My on-going angst (and rants) regarding my energy bills have been well documented. I’ve browsed the internet, looking for alternatives however like many of you have found myself drowning in technical jargon. This plainly written guest post from industry experts at The Renewable Energy Hub explains what benefits you may receive if looking at installing a heat pump system, and whether this is the right option for you.
What to Consider Before Installing a Heat Pump
Whilst all the attention often goes to solar panels and wind farms when it comes to what renewable energy to opt for, if you have the right kind of house you could make some real energy efficiency savings if you install a heat pump.
Basically a heat pump takes the surrounding heat from the air, ground, or even water and uses it to provide warmth for the home. It works in a similar way to a refrigerator, this time compressing the heat collected from outside and releasing it into your home through a series of coils. Whilst heat pumps use a small amount of electricity, and therefore are not strictly a renewable, they are considered highly energy efficient and could provide a significant reduction in energy bills.
The key to whether a heat pump would be effective for your property is how draft proof the building is – the heat is produced at a much lower temperature than with normal gas powered systems and requires a fairly ‘locked-in’ environment. That means older houses with various nooks and crannies that cause drafts are likely to be unsuitable. Newer builds tend to be better insulated and therefore hold the heat in more effectively.
Another issue to take into account is what heating you currently have. Installing a heat pump provides a bigger saving if you are replacing an electric, oil, or LPG system rather than gas which may not lead to great savings.
But overall, assuming that you have the right kind of building, the benefits of installing a heat pump are numerous.
- With a well-insulated building you get a high degree of temperature control which means you can not only have it warm and comfortable in the winter but can cool a room down in summer.
- The efficiency ratings of heat pumps are pretty good compared to other devices. Often you will find that your heat pump will produce around 2.5 kW of heating or cooling for just a very small amount of electricity with between 200 and 400% efficiency.
- The main financial benefit is that your heat pump will save you on energy bills over the year and the initial outlay for having it installed will be offset by this and the value it puts on your property.
- The other good news is that your heat pump should be eligible for earning money via the government backed Renewable Heat Incentive which rewards both commercial and domestic property holders for using renewable energies.
Of course, you will also be reducing your carbon footprint with little in the way of emissions to speak of, accept for that small amount of electricity used to run the device. Along with a reduction in things like condensation and better air quality, you’ll find that a heat pump is also much kinder to your health than other systems.
Types of Heat Pumps
The type of heat pump that you install will have a bearing on the cost of the overall project.
Air Source Heat Pumps: This is generally the cheaper option and fits to the outside of the house and feeds inside a bit like an air conditioning unit. You will need enough space in your garden around the pump so that it can draw enough air but otherwise it is the easiest of the installations.
Ground Source Heat Pumps: You’ll need some excavation work for this installation. A ground source pump is, of course, buried in the ground and consists of a series of pipes that loop back and forth. You will need to ensure that you have the right space to excavate as well as having room for things like diggers to move in and out of the installation area.
Water Source Heat Pump: It’s not just ground and air that can be used to draw heat. If you have a decent sized water supply like a lake or large pond, it can be used for the purpose of heating your home.
Return on Investment for Heat Pumps
The cost of heat pumps can be quite large and the return on investment is normally slower than with a technology like solar panels which benefits more roundly from the Feed in Tariff. A 10 kW Air Sourced Heat Pump would probably set you back about £7,000 and a Ground Source Heat Pump in the region of £11,500. You also need to take into account the installation which can vary depending on whether you need excavation work undertaking.
You can expect to save around £240 a year on your energy bills (depending on the type of fuel you are replacing) and if you qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive you could earn money per kWh that you produce. You may also be eligible for a one off payment through the Renewable Heat Premium Payment.
With our heating bills set to rise even more over the next few years, for the right house or business installing a heat pump can help reduce the amount you spend on heating, improve the air quality of the place you live or work and reduce your impact on the environment.