A heat pump is a device which moves heat from one area, otherwise known as the ‘heat source’ to another area, ‘the heat sink’ using an electrical input which can produce up to five times its own power in heating. We use a heat pump in our everyday lives because the essential components are simply those which make up a refrigerator. When a refrigerator cools the internal box which keeps food cold and fresh, the surplus heat is vented out the back; this heat can be viewed as a ‘waste product’. A heat pump works with the same technology in that a heat pump is trying to cool the outside, whether it be air, earth or water. The ‘waste heat’ which the system produces is then utilised to provide ‘useful heat’ in a building.
What is a Heat Pump?
Benefits of Heat Pumps
- Heat pumps are extremely efficient: their efficiency is measured in terms of COP (coefficient of performance). The COP is typically around 4, essentially meaning that a heat pump is 400% efficient. This can be compared to the most efficient condensing boilers rated at around 91 – 92% efficient.
- With the continual rising cost of fossil fuels, heat pump running costs can be up to 70% cheaper than that of a conventional system.
- Grants: there are a number of grant options or incentives available depending upon the type of building, the area, the application and which manufacturer is used. (Please see: Grants and Incentives).
- The essential components of a heat pump are similar to those which make up a refrigerator and with limited moving parts are very reliable with very low maintenance.
- There is no requirement for a flue as heat pump technology is pollutant free with zero CO2 emissions and no risk of combustion or noxious gases.
- Reduced VAT – heat pumps are a renewable technology and therefore have a tax rate of 5%.
- Heat pump installations assist with compliance to Part L of Building Regulations which have been introduced to help meet the Government’s target of a 20% cut in carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2010.
- Saleability: potentially a property will be more attractive for selling or letting because of a more efficient and low running cost heating system.
- Unlike a conventional boiler, the efficiency of a ground source heat pump does not diminish over the anticipated lifespan of 20 – 25 years. The anticipated lifespan of a ground loop array may well be in excess of 50 years.
- Heat pumps reduce your Carbon footprint. With the world becoming more conscious about global warming by installing a heat pump one can reduce the impact they have on the environment.