Most of us have an understanding of central heating and air conditioning. The former uses heat from the boiler to warm liquid pumped through radiators, while the latter uses a refrigerator to cool down air. That was the limit of my understanding anyway. Recently we moved into an electricity-only new build. Our heating and hot water comes from an air-source heat pump.
However, the government keeps banging on about heat pumps. And these are actually quite different from conventional home climate systems. While they must still obey the laws of physics, the way they work is kind of weird, and many people are struggling to get to grips with the exotic technology.
The purpose of this post is to explain heat pumps in a little more detail. We take a look at some of the things people don’t understand and clarify them, just in case you are considering getting a heat pump for your home.
What People Don’t Understand About Heat Pumps – Reversible Operation
The first thing to note about heat pumps is that they can heat and cool spaces. That’s great news for anyone who lives in a changeable climate where the summers are unbearably hot and the winters are freezing cold. Pumps work by extracting heat from outside of the building and releasing it inside, or doing the reverse. Incredibly, heat pumps can warm your home, even if outdoor temperatures are freezing cold.
Heat Pumps Are More Efficient
Vendors like All Seasons Energy also say that heat pumps are more efficient than their conventional counterparts. The reason for this has to do with how they operate in moderate climates. These devices use only a fraction of the energy of conventional systems because they don’t rely on using energy directly, as regular heating and air conditioning do. Instead, they “go with the flow”, so to speak, following nature’s patterns and extracting heat from homes where necessary.
With that said, supplementary heating might be necessary in exceptionally cold climates. Heat pumps may not be able to keep up with demand.
Higher Initial Costs But Long-Term Savings – What People Don’t Understand About Heat Pumps
People also don’t understand that heat pumps have higher initial costs but yield long-term savings. Many buyers get stuck on the fact that heat pumps have a higher upfront price without considering the long-term benefits they bring by reducing gas and electricity consumption. However, this consideration is becoming more pertinent. Yes, heat pumps can be costly, but the price of energy may rise substantially over the long term, which is problematic for anyone relying on conventional systems. Even discounting the future value, spending might work out as better value for money investing today.
The Regular Lifespan of a Heat Pump
Heat pumps aren’t passive. These devices rely on electricity from the mains to operate and have some parts that can degrade. As such, they tend to last about as long as conventional boilers and heating systems, with some lasting for up to 20 years when cared for properly. Therefore, homeowners need to plan for replacement. Heatpumps won’t last as long as installations like solar panels or new roofs in most cases.
Ultimately, heat pumps can help your home feel cosy and warm. However, some myths about them still need dispelling. They won’t produce the direct heat of say an open fire or electric heater.