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Danfoss falls foul of ASA rules

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheald a complaint about a claim made on a website for heat pumps from Danfoss Heat Pumps UK Ltd, in May 2011.

The website made a number of claims about the benefits of heat pump technology and compared it to conventional energy sources.

The complainant challenged whether the following claims were misleading and could be substantiated:

  • “considerable savings in energy bills compared to conventional systems”;

  • “for every 1 unit of electricity used, up to 4 units of heat are produced”;

  • “energy efficiency average 400% across the year compared to boilers that are typically 70 – 95%”;

  • “cost effective”.

    Danfoss said a well-designed heat pump system, when sized and installed by a Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accredited installer, would be expected to give savings on less efficient heating systems. Danfoss said actual savings would be influenced by a wide range of factors, such as the efficiency of the existing heating system, individual lifestyles, heat distribution system, the cost of the fuel being replaced and insulation levels in the property. For that reason they had not quoted specific savings amounts on their website.

    The ASA considered that the claim “considerable savings in energy bills compared to conventional systems” was an absolute claim that consumers would see sizeable savings by installing a heat pump. It noted that The Energy Saving Trust guide to heat pumps stated that the running costs associated with heat pumps were unlikely to deliver savings compared to most gas or oil heated systems, but that savings were more favourable when replacing a coal, LPG or electric heating system, although the payback period would still be long.

    The website was found to have breached the CAP Code (Edition 12) rules on Misleading advertising, Substantiation and Exaggeration. The ASA decided that it must not appear again in its current form and Danfoss has been told to ensure it holds robust evidence to substantiate energy and savings claims in future.

  • About Fiona Russell-Horne

    Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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