A new report has highlighted that many air source heat pumps, with their constant outdoor hum, exceed noise limits for installation, despite the Government announcing it wants to install 600,000 a year by 2028. The Mail has the story.
Homeowners who have installed costly heat pumps at the behest of the Government or who have found themselves living in the vicinity of them due to their neighbours have complained that the noisy contraptions are making their lives hell.
It comes after a report warned the pumps are too loud to be installed in millions of homes under the Government’s own noise guidelines.
Heat pumps can produce a low constant hum of between 40 to 60 decibels (similar to the noise made by the average fridge or dishwasher) and typically run for long periods of the winter.
The effect of this noise pollution has led residents to complain of restless nights and permanently droning urban environments which some have compared to the sound of a “jet engine taking off”.
This week, a new report found that most air source heat pumps are too loud for properties in built up areas as the constant hum of the outdoor units would violate noise limits set for those who wish to install one without planning permission and with a Government grant.
In order to qualify for the Government grant, any installations of heat pumps must meet noise regulations set out by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) which state they should not generate a noise louder than 42 decibels within one metre of a neighbour’s door or window.
But the new report, which was compiled by experts from the consultancies Apex Acoustics, Sustainable Acoustics and ANV Measurement Systems, found that none of the top heat pumps from the five main manufacturers would meet MCS standard unless they were four metres away.
It stated: “Without the MCS there is no BUS grant and, therefore, a likely significant reduction in uptake of [heat pumps] across England and Wales.’”
Despite these concerns, as part of their commitment to Net Zero, the Government has announced it wants to install 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028.
In order to help meet this target, last month they announced new grants of up to £7,500 for homeowners swapping their gas or oil-powered boilers for heat pumps.
And for those people living next to the ‘noisy’ contraptions, the change to their daily lives has been seismic.
In Reepham, Norfolk, local campaigner Mark Bridges has been waging a one-man war against a local high school after they installed two enormous heat pumps in their science block.
Reepham High School’s installation of the two outdoor pumps has been controversial for residents – with Mark alleging that he and his neighbours can hear them droning “from 50 meters away”.
Speaking to MailOnline, he said: “They don’t actually produce enough heat to match the heating level previously enjoyed in that building and they’re very, very noisy.
“It’s a fan noise like the one you get on an extractor fan in in the kitchen but much more disruptive.
“They’ve put some noise mitigation measures in place but I’m an engineer with experience in noise mitigation and I can see it’s their cheapest option that won’t satisfy regulations to be compliant for the planning permission to be upheld.
“It sounds horrendous. A frost cycle compressor comes on at anytime in cold weather. This and the fan noise wakes us neighbours.
“You would not sanction this outside your own home, so why do we neighbours have to put up with this? It’s just unacceptable at every level.”
Worth reading in full.