Almost 18 million homes across the UK might be unable to decarbonise their heating in the future.
The stark conclusion comes from the latest report by the Hot Water Association (HWA) which suggests there are currently nearly nine million hot water cylinders installed in homes across England.
That translates to less than 45% of homes in England that have a hot water cylinder installed, down from 77% in 2001, the HWA said.
The authors of the report suggest the main reason for this is the popularity of the combination boiler – of the approximately 1.6 million boilers installed every year, around 80% are combination boilers.
The combination system does not require a hot water store as they produce the hot water instantly.
The deficit in hot water cylinders will most likely create bigger costs for households in their bid to cut emissions from heating, according to the report.
Isaac Occhipinti, Director of External Affairs at HWA, said: “To decarbonise heating, all UK homes will need low to zero carbon heating. Most, currently available, low carbon heating solutions require a hot water cylinder.
“With a gap of 18 million homes in England, it is clear that homeowners are not replacing or installing cylinders at the speed required to meet our decarbonisation targets.
“Also, where a hot water store has been removed the space is often repurposed for additional storage or bathrooms and therefore re-introducing a hot water store can prove challenging.”
A BEIS spokesperson told ELN: “We do not recognise these figures. Evidence suggests that heat pumps, using hot water cylinders, are widely suitable across UK homes.
“Furthermore, we have been repeatedly clear that there will need to be a mix of new, low carbon heating solutions into the future for different property types in different parts of the country – such as heat networks, potentially hydrogen and electric heat pumps.”