Over the coming decades, millions of homeowners across Europe will likely switch from oil or gas heating to “air source” heat pumps, also known as “air-to-water” heat pumps. While this can sometimes be a complex process, Slovakian consumer organisation SOS Poprad is leading the way.
While other partners in the CLEAR-X project have run collective purchase campaigns that include air-to-air heat pumps, SOS is the first partner to run a campaign for air-to-water HPs, a significantly different technology. Rather than working like an air conditioner, an air-to-water heat pump warms the home by sending warm water through the home’s pipes and radiators, similar to traditional central heating.
In collaboration with project partner ICRT, six models of air source heat pump were tested to ensure they suited the climate in Slovakia and performed well in product testing and energy efficiency. SOS are now offering two models to consumers as part of the campaign, with a 25% discount on the product and installation included. In advance of the purchase, a home assessment is also carried out by the installer to ensure the home is deemed “heat pump ready”. To provide further support, SOS reviewed the sales contract between the buyer and seller to ensure there are no hidden costs for the consumer.
While air source heat pumps are the most common HP type in Slovakia, two key factors have stalled their uptake with consumers. Government subsidies for the product have been paused, meaning consumer demand for the product has cooled off, given the high upfront costs. Meanwhile, electricity prices in Slovakia are almost triple the price of gas, meaning the biggest carrot to consumers – lower energy bills – is not currently on offer.
“We need the subsidy programmes for consumers to be restarted as soon as possible,” commented Petra Cakovska of SOS Poprad, “otherwise, it simply becomes unaffordable for consumers. But we also need the government to reduce taxes on electricity to encourage the switch,” she added.
With plans to open several factories for heat pump manufacturing in Slovakia, the region is set to also become a major European hub for production of the devices.
Slovakian consumers can learn more about the campaign and sign up here.