Why Invest in a Heat Pump in 2022?

In the UK one of the greatest challenges that we face is reversing the effects of climate change on our world is the decarbonisation of our heating systems.

The Government has set out to address the decarbonisation of our heating systems. In November 2020, Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister published a wide-ranging ten-point plan to help the UK go carbon Net Zero by 2050.

The plan established a target to install 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028. Earlier this year the government confirmed natural gas boilers and all other forms of fossil fuel heating will officially not be permitted in new homes from 2025.

More of us are becoming aware of our carbon footprint and are looking at alternatives to fossil fuels for heating our homes.

Here are two different options to consider when looking to upgrade or replace your current heating system.

Air Source Heat Pumps

The most popular type of air source heat pump (ASHP) in the UK is the air-to water model which absorbs heat from the outside air into a liquid refrigerant at a low temperature. They distribute heat via a wet central heating system and work efficiently at a lower temperature therefore they are more suitable for underfloor heating systems or larger radiators, which give out heat at lower temperatures over longer periods of time. ASHPs can still extract heat when air temperatures are as low as -15°Celcius!

Ground Source Heat Pumps

A ground source heat pump system (GSHP) harnesses naturally occurring heat from deep underground by pumping water through it in pipes. Ground source heat pump systems are made up of a ground loop (a network of water pipes buried underground) and a heat pump at ground level. The ground loop absorbs the naturally occurring heat stored in the ground, which is then compressed and goes through a heat exchanger, which extracts the heat and transfers it to the heat pump. The heat is then transferred to your home heating & hot water system. A ground source heat pump can increase the temperature from the ground to around 50°C.

Reasons why you should invest in a heat pump system in 2022:

1. Heat pumps are safer: Heat pumps are safer to own and operate compared to combustion-based heating systems as they rely on electricity and do not need to burn fuel to generate heat.
2. Maintains a comfortable environment: Heat pumps operate most efficiently when holding a steady temperature. You can however control which parts of your house are being heated by using a zoning system with smart controls. This allows you to have greater control over your Home Heating a tablet or smartphone. Some heat pumps are fitted with weather compensation control systems to assist the heat source and help it to work at its optimum operation which can also help lower running costs for home heating.
3. Lower operational costs: Often traditional heating systems are inefficient and poorly controlled. Heat pump systems that are correctly designed, well installed and well-operated will save you money in the long-term due to greater energy efficiency. Though ASHPs run on electricity they should use less electrical energy than the heat they produce. The efficiency of a heat pump is measured by their Coefficient of Performance (COP). That is the ratio of heat produced per unit of electricity consumed when pumping the heat. A COP value of 3 means that you get 3kWh of heat output for every 1kWh of electricity used to run the pump. The amount you save will depend on the type of fuel you currently use to heat your home with bigger savings against direct electric, LPG, oil and then gas. The costs associated with using gas are currently rising and likely to be much higher in the future as we switch over to renewable energy sources.
4. Less Carbon emissions: Heat pump systems will reduce your carbon emissions over time as they have an efficient conversion rate of energy to heat. An air source heat pump can operate at 300-400% efficiency and a ground source heat pump at 400-500% efficiency in terms of their use of electricity. At this efficiency level there will be significantly less carbon dioxide emissions than for a gas boiler heating system. If the electricity is provided by renewable energy, then carbon emissions can be reduced to zero. As a renewable technology heat pumps can also help you obtain planning permission for your self-build home.
5. Longevity: Heat pump systems can have a lifespan of up to 20 years for air source heat pumps and 25 years for ground source heat pumps with the right type of maintenance. Typically, the lifespan of a heat pump is twice that of a traditional boiler though ground source heat pumps will continue to be efficient for longer. Heat pumps are extremely reliable and a steady source of heat.
6. Provides cooling: Some heat pumps can be used for both heating and cooling. The process used by some heat pumps for heating can be reversed effectively making them an air conditioner. Air to air heat pumps which produce cooling are not classed as renewable technology and therefore can’t claim the Renewable Heat Incentive.
7. Eligibility for RHI scheme: The Renewable Heat Incentive is a government scheme to encourage people to switch to renewable heating systems. It was set up to cover the difference in the up-front capital cost between a fossil fuel boiler and a heat pump. If your application is accepted you’ll receive payments quarterly for seven years, to reimburse you for some of the cost of your heat pump installation. To find out more about the RHI Scheme visit The Ofgem website The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive for homeowners, self-builders and social and private landlords is the financial incentive scheme from the government which is set to close in March 2022 and will be replaced with the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) from 1st April 2022.
8. Flexibility for heat distribution options: Space heating can be delivered through any mixture of underfloor heating and low temperature radiators.

When you consider the advantages of installing a heat pump system you will discover you not only save money on your energy bills but reduce your carbon footprint at the same time helping the UK reach its net zero target of carbon emissions by 2050.

It is important however to make sure that you do the necessary research before buying the best heat pump for you and your home or your office and the best installer to fit it.

Lastly, the government’s Heat and Buildings strategy released by the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has introduced the Boiler Upgrade scheme, which will replace the RHI to encourage householders to switch to low-carbon heating systems. The scheme will offer £5,000 towards the cost of an ASHP upgrade from April 2022 and £6,000 for a GSHP. This will be good news for both the heat pump industry and the environment.

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