Demand for heat pumps the largest since the start of PULSEN in 2010

PULSEN is the Swedish Refrigeration & Heat Pump Association's annual survey amongst dealers and installers of heat pumps on the consumer market. With the help of PULSEN, we can follow the heat pump market development over the years on issues such as price trends, number of employees, development of the replacement market of heat pumps and the view of the market and its development amongst the heat pump installers.

This year, 189 of a total of 749 installer/retailer members participated in the web-based survey. It should be emphasized that a large number of companies that did not answer are not selling heat pumps to consumers and are therefore not eligible for the survey.

The perceived demand for heat pumps among installers better than ever

The negative perception of heat pump sales that occurred during the 2012 sales dip has slowly recovered and is now showing the best result since PULSEN started in 2010. Not one of the respondents stated that the current demand is seen as "very bad". Only 15 per cent feel that the demand is "bad" or "pretty bad." 85 per cent thus have a positive view of the demand for heat pumps.

Reduced prices on heat pump installations

One of PULSENS's perhaps most interesting issue is that of the cost of the various heat pump installations in a villa with a heat demand of 20 000 kWh / year. The difference in price between years obviously only vary slightly. This year we can see a price decline of about 1.5 percent for the installation of both vertical and horizontal brine-water heat pumps as well as air-to-air heat pumps. This may be set in relation to the consumer price index which over the same period increased by about 1 percent, which gives a real price decrease of about 2.5 percent. The price of air-water and groundwater heat pumps is stable while the price of exhaust air heat pumps increases. This is probably due to an increasing proportion of sales inverter driven and more expensive exhaust air heat pumps.

The replacement market continues to increase

The proportion of heat pump installations, replacing an older heat pump continues to increase at a steady pace of about 2 percent per year. The replacement market thus currently stands for 19 percent of the installations. This is mainly at the expense of the share of replacements from oil-fired boilers as well as electric boilers, which decreases by 1.5 respectively. 1.7 percent compared to the previous year. A slight increase in the exchange of pellet boilers of about 0.7 per cent can be discerned.

Free cooling is often offered, but interest is still relatively low

The possibility of installing free cooling with a geothermal installation is something that we at SKVP believe is an untapped opportunity. This year we asked the installers if they actually provide free cooling in connection with the tendering of a geothermal heat pump installation. It turns out that a relatively large proportion, 66 percent, are actually doing this. However, it appears that the percentage of installations that are finally installed with free cooling is only 10 percent. Why installers fail to convince more people to also install free cooling is something we SKVP hope to delve further on. One reason may be that the perception of cooling in single family houses still is seen as an unnecessary luxury.

The proportion of inverter driven brine-water heat pumps

As inverter driven brine-water heat pumps have in recent years clearly been highlighted as product by the manufacturers, we chose this year to include a question on the share of sales of inverter driven brine-water heat pumps. As the question has not previously been raised in PULSEN we cannot draw any real conclusions regarding changes since previous years. However, we can conclude that the proportion of inverter driven brine-water heat pumps is currently 34 percent. An educated guess however is that this percentage was negligible before 2013. As we have noticed that it varies whether heat pumps are installed with magnetic filters or not we asked the question to find out whether or not it was common to install magnetic filters. 34 percent say they together with brine-water heat pump installations also install a magnetic filter.

Additional energy well when replacing heat pump

With a growing replacement market, the question is how to react when there is already an energy well at site which might not be properly sized for the new heat pump. We asked the question in this year's PULSEN how installers proceed in such situations. The most interesting in the result is that only 4 percent check the temperature in the existing borehole and that only 1 percent proceed with the replacement without drilling an extra well. However, as 52 percent say that it varies from case to case, it is likely that a much larger proportion of installations are made without drilling an extra well. The results indicate that there is uncertainty about how to act and that this is an area that the industry and SKVP should work further on to reduce uncertainty and avoid, on one hand, overloaded energy wells and, on the other, unnecessary investments for consumers.

No clear trends regarding what kind of buildings heat pumps are installed in

The results from the question that deals with what kind of buildings heat pumps are installed in show no clear trends. In comparison with the previous year shows, however, a certain decline in installations in apartment buildings, 2 percent, and a small increase in installations in villas/ townhouses, 3 percent.