Heat pumps the pros and cons

Ever heard of heat pumps? You may not have, as they are not quite as popular in the UK yet as they are in other parts of Europe. However, they are beginning to increase in popularity and becoming a more sustainable alternative to burning fossil fuels (such as gas and electricity) to heat and cool your home. We thought it was time to explore this option a little further and tell you a little more about heat pumps and their advantages and disadvantages.

What are heat pumps?

There are two types, ground source and air source. Air source are easier and less disruptive to install so we will focus on those in this article. They work by extracting heat from outside and circulating it through your home using a compressor to pump hot water through your heating system – a little like how a fridge works. During the summer months it can be reversed to pump cooler air and act like an air conditioning unit. Air-to-water heat pumps use your central heating system to circulate heat and hot water, while air-to-air heat pumps use fans to circulate the air.

What are the advantages?

There are a number of benefits to fitting a heat pump to your home:

  • Overall, they are more environmentally friendly and have a lower carbon footprint than fossil fuel systems such as boilers. This can be reduced even further by opting for your electricity to come from renewable sources such as photovoltaic panels or wind turbines
  • They can provide both heating and cooling with the one system. No more wishing you had an air conditioning unit during those hot summer months!
  • They can have a 20-year lifespan, giving you peace of mind without worrying about replacement or upgrades
  • They are more efficient than conventional oil or gas boilers
  • They will create energy savings off your next bills
  • No fuel storage or deliveries required
  • Can be installed in a matter of days
  • Can add value to your home in the medium- to long term

What are the disadvantages?

As with anything there is a flip side. The disadvantages of heat pumps include:

  • They are more expensive to install as the technology is newer than that of conventional heating systems
  • They require larger radiators to achieve the same level of heating, however, they are particularly compatible with underfloor heating systems
  • They can be somewhat noisy, a little like an air conditioner
  • For best energy efficiency results your home should have high levels of insulation
  • You may require planning permission, but this will depend on your local authority so worth checking this on the Government’s Planning Portal

Other things to consider

If you are considering installing an air source heat pump, it’s worth looking into the possibility of a government grant. These are available for home owners, through the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive, and for businesses through the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive.

For more information and some advice on whether or not heat pumps may be right for you our expert team at JP Air Conditioning is here to guide you. Call us on 02083331191 or drop us a line at info@jpaircon.com for a chat or quote.