10 Things You May Not Know About Heat Pumps

This year will see increases in the RHI for heating technology, including heat pumps. The aim is to get us to stop using fossil fuels such as gas and oil and use other systems to keep ourselves warm. It also means that you can earn money from the Government if you install one of the named heating technologies and get a decent return on investment as well as lower fuel bills.

One these technologies is the heat pump. Here are just a few facts about them that may surprise you.

  1. The idea of heat pumps has been around for quite a while and the first ground source model was invented way back in the 1940s. Today, we have products on the market that are considered some of the most efficient heating systems on the planet.
  2. Heat pumps are not technically renewable – they use a small amount of electricity to work the pump mechanism but they do have the potential to save you a large amount on your heating bills.
  3. They’re currently more popular in places like Europe and the US but are starting to catch on here. Even regions where the temperature is cold, such as Norway, you can find heat pumps operating.
  4. You can get heat out of the ground, air or even water, practically any time of year. This is the part that people often find difficult to understand. Heat pumps draw the latent heat out of the surrounding area and use a kind of reverse refrigerator mechanism to increase the temperature.
  5. The great thing about heat pumps is that they produce much less in the way of CO2 emissions. In fact, a ground source heat pump gives off half of the emissions an oil heater does and beats a standard gas fired boiler by a third.
  6. Heat pumps are included in the Renewable Heat Incentive for both domestic and commercial properties. That means for every kWh of energy you produce, you get money back from the incentive. This is set to increase for domestic properties this year.
  7. The cost of a heat pump varies depending on the type you go for. Air sourced heat pumps are the cheapest because they don’t come with major installation issues. Ground source heat pumps require you dig up part or all of your garden to fit the pipe network so obviously cost more. They are, however, more efficient.
  8. If you are replacing an inefficient heating system with a heat pump you should make more savings. You also need to ensure that your building is well insulated as the heat is provided at a lower but more constant level than conventional gas central heating.
  9. Because they have few moving parts, heat pumps are actually pretty easy to maintain and you should expect your system to last a good deal longer than a conventional heating system.
  10. The return on investment for a heat pump will depend on what you are replacing and how energy efficient your home is. If you are changing from an old oil fired heater, you may realistically expect to save between £475 and £735 a year on fuel costs a year. For gas replacement, the savings could be considerably more, as much as £1,300 for a decent sized home.

Now is a great time to consider changing to low carbon heating that is backed by the Renewable Heat Incentive. Find out more about heat pumps here.

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