Dave Green Energy Services

When are Heat Pumps Appropriate?

Heat pumps can provide effective, controllable and reasonably effective heating providing certain criteria are met.

  1. The efficiency of a heat pump depends on the temperature difference between where the heat is sourced and the final water or air temperature. As underfloor heating runs at a lower temperature than radiators they will give a better efficiency, alternatively larger radiators are recommended.

  2. Heat pumps are good at delivering a fairly constant heat, they do not react as quickly as a normal boiler system and will be inefficient if rushed. They are therefore best suited to properties which are occupied for most of the day, ie they not well suited to those who are hardly ever at home.

  3. Heat pumps with radiators work well in combination with wood stoves where the heat pump provides a background heat but the wood stoves are used to achieve higher temperatures in individual rooms and give faster response if the house has gone cold. If there is underfloor heating a wood stove is less useful.

  4. Air source heat pumps are more efficient in mild to cold weather so can be used in spring and autumn on their own, but if a wood stove is available the heat pump should be used less as the weather gets very cold, ie the wood stoves then should provide a greater proportion of the heat load.

  5. With ground source heat pumps it is important to make sure the ground loop is big enough for the heat demand, skimping on this will cost much more in the long run.

Heat pumps can give significant carbon savings over gas, oil, or electrical heating, a heat pump installed now with a Coefficient of Performance of 3 will have a carbon factor of around 40g/kWh average over the next 20 years, mains gas is five times higher at 200g, oil even higher.

Whilst good insulation, PV panels, and a wood stove help they are not essential, heat pumps can be fitted to less than ideal properties but the efficiency is likely to be lower giving slightly higher running costs but still significant carbon savings.

The domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is finishing at the end of March 2022 so it's too late to apply unless you have an installation booked for the next few weeks. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme will replace the RHI from April 2022, this will provide £5k upfront for air source heat pumps & £6k for ground source. Hybrid schemes will not qualify, nor will replacements for existing heat pumps. You'll still need an EPC no more than 2 years old and without recommendations for loft top up or cavity fill. Unfortunately the non-domestic RHI has ended. Non domestic schemes under 45kW will be able to claim the Boiler Upgrade Scheme grant, there is no subsidy for anything over 45kW at the moment.

Dave Green has fitted an air souirce heat pump to his own home and is pleased with its performance to date, full figures will be available in Spring 2022. .

If you require any further advice please contact Dave Green, info@davegreenenergy.co.uk

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