How supply chain disruptions are extending heat pump waiting times, but why it’s worth the wait

Our waiting list for air source heat pumps is growing longer as a result of the current supply chain issues across the UK. Despite our best efforts, we are struggling to keep up with the demand and so our waiting times to receive these heat pumps have increased.

Whilst it can feel frustrating, we believe the inevitable benefits of our heat pump installations are worth waiting for. Here at R A Brown, we are doing all that we can to minimise the impact of the supply chain issues and work around the current challenges.

What is causing the current supply chain issues?

● Suez Canal blockage
● Brexit
● Dock worker strikes
● Pandemic
● Rising fuel costs
● Staff shortages
● Semiconductor availability

While it’s unlikely that any of these points come as a surprise, some of them, such as the Suez Canal blockage, pushed back deliveries by a few weeks. Then, followed by the delays caused by Dock Worker Strikes as well as the knock-on effects Brexit has had on the importation of goods, we’ve experienced months of delays with little help from the government to expedite the solution.

The number of European heat pump installations is increasing rapidly due to a common desire to get away from the reliance on Natural Gas from Russia. In 2021, France installed over 500,000 heat pumps across the country. Whilst Germany, installed as many as 140,000 heat pumps in just one month in 2022. This increased demand across the channel may be a factor in the supply issues that we are seeing in the UK.

What is being done to prevent disruption?

With little help from the authorities in solving these issues it has been left to individuals and businesses to try and wade through the uncertainty. The last thing any business wants is to leave its customers waiting and feeling frustrated, but this is the unfortunate position many engineers are currently finding themselves in.

At R A Brown, we’re continuously exploring solutions to minimise delays for our customers, such as; looking for new suppliers with faster lead times, and seeking out retailers and merchants to supplement stock during wait times. However, we’re always open to hearing new ideas and would love to open up a dialogue with our fellow installers to work out how we can deliver better services to our customers.

How will this affect the service?

Unfortunately, there will be delays in our installation start dates if we, as heat pump installers, do not have the correct pump in stock to cover the needs of your installation. Without this issue being resolved, it slows progress towards the government’s targets of reducing carbon footprint size and energy consumption across the UK and puts us even further behind our European counterparts, who are installing renewable heating solutions at a rate far quicker than us.

What timescale is likely for a heat pump installation?

We’re currently looking at around a 3 to 6 month wait, depending on the manufacturer, as we aren’t willing to compromise on the quality of the systems for our clients. If you’re thinking of upgrading from your old gas or oil boiler to a Ground or Air-Source Heat Pump, give us a call and we can discuss your options or refer you to a nearby installer.

Air Source Heat Pumps

Our industry experts rely on being able to offer realistic time estimates for our customers. When quoting these timescales earlier in the year, we relied on the delivery times provided by the manufacturer, however these have since been extended beyond our control.

Having to back track on an arranged installation date is frustrating for both the customer and for the business. In November, we were still waiting for heat pumps that were promised delivery in September, leaving us wrangling expectations of understandably upset customers. Whilst we can look into possible solutions, such as alternative suppliers who have stock on hand, this often comes at an additional cost for the customer which feels unfair and reflects poorly on our business.

Ground Source Heat Pumps

Our supply of ground source heat pumps has not been as severely affected, and we believe this could be due to the lesser demand. Currently, we expect a ground source heat pump to arrive in 4 to 8 weeks, creating a much faster turnaround for the customer.

Why it’s worth the wait – benefit of heat pumps

Whilst the current supply issues can understandably cause some concern, it’s a positive sign to see that the demand has increased for these systems across Europe. Many other nations are promoting the benefits of sustainable heating systems and encouraging their installation over traditional fossil fuel systems.

We believe that heat pumps are the most efficient way to heat homes in the modern world, and for very good reasons. With the cost of living climbing, a heat pump can provide you with a long-lasting alternative to central heating that has much lower operating costs. If the cost of gas is looking to increase in the same way it has across the EU, then having a system that runs on electricity is a smarter choice for home development.

Not only that, but heat pumps produce significantly less carbon emissions compared to your standard gas or oil boiler system. You can provide your home with an efficient heating system that’s also environmentally friendly. Now, more than ever, we need to try harder as a nation to support the public in making changes that build a more sustainable future.

Author Dax Parsons, R A Brown Heating Services

Image by tawatchai07 on Freepik

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