How do Heat Pumps work?
Heat pumps extract heat energy from the air or ground all year round, and use it to warm up your home.
An efficient pump transfers around 3 or 4 times more energy into a property than it uses to extract it. This can lead to large amounts of energy being generated by your pump, and lower fuel bills in your home. Heat Pumps also do not use any fossil fuels, which is better for the environment.
Sometimes, the heat energy isn’t enough from the ground or air around your home and the water temperature is usually topped up with electricity. To see how ground and air heat pumps work specifically, see below.
Which types of Heat Pumps are there?
There are two different types of heat pumps that can be used for your home – there are Ground Heat Pumps and Fan Heat Pumps.
Ground Heat Pumps
Ground Heat Pumps work by running heat-conductive piping underground either vertically or horizontally below your home. These pipes have special fluid which transfer heat from the ground, through the pipes and into your hot water tank. Ground heat pumps are very quiet and are great for the environment, but can be invasive to install and require a depth of 150m below ground to install, or 195m2 for horizontal installations.
Air Heat Pumps
Air Heat Pumps are powered by electricity. They transfer energy from outside your home, using components such as a fan and a refrigerant circuit which compress the air to a higher temperature, which is used to heat your home and water. Air Heat Pumps are less invasive than ground heat pumps and do not require underfloor heating, but do require a somewhere to drill externally.
What houses are a suitable for Heat Pumps?
Really, Heat Pumps are really only suitable for new build homes, detached or semi-detached homes; this is because of the extensive works that need to be undertaken to install a heat pump. Installing a heat pump on a terraced property (which account for 1/4 of all homes in the UK) would prove very difficult, especially if they’re older homes without the infrastructure to support an air heat pump; installing a ground heat pump would be nearly impossible to install on a terraced property.
Heat pumps (ground and air) are suitable for modern detached homes and can be installed easier as there are more areas for access. Older detached homes, however, may not have the infrastructural capabilities to support heat pumps.
For modern Semi-detached homes, heat pumps (ground and air) are suitable and can be installed with ease. Installing a heat pump may prove invasive for your neighbours though – especially if you’ve opted for a ground air pump.
Older terraced homes can’t really support heat pumps without extensive work being carried out. Newer terraced homes may be more apt for heat pumps and could be installed, but this all depends on how the home has been built.
Flats / Apartments
Ground Heat pumps are not suitable for flats / apartments. Air heat pumps will prove difficult to install and could be very costly, but it is possible; but similar to terraced homes, it depends on how the apartment block has been built and where the apartment is placed in the building.
To tie things to a conclusion – whether a heat pump is right for you, all depends on what sort of home you live in and the infrastructure in which it provides. If you live and own a detached or semi-detached home, then you very well may want to consider the £5,000 grant from the Government to switch over to a heat pump. But be aware of the costs – it doesn’t just cost £5,000 to get setup and running, installing and running a heat pump could cost up to £35,000 for a ground heat pump and up to £18,000 for a air heat pump.
The costs could even be higher if you live in a terraced or older semi-detached home.
Heat Pumps are great for the environment and help with the UK’s journey to becoming net-zero with carbon emissions. They can also save you money with your energy bills by producing more energy than you need – a bit like solar panel batteries.
For more information on heat pumps and for quotations you can visit our homepage, or speak with other leading experts in energy, such as Energy Point.