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24 April 2024

Everything you need to know about air source heat pumps in Scotland

Home in Scottish highlands surrounded by mountains
How much can you save?

By 2045, the government wants all homes in Scotland to have switched to zero-emissions heating systems. As part of this effort, the phase-out of fossil fuel boilers is set to begin in 2028. As a result, more people are considering switching to eco-friendly alternatives, like air source heat pumps 

According to data collected by MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme), Scotland officially surpassed 200,000 small-scale renewable technology installations since records began in 2008. The latest figures show that over 35,000 of these installations were heat pumps and 5,000 were fitted in 2023 alone. 

To align with their climate goals and accelerate uptake, the Scottish government are also providing various incentives for people to switch, including up to £15,000 in funding through the Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan. 

Why does the Scottish government want you to get a heat pump? 

The Scottish government is pushing for more people to switch to heat pumps as part of their efforts to tackle climate change and cut down on the country’s carbon emissions.  

Heat pumps, like the Aira Heat Pump, are 4X more efficient compared to gas or oil boilers and reduce home heating emissions to zero when using green electricity. By providing incentives for heat pump installations, the government are hoping to speed up the shift to cleaner energy and reach their climate goals. This goal also aligns with Scotland's Renewable Energy Action Plan, which aims to create a greener, more sustainable future.  

Do heat pumps work in Scotland? 

Yes, heat pumps work in Scotland. Even on the coldest day of the year. How are we so sure? Because heat pumps work in the coldest corner of Scandinavia, where temperatures regularly drop well below freezing.  

Air-to-water heat pumps still work efficiently in temperatures as low as -10C, and some even boast an efficiency rate of over 200% at -20C, according to research from Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute. When you compare this figure to boilers, which struggle to reach 90% efficiency in moderate weather, it’s clear to see that heat pumps work in cold weather.  

And, with the Aira Comfort Guarantee, we promise that your Aira Heat Pump will provide a cosy temperature between 18˚C-22˚C, even on the coldest day of the year (depending on the room and based on expected minimum temperatures) for the next 15 years. If not, we’ll come out to fix it at no extra cost. 

How much does an air source heat pump cost in Scotland 

The cost of an air source heat pump in Scotland depends on a variety of factors. Here's a breakdown to help you understand both the running and installation costs of a heat pump. 

Running costs 

Air source heat pumps are renowned for their efficiency. They are 4X more efficient than a gas or oil boiler. While the exact running costs depend on factors like the size of your home, insulation quality, and the heat pump's efficiency, air source heat pumps provide up to 25% savings on your energy bills compared to traditional heating systems.  

Installation costs 

The costs of installing an air source heat pump in Scotland vary based on various factors like the type and size of the system, your property’s existing heating setup and any additional components needed for installation (like new radiators).  

The full installation cost of an Aira Heat Pump system, including the outdoor unit, indoor unit and buffer tank, can cost around £12,000*. However, keep in mind that this initial investment is offset by the energy savings the heat pump provides over a period of time. Also, the Scottish government provides a host of generous incentives of up to £15,000 to significantly lower the upfront costs, making a heat pump more affordable and accessible.  

Air source heat pump grants Scotland  

The Scottish government wants people to switch their gas or oil boilers with clean energy-tech like heat pumps. Through the Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan and the Warmer Homes Scotland programme, people can access thousands of pounds worth of funding to reduce the cost of installing a heat pump.  

Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan 

The Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan (HES) scheme is aimed at helping people wanting to reduce their energy costs by improving their property’s energy efficiency. There are different amounts of funding available for various home efficiency improvements like insulation, solar panels and heat pump installation.  

For the latter, individuals can apply for up to £15,000 in funding, of which £7,500 is a grant and £7,500 is an interest-free loan. For those who live in rural Scotland and are eligible for the rural uplift, there’s an extra £1,500 available as a grant. That means eligible households can apply for up to £16,500 in funding (£9,000 grant and £7,500 interest-free loan).  

For example, if the cost of your entire heat pump system is £12,000, if you qualify for the rural uplift with the Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan, you could receive £9,000 in funding as a grant. You could then pay the remaining £3,000 over 5 years in interest-free payments. Considering a new gas boiler costs between £2,000 and £4,000, on average, installing a heat pump in Scotland really is a no-brainer.  

