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How Warm Can A Heat Pump Get Your House

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  • Admin
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  • Heat Pumps, Home Heating, Reducing Heat Loss
  • Posted date:
  • 01-07-2022
How Warm Can A Heat Pump Get Your House

Just how warm can a heat pump get your house? This article looks at the several advantages and disadvantages of installing a heat pump and outlines its effectiveness as a heating device.

Is a Heat Pump As Warm As Traditional Gas Or Oil Boiler?

Heat pumps deliver sufficient heat for longer periods at low temperatures, unlike gas and oil boilers, which provide greater heat levels for short periods. For those using heat pumps to generate domestic hot water, remember that they will eventually reach a maximum of 55°C compared to gas boilers that generally reach around 75°C.

Most homeowners find it challenging to get used to such low temperatures, especially after growing up with scalding hot showers and radiators around your household and recognising that as a sign that it must mean optimal heating system performance year-round.

However, in reality, your appliances don't need to be that hot for you to survive efficiently in the colder seasons. Such high temperatures may leave you with burns. As your heat pump allows for a more constant heat, you'll still find it a comfortable temperature as opposed to a standard gas boiler that would require you to turn your controls or room thermostat up and down.

Its consistency may make it more comfortable, even if your radiators or radiator valves aren't hot to touch. Many homeowners get used to such climate changes relatively quickly and become liveable. 

Is It Worth Getting An Air Source Heat Pump?

Heat Pumps Temperature In Your Home

Talented manufacturers skilfully design heat pumps to run for extended periods, meaning it's typically far warmer and cheaper to leave them up and running throughout an entire day, instead of just the mornings and evenings when it tends to be the coldest.  

 Often they respond slowly to any slight or drastic changes in temperature, so when you wish to adjust the temperature of your room by enhancing the heat, we recommend changing the room's setting using the thermostat by one or two degrees each time. After doing so, wait to see if you are comfortable before adjusting each time.

If you turn your heat up too high too quickly, it will take far too long for your heat pump to respond, wasting energy and money as it will include extra costs. 

Are Heat Pumps Efficient During Freezing Winters?

Its consistent underground temperatures and layers mean it can extract the heat directly from the ground. A ground source heat pump allows you to efficiently gain heat for your source pump throughout the year, regardless of weather or ground conditions. In contrast, the cost-efficiency of your air-source heat pump is almost explicitly influenced by the lower or higher source temperatures outside.

The average efficiency of your air source heat pumps will decrease alongside the temperature levels. In the centre of the UK, we experience mild winters compared to areas farther up North, for example, Scotland. In the last few years, many plumbers and engineers in the field of thermodynamics have made various technological advancements from air-to-water to air-to-air heat pumps.

These developments have allowed such heat pump devices to work more effectively at constant temperatures that haven't fallen below the -5°C. 

Which Is Best, Air-source Or Ground-source?

The two main types of heat pumps are air-source and ground-source, and often it can be challenging to navigate the two and decipher which would be most suitable for your household needs. Both have unique pros and cons to research. It may be beneficial to ask your local plumbers and engineers which qualities would suit your household or property best.

The following describes some of the more immediate advantages and disadvantages to familiarise yourself with: 

-Advantages of ground source (GSHP)

One of the most significant benefits you can reap from ground source heating systems is that the ground below your feet, at least 5ft/1.5m down, can maintain its heat during the mid-winter. Such is an integral part and advantage for climates in the UK, as we have such drastic hot or cold weather changes and swings in temperature.

GSHPs are a fantastic device for severe winters, especially in the beginning and middle when summer's heat lingers in the ground.

-Disadvantages of ground source

It can be incredibly disruptive to dig horizontal trenches throughout your garden as it can cause a great deal of harm to your flowers or shrubs. Even though garden shrubbery can still recover, it can be expensive to re-soil and seed your garden after such destruction for the sake of construction. The only alternative option we recommend is boreholes; however, they tend to be far more expensive.

The GSHP installation is usually incredibly costly, and it takes a long duration for professionals to complete. The unit will also require you to have a suitable position for your heat pump and store it inside your home adjacent to a quiet room or bedroom. Your ground collectors must be deep and extensive; otherwise, their energy efficiency will gradually reduce, especially as you head towards the end of winter. 

-Advantages of air source

There are plenty of advantages of air-source heat pumps, one being that they are far cheaper and easier to have installed by professionals than some other units and appliances. They are typically placed outside your home, which is ideal for those with much smaller homes with little storage space for equipment inside.

