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Last updated: 12 March 2018

Sustainable Living with Heat Pumps

Heat Pumps at Home

Owning a heat pump will provide you with a number of long term benefits. They make your living space more sustainable and do not compromise your comfort or personal style choices when it comes to having an environmentally efficient home. Instead, heat pumps enhance your living experience as they provide an environmentally friendly alternative to air conditioners.  They will potentially save you money on your next utility bill and reduce your overall carbon footprint. To get the best quotes on heat pumps, simply fill the form to the right! It's fast and easy!

What Is a Heat Pump?

A heat pump is a device that transfers heat absorbed from components of the earth’s biosphere, extracting heat and transferring it inside your home for warmth in the winter and cold air in the summer; it is powered by electricity. The function of a heat pump can be compared to that of a refrigerator; it even looks like one. Heat pumps work as part of your central heating and cooling system. They are efficient as they move heat instead of generating it. In addition, they are powered by electricity instead of fuel. Heat pumps can be used in temperatures as low as -25º C in the UK. 

What Types of Heat Pumps Are Available?

There are two main types of heat pumps or commonly known as HVAC systems that you can choose from: Air source heat pumps (ASHPs) and ground source heat pumps (GSHPs).

There are two types of air source heat pumps. Air-to-water heat pumps produce warm air that can be circulated throughout your home. They can be used to heat your underfloor heating and radiators. Another type of air source heat pump is an air-to-air heat pump, which transfers outdoor heat indoors to heat a living space.

The most common type of heat pump installed in the UK are usually air source heat pumps, specifically air-to-water heat pumps, allowing for a noise free experience when providing heat for your under floor heating system and your central heating system.

Ground source heat pumps extract heat from an underground source, either the soil or a solid layer located in the ground, by pumping water with high pressure through it. They are a silent system, as the air duct system is placed underneath your home and not exposed.  

The Benefits of Heat Pumps

  • You might be wondering how a heat pump powered by electricity could possibly lower your carbon footprint. Well, for every 1 kW of electricity used, you actually generate up to 4 kW of heat, which is about an efficiency of 400% based on Coefficient of Performance (COP) criterion. Always make sure your home is well insulated for improved efficiency. You can also benefit from the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme.
  • They provide you with low running costs, saving you 60% with ground source heat pumps and 80% with air source heat pumps. Thus, the expected return you would get from your heat pump is quite high. The benefits can already be seen in the short term. 
  • With the ever fluctuating prices of commodities, especially oil, with high spikes in the winter when using conventional fossil fuel driven heating systems, heat pumps are cost-effective and eliminate your dependence on fossil fuels.
  • Scheduled maintenance of heat pumps is not needed. They have a 25-year life span with no reduction in efficiency when compared with other heating solutions.
  • Your increased safety is guaranteed with heat pumps as they do not use substances prone to combustion like fossil fuel powered heating solutions.
  • For increased environmental efficiency, you can also couple your heat pump with electricity supplied from a solar photovoltaic (solar pv) system for your heating and hot water solutions, allowing you to have zero carbon dioxide emission and lowering your environmental impact considerably.

At Home with a Heat Pump in the UK

The time required for installing a heat pump depends on the type you choose, ground source heat pumps take longer to install, due to needing an organized system of pipes needed to transfer the heat from the underground indoors.

Air to air heat pumps can be mounted on the walls of the indoor space but are rather noisy and drafty if you are near them, just like air conditioners. They might not be ideal for your home due to the noise.

Alternatively, the more silent type of heat pump as the main unit is placed outside, the air-to-water heat pump pumps water to heat your home via your central heating system. Pipes are filled with heated water that runs directly to your hot water boiler, underfloor heating system and radiators. 

Ground source heat pumps are better suited for rural areas of the UK rather than urban areas as ground source heat pumps require a very spacious area to be built. 

Read More: Domestic Air Source Heat Pumps

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