Heat pumps are a smart investment. They are energy efficient, have lower running costs than conventional heating methods, and they also have much lower carbon emission rates. So, if you are looking for a greener energy solution, then heat pumps are definitely something to consider. They can even be hooked up to renewable energy sources to remove their emission rates completely. It’s good to know how much you could be saving each month, as well as the general running costs that you can expect from a heat pump system, which is exactly what is covered here.
Running Costs of Heat Pumps
Heat pumps are growing in popularity with the general public. They are a greener source of energy, as well as more versatile in terms of where they can be installed. Plus, they double up as heating and cooling devices. Due to their low running costs, you can expect to make some great savings when compared to conventional methods of heating. A prime example of this would be that a ground source heat pump can reduce your energy bills by a minimum of 26% over a new gas boiler.
Some of the main factors affecting the running cost of heat pumps are:
- Coefficient of Performance (COP)
With typical values of 3 to 4.3, it can save up to 52% if used only for space heating instead of a gas boiler.
- Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) (Closed to new applicants on 31st March 2022 and replaced with the Boiler Upgrade Scheme)
This is a grant offered by the Government that, for a 2-bedroom semi-detached house, would produce an annual income of up to £2,538. This also depends on things like insulation and general usage.
This is vital not only for retaining heat and getting the most you can for your money, but also for receiving more from the RHI scheme.
Usually, you can expect to pay around £ 8,000 for air source heat pumps and around £ 18,000 for ground source heat pumps. Thanks to the savings and grants, homeowners are able to start earning money from their heat pumps after few years.
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Factors That Influence Running Costs of Heat Pumps
There are three factors that should be considered when it comes to determining how much your heat pump is going to cost to run. These are as follows:
- The efficiency of the heat pump
- The amount of heat required for your home
- The temperature of the heat source
The efficiency of heat pumps tends to vary among manufacturers. Water source heat pumps tend to have a COP of up to 5, and air source heat pumps can fall to levels below 2.5. However, these low values tend to be rare and below standard. The standard COP value lies between 3 and 4.3.
The actual levels of efficiency that the pump delivers can be calculated according to the amount of work it needs to do in order to heat the home, taking the difference in temperature outside and inside into consideration. The closer the two are in terms of temperature, the less the heat pump needs to work in order to reach a comfortable temperature.
Therefore, it is more efficient and does not cause strain to itself or use greater amounts of energy (which would increase the running costs). Heat pumps are able to reach output temperatures of 65 degrees (and higher). However, this would decrease the levels of efficiency and increase the running costs.
Unfortunately, there is currently no way around this issue as the relationship between temperature, efficiency, and running costs is part of the basic physics behind the technology. Hopefully, as it develops, we will be able to advance past this issue.
Coefficient of Performance (COP) and Heat Pump Efficiency
The COP measures the efficiency of a heat pump by measuring the amount of power that is input compared to the amount of power output that is produced by the system. As a result, the higher the value, the more efficient a system is. A normal figure for a heat pump is COP 4. This means that for every kilowatt of electricity used, four kilowatts of heat are created. Often, this is stated as 400% efficiency, but this can be a very misleading statement.
The COP is calculated by every heat pump manufacturer and is based on a very specific set of criteria. This can include things like the circulation pump and defrost cycles.
Determining the exact running costs of heat pumps is not an easy task to undertake. There is a wide range of factors that influence the running costs of the heat pumps. This is aside from the specific features found in each type of heat pump. It can include things like the size of your home and the amount of insulation you have. However, a rough estimate for the average home is around £970 per year, including domestic hot water.
Something you should take into account, however, is the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) (closed to new applicants on 31st March 2022 and replaced with the Boiler Upgrade Scheme). This is a government scheme that financially rewards those who choose to use greener forms of energy in their homes. The next section looks at this in more detail.
What Is the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)?
The domestic and non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive closed to new applications on 31st March 2022 and was replaced with the Boiler Upgrade Scheme
The details of this scheme were made public by the UK government in April 2014 for England, Scotland and Wales. The Renewable Heat Incentive has two schemes:
- Domestic RHI. This is tax-free. It consists of a subsidy that is payable every quarter for 7 years.
- Non-Domestic RHI. This is a subsidy that is payable in 20 years.
These two plans have separate tariffs as well as different joining conditions, rules, and application processes. Every year the tariff rate changes to adjust to the retail Price Index. This happens on the first of April. OFGEM is responsible for the administration of both programmes.
If you want to join the RHI scheme (closed to new applications on 31st March 2022 and replaced with the Boiler Upgrade Scheme), a domestic energy performance certificate is required. What this certificate does is offer information regarding the energy use of a household, and also allows for recommendations on how to reduce energy and save money to be made.
Want to Know More?
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