During spring and autumn, your ASHP system will often be as energy-efficient as a ground source heat pump for an equivalent running cost. ASHPs are typically more efficient than GSHPs in the springtime, which is a benefit as often we experience turbulent weather changes during this time in the UK.

-Disadvantages of air source

When it gets to the coldest parts of the year, your heat pump device's efficiency is paramount; however, often, it is at its minimum at this stage. Yet, this is the time of year when you need its maximum output, so we suggest that during the winter season, you invest in some alternative supplementary heating or coolant methods and appliances.

With this in mind, ensure you do plenty of research on the most recent models available on the market, as plenty of these has been said to operate and function incredibly well in cold or icy conditions.

ASHPs have a defrosting mechanism that will clear any build-up on your heat-exchanger, especially when the fluid air outdoors is around or below 6°C. However, over the last decade, many units advanced significantly, and the issue of reducing output has been minimised to 10%.  Your new heat pump unit will require enough space, which isn't always available for every property or household.

Do Heat Pumps Take Up A Lot Of Space?

Your heat pump installation integrates numerous external components, for example, underground loops, pipes, outdoor compressors and plenty more. Unlike conventional heating systems or appliances, heat pumps don't take up much space within or outside your home, as most of their units are hidden out of sight.

Heat collectors or ground source heat pumps are all constructed underground on a horizontal loop system and hidden at depths of around 20-30cm, or if they utilise boreholes, they are at depths of 50-70cm.

Air-source heat pumps tend to have external units that are a tad more extensive in size than those of the average air conditioner or compressor; however, this largely depends on its capacity. Inside your household, the distribution network of your pump's heat is not indifferent to that of a more conventional heating system manufactured in the UK. In cases where little space is needed, all the fittings and pipes are hidden below the floor. 

 How Warm Can A Heat Pump Get Your House?

Efficiency Due To Type Of Building

Far older solid-stone buildings can function using a relatively small air-source heat pump, especially when utilising the building's fabric and thermal storage. You can set your heat pump to run a little longer than usual during a warmer day due to the slow response when generating energy throughout seemingly 'heavier buildings'.

The building vaguely impacts the efficiency of your heat pump system. For example, if you were to have a heat pump professional fitted into an old building that had significantly higher fuel bills due to strong insulation, you would gain and save a great deal of renewable energy.

On the other hand, if you fit one into a poorly-insulated building, the warmth and hotter water would dissipate if you weren't running your radiators or had underfloor home heating. 

Reducing Heat Loss From The Home Before Installing A Heat Pump

Often, it isn't as straightforward as an immediate replacement of the current gas and oil heating or boiler system, switching it out to a high-quality heat pump. When your heat pumps are operating for long periods at lower temperatures, that is when they are most efficient and effective.

We thoroughly encourage homeowners to do all they can to reduce any heat loss from most homes before they consider having a heat pump professionally installed. If you're unsure how best to begin, we recommend you start by receiving a professional house assessment from someone qualified in the field. They will analyse your home and detail each aspect you need to tackle to achieve less heat reduction.

Reducing heat loss typically involves the addition of insulation into your building or home or increasing the levels of insulation that you have inside your walls, loft or floors. It can also be effective to invest in draught-proofing, which may include the following: 

  • Seal the gaps in your home with draught excluders, flexible sealants, weatherstripping tape, brush strips below external doors, compression threshold strips, etc.
  • Thermal blinds or curtains.
  • Investing in large radiators or solar panels/Solar PV Systems.
  • Underlay below your rugs or carpets.
  • Keyhole covers.
  • Internal letterbox covers or brushes.
  • A chimney cap.
  • Another way to thoroughly keep heat in your home is by ensuring your window glazing is not cracked, punctured or chipped; if so, get a professional on the job to fix it. 

Some of these tips will also trap the noise of the heat pump generating good airflow outside and preventing it from permeating your home, which could be incredibly disruptive, especially at night when you're trying or struggling to sleep. Some heat pumps cannot be placed on the ground for whatever reason, so many are wall-mounted on outside walls by professionals, and these can prove to be a disruption if close by windows.

For those utilising the energy of an air-to-water heat pump, professional engineers may encourage you to replace your existing radiators or hot water cylinder inside your home to ensure your heat pump works efficiently. Underfloor heating is the best solution; however, new or larger radiators are also a valid and standard option.

