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Heat Pumps

  • 23 November 2017

    The perfect choice if you want an underfloor heating system and you don’t have natural gas available.

    Heat pumps have grown in popularity in recent years owing to their ease of maintenance and excellent running costs.

    Basically an air-conditioner operating in heating mode, a heat pump draws heat out of the air and uses it to produce warm water. The electrical input only drives the pump and compressor, so they’re two to three times cheaper to run than a regular electric heater.

    The main advantage to a heat pump is running cost. Typically, you’ll be paying around 8 cents per unit of heat with one of these, compared to 16 cents for a diesel heating system. That’s a serious saving when you consider that the install costs for both systems are about the same.

    While heat pumps are generally great value, there are numerous pitfalls to avoid.

    First, the outdoor fans can be noisy. If the unit is installed away from bedrooms or other occupied spaces then this isn’t too much of an issue, so location of the heat pump needs to be considered by the designer.

    In cold weather, the device is less efficient. This means that when you need it most, it’s more expensive to run. Also, in very cold weather the heat pump can stop working entirely. Your designer needs to be careful about specifying the correct device for your home and local weather conditions – ask to see calculations if you’re thinking about buying one!

    The electronic controller on the heat pump is also extremely important. There’s plenty of respectable-looking heat pumps on the market with poor controllers, and they’ll cause you no end of headaches. Like everything, if you buy on price, you’ll pay for it twice – make sure you buy from a reputable supplier.

    In summary, heat pumps are great value for money and work well, but they’re not as forgiving as boilers if the system isn’t correctly designed. Make sure that your installer and designer are competent and experienced – ask for their calculations!

    Pros:

    Affordable install costs, cheap running costs
    No flues or discharge

    Cons:

    More expensive to run in cold weather
    If not properly designed and installed, they’ll likely cause you lots of problems
    Fans can be noisy