A heat pump can absorb 'low grade' heat from the air or ground and compress that into higher, useful heat for hot water, radiators or underfloor heating. With a heat pump you could get 3kW of heat output for every 1kW of energy input. So they can supply more energy than they consume, often making them more efficient than a standard boiler that is 90% efficient.
A heat pump works like your fridge freezer in reverse. Both use refrigerant, a fluid that can be rapidly transferred from liquid to gas and back again. To transfer heat, you simply compress the refrigerant to make it hotter and release the pressure to cool it.
There are two types of heat pumps
Air source heat pumps
Air source heat pumps absorb heat from the air, even when the temperature is as low as -20°C.
- 1 Heat is absorbed from the air at a low temperature.
- 2 Low temperature, low-pressure gas goes through a compressor to increase the temperature.
- 3 The now high temperature gas is condensed to warm the heating and hot water circuits of the house.
Ground source heat pumps
Ground source heat pumps extract heat from the ground using looped pipes that are buried in the garden. The pump circulates a mixture of water and antifreeze around looped pipe. Heat from the ground is then absorbed into the fluid and passed through a heat exchanger into the heat pump. Ground temperature remains fairly constant so the heat pump will run more efficiently throughout the year.
- 1 Heat is absorbed from the ground at a low temperature and into the fluid that can be found inside the looped pipes buried underground.
- 2 The heat from the ground is exchanged with a refrigerant gas that goes through a compressor to increase the temperature.
- 3 The high temperature gas is condensed to warm the heating and hot water circuits of the house.
All about Air Source Heat Pumps
Potentially save money with a heat pump
- Cut the cost of bills by generating your own energy
- Qualify to receive income through the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) (link to further down the page)
- No need to rely on oil, LPG or solid fuel deliveries
- Reduce your carbon footprint
How much you could save
The savings you make depend on the system you use now and the one that replaces it.
If your property is supplied by mains gas then we recommend you keep using this energy source to keep heating your home. If your home isn't heated by mains gas and uses either oil, LPG, electric or solid fuel, then by installing a new air source heat pump you could save money on your existing energy bills and you could even be entitled to the Renewable Heat Incentive.
Property A (3 bed semi, 2 adults, 2 children, Oil heating) - Semi-Detached property example (PDF, 44KB)
Property B (4 bed detached, 2 adults, 2 children, oil heating) - Detached property example (PDF, 44KB)
What could you get back
The Renewable Heat Incentive
Heat pumps are included in the Renewable Heat Incentive Premium Payment (RHIPP) for properties that use oil, liquid gas, solid fuel or electricity as a source of heating.
To be eligible properties must have a minimum of 250mm of loft insulation and, where practical, cavity wall insulation. The heat pump must also have been installed from between 1st August 2011 and when the domestic RHI is launched on 1st April 2014.
DECC have also announced that the level of funding for heat pumps will be 7.3p/kWh renewable heat for Air Source and 18.8p/kWh renewable heat for Ground Source Heat Pumps providing a real incentive for the customer.
To find out more about the Renewable Heat Incentive please visit www.ofgem.gov.uk
Is a Heat Pump right for you?
Call us on 0800 975 3199 for a quick chat about solar thermal and what we can offer.