What Are The Pros and Cons of Heat Pumps?
Heat pumps reflect devices that use a compressor and a circulating liquid or gas refrigerant structure to ‘pump’ or transfer heat from one location to another, from which heat is collected from outside sources and pumped indoors.
Compared to when energy is used primarily as a way of converting it, pumping the heat uses less electricity. The cycle can also be reversed during the summer, and the machine behaves like an air conditioner.
In the United Kingdom, as opposed to other parts of Europe, the heat pump system has been implemented at a slower rate, due to the fact that the government has recently started to introduce a range of new schemes that make the transition to green living smoother and more accessible. These activities have succeeded in gaining the interest of the British public, thus increasing the popularity of renewable energy technologies.
In terms of both heating and cooling, heat pumps provide the most efficient alternative to power, oil and electrical systems. Gas furnaces do a relatively good job, rating nearly 98% effective, but from a carbon footprint aspect, they do not represent a long-term solution. More heating and cooling power is supplied by heat pumps than the amount of energy used to operate them. Properly designed and mounted heat pumps achieve more than 300 per cent efficiency on a daily basis.
What Are The Different Types of Heat Pump?
Air Source Heat Pump
Air source heat pumps are usually located outside of our home or property, usually around the back. The system takes heat from its source of air and then boosts it to a higher temperature. The heat pump itself requires electricity to be able to run but uses less electrical energy than the heat it supplies.
Ground Source Heat Pump
A mixture of water and antifreeze is pumped by a ground source heat pump around a pipe ring, called a ground loop, which is buried in your back garden. Heat is absorbed into the fluid from the ground and then passes through the heat pump via a heat exchanger.
How Much Do Heat Pumps Cost?
Taking into account the installation of the whole system, heat pump prices are typically high, but the costs for different heat pumps can vary. The average price range for a complete installation is between £ 8,000 and £ 45,000, which must be taken into account in terms of operating costs. The cost of air-to-water heat pumps typically starts from £ 7,000 to £ 18,000, whereas the cost of ground source heat pumps will go up to £ 45,000. Heat pump operating costs depend on your home, its insulation properties and scale.
Such operating costs are likely to be smaller than those of previous systems, the mere distinction being the system from which you switch. If you switch from gas, for instance, this will give you the lowest saving figures, whereas an average home change from electricity will save more than £ 500 annually.
Advantages and Disadvantages
It is important to educate yourself about the upsides and downsides of heat pumps before deciding to purchase a heat pump system. There are a number of heat pump benefits that make them a perfect investment for homeowners and at the same time, issues that need to be considered.
Lower Running Costs
Heat pumps are easier to operate than combustion-based devices. The more energy-efficient the devices are, the higher the long-term energy savings. This environmentally friendly product can help you save more than a thousand pounds a year on your energy bill – however, the price tag isn’t cheap. Ground source heat pumps can cost as much as £45k, which is out of reach for many people.
They Require Less Maintenance
Heat pumps need less maintenance than the heating systems used for combustion. Some aspects of the system have to be reviewed periodically, once a year, which can be easily done by yourself. On the other hand, a competent installer has to review every three to five years.
Heat pumps are safer than most other combustion-based heating systems.
The heat pump system decreases the carbon emissions and has an effective energy-to-heat conversion efficiency. Water source heat pumps, for instance, achieve relatively high efficiencies, close to 600%.
Heat pumps are capable of reversing the process during the warm periods and thus operate like an ac device. During the summers, air to air heat pumps can be easily put into cooling mode.
Heat pumps have a relatively long life span of up to 50 years, but the average life span is anywhere between 14 and 15 years. Despite these numbers, heat sources are exceptionally reliable and steady.
To assist in the construction of solar heat systems, the government offers two distinct forms of services. The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, which addresses homeowners, social and private landlords, and even self-builders, you may be eligible for payment. The Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive is, on the other hand, available to the public sector, such as corporations, associations and industries.
High Upfront Cost
Heat pumps have high initial costs, but their running costs, on the other hand, result in long-term savings on energy bills and contribute to a reduction in carbon emissions.
Difficult to Install
Considering the research must be performed to understand the movement of heat, local geology, especially ground source heat pumps which are fairly difficult to install and require a fitter who is properly trained and qualified to plan, design and install the devices.
A few of the fluids that are used for the heat transfer are of dubious sustainability and thus may pose environmental issues, so the use of biodegradable fluids is recommended.
The phase of installation involves essential work and disruption to your house and garden. A relevant example will be that penetration through the cladding of the building needs to be achieved.
In cold environments, few heat pumps encounter problems, which can eventually harm the system, so it is not possible to achieve maximum heat pump efficiency in the cold weather. There are possibilities, however, for an improved heat pump system that overcomes this problem. Always check your heat pump’s Seasonal Performance Factor (SPF).
Heat pumps rely heavily on electricity to run, which means they can never be fully carbon neutral. As heat pumps are electrical, however, they represent a great match for solar applications. This is an efficient model free from carbon. Heat pumps coupled with solar panels could lead to zero net energy.
In Wales and Northern Ireland, special planning permits are required, while in England and Scotland, it depends on your region and your property size.
Are They Really Worth It?
The advantages of heat pumps clearly demonstrate that they reflect a smart investment in the long run. Since running costs bring a lot of savings on your energy bills, as the process behind simply transfers the heat from one space to another and does not generate it and the government helps you move to a green energy solution, it is completely worth it for heat pumps. You might consider the large upfront costs regrettable, but you still need to see the larger picture at the same time. A road to zero net energy equals solar applications plus heat pumps.
There are various kinds of heat pumps, each with its own distinctive mechanism. With different functions, heat pump brands come along, and their main purpose is to make your life easier.
In conclusion we think that yes, heat pumps are a good investment. They are quite an expensive investment but they are just that, an investment. Properties of the future will all have heat pumps installed so if you’re looking to do an eco renovation on your home or to upgrade your homes energy efficiency then a heat pump will be a good addition to reduce your carbon emissions and to save you money on your bills in the future.