How Much Will I Save On My Bills?

If you're someone purchasing and installing an air source heat pump in the hopes of saving money on energy bills, it may not be the most suitable choice to do so. However, if you want to reduce your carbon emissions, the air source heat pump might be the better reason and option, as it is an effective low-carbon heating system.

Whilst this is the case, heat pumps can save you money if you intend to switch from your old electric storage heater. The reason is that your new heat pump will be efficiently powered using electricity, which will mean you utilise less energy than your old heaters. Your old heaters will have taken far more time to prepare.

These are the current average spending prices of those in the UK with electric heating units:

Electricity Usage: Low (Flat or 1-Bedroom House;- 1-2 People)

  • Average Annual Consumption: 1,800 kWh
  • Average Annual Cost: £675.65
  • Average Monthly Cost: £56.31

Electricity Usage: Medium (3-Bedroom House;- 2-3 People)

  • Average Annual Consumption: 2,900 kWh
  • Average Annual Cost: £987.42
  • Average Monthly Cost: £82.29

Electricity Usage: High (5-Bedroom House;- 4-5 People)

  • Average Annual Consumption: 4,300 kWh
  • Average Annual Cost: £1384.21
  • Average Monthly Cost: £115.36

These are the current average running costs of those in the UK with gas heating units:

Gas Usage: Low (Flat or 1-Bedroom House;- 1-2 People)

  • Average Annual Consumption: 8,000 kWh
  • Average Annual Costs: £688.55
  • Average Monthly Cost: £57.38

Gas Usage: Medium (3-Bedroom House;- 2-3 People)

  • Average Annual Consumption: 12,000 kWh
  • Average Annual Costs: £983.15
  • Average Monthly Cost: £81.93

Gas Usage: High (5-Bedroom House;- 4-5 People)

  • Average Annual Consumption: 17,000 kWh
  • Average Annual Cost: £1351.40
  • Average Monthly Cost: £112.62 

However, suppose you're switching from an existing gas boiler, which many households in the UK will have been doing since April 2022, you may experience an increase in your energy bills. As you must utilise much more gas to produce heat energy and hot water throughout your household, the consumption is far higher. Still, in comparison to electricity, it is the cheaper option. Suppose you're seeking to reduce heat loss and improve your home's energy efficiency. In that case, you are more likely to save money on your energy bills after the instalment of your ASHP.

There was a period throughout the UK when households could receive government payments once they had installed a heat pump into their home that saved money on energy; this was a scheme known as RHI (Renewable Heat Incentives). It often expected an additional income of around £900-£1400 per year. However, the government discontinued this scheme after 31st March 2022 to make way for the BUS (Boiler Upgrade Scheme).

Are Heat Pump Controls Complicated?

Heat pumps have thermostats and heating controls that allow you to manage your heat pump operation effectively. Typically, you'll find that ASHP controls aren't any more complex than those you may find on a standard boiler; however, they'll most definitely be different to those you're used to on your existing central heating system.

It's best to get to grips with your air source heat pump and learn how to programme it to be the most efficient for your home or line of work. We reckon it's worth noting that switching on your heat pump at a relatively low setting is the best way to achieve such strong performance.

Doing so allows it to build to a comfortable heat that you can gradually build over time without wasting too much energy or heating costs.  For those using trusted MCS installers, have no fear; they'll always explain in thorough, precise detail how best to use your brand-new heat pump in a manner you can understand. Your installers can support you with any issues you may encounter.  

Does A Heat Pump Need To Stay On All The Time?

The latest heat pump models available on the UK market are unlike their predecessors, as they boast of far higher heat output, much like the increased efficiency rates. Suppose your existing house is well-insulated, and you get your pump installed into your home; you can operate it much like you would any other heating system throughout your property - by turning it off and on whenever you require warm or cool air.

The most significant difference you'll encounter with your air source heat pump is the speed at which it delivers the output heat from the heat exchanger.

Your domestic heat pump will not consistently ensure rapid heating; it's more capable of warming your building gradually, especially regarding the selected heating mode. Suppose you plan to have the heating on for a specific time of day during mild weather. In that case, you may need to put it on approximately 10-15 minutes earlier than usual or a tad earlier if the weather is particularly cold. 

Are you considering air source heat pump installation in Essex, Suffolk and the surrounding areas? We have years of experience in providing tailored energy-efficient and affordable home heating solutions. So if you need any further assistance  with air source heat pumps, follow the link below.