will still work as normal.

Will I need to move carpets and furniture?

Before the work starts a surveyor will come and look around your home, measure up and advise you where the heat pump will go outside, and where the pipe runs and radiators will go. At this point they will explain what areas of each room they need to work in, and will advise you to remove any personal items or breakables from cupboards or cabinets as well as making sure the loft is reasonably clear. It is your responsibility to do this, to ensure nothing gets broken or damaged during the work.

However, you will not have to move heavy furniture, the installers will do this where access is needed, and will put them back afterwards. The installer will also carefully lift any carpets if they need to get access under the floor, and these will be put back again afterwards.

Will the installers look after my home and tidy up after themselves?

Yes they are very experienced working in residents homes, and will lay plastic sheeting over all your carpets, and have dust sheets to cover your furniture and belongings. They will work hard to keep dust and disruption to a minimum for you. At the end of the day all rubbish and tools will be removed.

Is the new heating system easy to use and control?

Yes it is, we will set up the system to suit your needs, but generally heat pumps work best if they are left on at a low but comfortable setting all day. The system will boost up in the morning so your home is nice and warm for you getting up, and boost up again in the evening. If you want it warmer during the day you can boost it up yourself on the control.

You will not run out of heat like with storage heaters, and you won’t be on day/night tariffs, so you can use heating whenever you need it.

Where will the new radiators be fitted?

Wherever possible, the new radiators will replace your old storage heaters in the same position. However, as new pipework will need to reach them, there will be times when a new position is recommended. The installer will discuss this with you, and consider any suggestions you might have for more convenient positions – for example, underneath windows so your walls are freed up for larger items of furniture.

Will I need to change energy supplier?

No, you can keep with your existing supplier; but if you are on an Economy 7 tariff, with Day and Night tariff rates, you will need to change this to a standard tariff, which your energy company will do for you.

If you do want to change energy supplier, this may be a good time to do it, and our Choices4Energy officer can help you see which energy companies offer the best rates, and help you apply either through our local Community Switch scheme or direct to the supplier.

What happens if anything goes wrong?

If anything goes wrong with your heating, or if it stops working, just contact the installer or Communitas Energy who are managing the project. They will ensure that any repairs are carried out quickly.

Where is the funding coming from for this work?

There are two main elements of funding for this project; Warm Homes Funding (WHF), secured by NYCC; and Communitas Energy investment which is in turn recovered through the Government’s Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme (dRHI) generated from the unit over a 7 year period. Together, these funding packages will enable the project to offer fully funded ASHP installations to eligible, privately owned, off-gas properties.

Private and Social landlords can also benefit from the scheme and will be required to make a nominal contribution per property.

How to apply

Apply online >