Over the next decade, the world of plumbing and heating services is set to change in a major way.

With traditional gas-powered boilers set to be phased out over the next 15 years, several different technologies have been discussed as potential replacements to provide hot water and central heating.

One of these is hydrogen boilers, which would work similarly to gas boilers except that the fuel source would be hydrogen, so whilst the internal mechanics would be quite different, the way it would work to an end-user would be largely the same.

The other potential system is in fact very different in its infrastructure but could provide even starker savings.

These heat pump systems, sometimes known as active heat exchangers, use electricity to transfer heat from a hot source to another location and can work in reverse.

They do not use electricity to generate heat, however, but instead extract ambient heat (either from underwater sources or from the air) and compress it to increase the temperature before pumping it indoors.

Often these work in tandem with a district heating system, where heat is generated from a central source (often the byproduct of power generation) and is fed through a system of insulated pipes that heat pumps extract or feed into as required.

One of the biggest advantages of the system is that rather than requiring both a central heating system and air conditioning, a heat pump can create warm air by compressing ambient heat and can also do the opposite by sucking hot air out of the room.

Both functions are highly efficient, and over a long period can offset the initial high cost of getting a heat pump installed.