All about heat pumps
Whilst the ban on installing new gas or oil-fired boilers has recently been pushed back to 2035, many homeowners and landlords are looking at renewable energy alternatives right now. Here at Tailored Heat, our qualified engineers have wide experience of installing air to water heat pumps – one of two types of air source heat pumps – in properties in Plymouth and other parts of west Devon and south Cornwall.
But what exactly are heat pumps, how do they work and what are the benefits compared to a traditional gas or oil-fired boiler? All is revealed here in our latest blog.
What is a heat pump?
A heat pump is a device that captures heat from the air outside your home and turns it into heat that can then be used for your central heating and to heat your water. Heat pumps can be used with both standard radiators and underfloor heating, making them a highly versatile choice for both new properties and retrofits.
How do air to water heat pumps work?
You may be surprised to know that heat energy is present in the air all the time, even on cold days! A heat pump works by drawing in this energy and passing it through a coil which turns the gas into a liquid. This then produces warmth which is transferred through a heat exchanger into your home’s central heating system and used to heat the water in your hot water cylinder.
The diagram below (taken from the Which? website) shows in more detail how it all works.
As you can see, an air source heat pump requires a unit to be fitted to the outside of your property. You’ll also need a compatible hot water cylinder, as leftover hot water will be stored in it as shown. Of course, this can then be used for your hot water needs in the home – killing two birds with one stone!
What are the benefits of heat pumps?
There are lots of great reasons to invest in a heat pump for your home or rented property. Here are our top five.
Lower energy bills
Whilst air to water heat pumps do need electricity to run, so do traditional boilers. However, you won’t have any gas or oil bills to worry about, so you may see a decrease in your energy bills overall – although this naturally depends on the latest electricity tariffs compared to gas and oil prices. It’s also important to remember that your heat pump will cost you more to run if your home isn’t well-insulated and/or your radiators are small.
Increased energy efficiency
Heat pumps use less electricity than the amount of heat they produce, so they offer greater energy efficiency levels than gas or oil-fired boilers. They also produce less carbon than gas or oil, which means you’ll be helping to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change. And if you choose to install solar panels as well, you’ll be able to power your heat pump – and other appliances in your home – with clean, renewable electricity.
A versatile choice
If you’re changing over from a traditional central heating system, the good news is that your heat pump can often be connected to your existing hot water cylinder and radiators or underfloor heating system. If you don’t have a hot water cylinder, we can easily fit one for you in a convenient place in your home. Sometimes, we might recommend you have new radiators and/or extra insulation fitted to help your heat pump work to maximum efficiency. If so, we’ll discuss this with you during a home survey before we book in your installation.
Stay cool in the summer AND warm in the winter
Some types of heat pump can work in reverse to cool your home in summer, operating in much the same way as an air conditioning unit. Models that can do this tend to be more expensive to install as they require additional elements to enable them to cool as well as heat. With the soaring temperatures we’ve experienced at times over the last few summers, however, this could prove to be a canny investment.
Government funding may be available
If you’re replacing a fossil fuel burning central heating system and you own the property (including landlords), you could be eligible for a government grant of £7,500 towards your new air to water heat pump. One important thing to note is that only standalone heat pumps can be funded; hybrid systems that operate in tandem with a traditional oil or gas-fired boiler won’t qualify. There are also some other eligibility criteria that need to be met, but our trained engineers can talk these through with you. Find out more at the Government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme web pages.
Heat pumps from Tailored Heat
If you’d like to know more about the range of heat pumps from leading manufacturers including Worcester Bosch that we install in Plymouth and other parts of West Devon, please get in touch. We’ll also be pleased to give you a no-obligation quotation for supplying and installing your new heat pump, although we may need to carry out a home survey first.