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Heating engineers will always be in demand – gas is just a fuel

May 27, 2021 featured image

In response to the latest spate of headlines surrounding proposed ‘gas boiler ban’, Mark Krull, from Logic4training, urges existing and trainee gas installers to understand that the installation of gas boilers is NOT stopping in 2025. 

The recent headline was an edited highlight taken from a report written by a non-government agency and is not Government policy. The recommendation was for gas boilers to be hydrogen ready by 2025, which the industry is capable of achieving – hydrogen boilers are already being trialled.

This is just the start of a long (and exciting) transition to the wider spread take-up of hydrogen boilers and other renewables, with ‘heating engineers’ at the forefront of this change.

“Gas installers are heating engineers – while the fuel may change, the basics of the job remain the same and will be forever in demand. The 2025 start of the phase down of natural gas boilers seems to have been confused with a dramatic ‘stop’, where the existing mains heating infrastructure ceases to exist.

This is definitely not the case and even if it was, who is best placed to upgrade end users from natural gas to hydrogen ready boilers? Gas installers.

“In its recent report ‘Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector’, the IEA argue that current plans to phase out fossil fuel heating in new build properties from 2025 do not go far enough. Instead, they recommend that by 2025, all gas boilers on the market should be capable of burning 100% hydrogen.

“Cue click bait headlines about ‘gas boiler bans’ and panic amongst would-be and existing gas installers worried their livelihoods are at stake. Hydrogen boilers are coming, they should come as quickly as possible and this is a good thing – for the planet and gas installers. The manufacturers are ready, training providers are ready, heating and plumbing engineers are ready, equipped with the transferable skills to take full advantage if this emerging marketplace.

“And what about heat pumps? A great technology for many homes, particularly of the new build variety. Who are heat pump installers? They are heating engineers, upskilling from a grounding in plumbing and, you guessed it, gas installation.

“Yes, there is obviously some training involved, but from the correct starting point of industry experience, this does not need to be a lengthy process. Gas boilers have changed over the years, from back boilers to combis and system boilers to high efficiency condensing boilers, this is just another change – another opportunity.

“We need to move away from this idea that gas installers are one-trick ponies whose skills and experience will soon be irrelevant. The truth is that gas will slowly be switched over to hydrogen alongside other low-carbon heating technologies like heat pumps over the next 30 years. A far cry from what the headlines suggest, this transition will create more work for gas installers with the right skills and experience.

“At present gas is the dominant heating fuel in the UK – 85% of UK households rely on the gas network – and will be for the foreseeable future. There is therefore plenty of work for gas installers, an ideal career choice for now and the perfect grounding for future heating demands; the first step towards a long, varied and interesting career that will really make a difference to the UK’s low carbon ambitions.

“Gas may be on its way out, heating is not.”

Logic4training is here to help installers through these changes and provide the training needed to take advantage of the changing building services landscape.

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