Warmer Homes Scotland programme  

Warmer Homes Scotland is designed to help people in Scotland who are struggling to stay warm and keep on top of energy bills make their homes warmer and more comfortable by installing a range of energy-saving improvements. 

The improvements offered will depend on an assessment of the home conducted by Warmworks, who will assess your home and will recommend suitable improvements, which could include insulation and heating.

Potential improvements include:  

  • Wall insulation 
  • Loft insulation 
  • Draught-proofing 
  • Central heating (including air source heat pumps) 
  • Renewables 

For households who meet the eligibility criteria, this programme can cover all the costs of installing an air source heat pump. 

Heat pump installation in Scotland 

Whether you live in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling or somewhere remote, Aira installs air source heat pumps at multiple locations in Scotland.  

Our hassle-free switch begins with a free home energy assessment, where an Aira Clean Energy Expert will visit your home to assess your energy needs and provide you with a price-locked quote you can use in your funding application with Home Energy Scotland. While we can’t complete the application for you, we can help guide you through the process. 

Once you receive a funding offer, we will aim to install your brand-new heat pump in less than 30 days. All our installers are MCS-certified and we’re also a member of the Trading Standards Institute accredited consumer code.  

Our seamless installation takes just a few days. And don’t worry about the disposal of your old boiler. We’ll safely disconnect and remove it for you and recycle all the parts we can.  

Once your heat pump is set up and your hot water and heating are working perfectly, we’ll show you how everything works before we leave.  

Air source heat pump planning permission Scotland 

In Scotland, planning permission requirements for air source heat pumps vary depending on factors such as the type of property, its location and any existing planning regulations. 

Generally, most domestic installations of air source heat pumps do not require planning permission, especially if the system is being installed on an existing property. In most cases, the installation is covered by permitted development rights, which allow for the installation, alteration or replacement of a heat pump within the curtilage of a home.  

For properties located in conservation areas or designated as listed buildings, there may be additional considerations or restrictions regarding the installation of air source heat pumps. We are familiar with the local regulations and will provide support with any planning permission applications you may require.  

Are heat pumps worth it in Scotland? 

Considering the energy-bill-busting power of heat pumps and the generous government incentives available, installing a heat pump in Scotland is very much worth it. There are, however, some factors to consider:  


  • Energy efficiency: Heat pumps are 4X more efficient than a gas or oil boiler. This means they can reduce your heating costs by up to 25%.  
  • Never pay a gas bill again: Air source heat pumps use thermal energy from the free fresh air and a little bit of electricity to heat your home and hot water. This means you can wave goodbye to gas forever and even reduce your heating CO₂ emissions by 100% if you use green electricity. 
  • Longevity: Heat pumps typically last around 20 years, which is far longer than a traditional boiler. And, with the Aira Comfort Guarantee, any parts and labour required to ensure the function of your Aira Heat Pump and installation are on us for 15 years. And, if you want to extend your warranty after 15 years, you can.  
  • Government incentives: With up to £15,000 in funding available through Home Energy Scotland, switching to a heat pump costs about the same as a gas boiler. There’s also an additional £6,000 in funding available to combine your heat pump installation with solar and battery to help increase your home efficiency.  


  • Upfront costs: The initial costs of installing a heat pump can be high. But, with the government incentives available in Scotland, this cost is about the same as installing a gas boiler.  
  • Installation considerations: Depending on your property's characteristics and existing heating system, installation may require modifications or upgrades, like new radiators. This can add to the overall cost and time it takes to install the system. 
  • Space requirements: A gas boiler usually consists of one unit, where your hot water is heated. With an Aira Heat Pump system, this is replaced with an indoor unit and buffer tank, which require about the same space as your old gas boiler. The outdoor unit of the Aira Heat Pump system, however, typically requires adequate outdoor space, which may not be possible for some properties.  

Interested in installing a heat pump in Scotland? Contact us to arrange your free, no-obligation, energy assessment today. 


*Estimate price is based on 6kW Aira Heat Pump, with a 100L indoor unit. Additional fees may apply 

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