What Is a Heat Pump?
Pretty much every household is equipped with a type of heat pump; your fridge and freezer are both essentially heat pumps. In simple terms, your fridge and freezer work by collecting heat energy from one place, such as their inside, and they transfer this energy to the back or outside of the fridge using a cycle of compressing and evaporating a special gas. A heat pump does the same, but it collects energy from outside air, the ground, water in a lake, or underground and it then uses this energy to heat air or water; such as heating radiators or underfloor heating.
Why Would Someone Want a Heat Pump?
Basically, a heat pump uses electricity very efficiently to produce heating or hot water. It will generally be around four times better than using a standard electric heater.
How Does a Heat Pump Work and What Makes It so Efficient?
The heat pump, unlike a simple electric heater, does not just convert electrical energy into heat energy. The pump instead uses the electrical energy to drive a compressor, which uses a special sealed gas circuit. The gas goes round and round within the system, in order to collect heat energy from outside of the house, such as air, water, or the ground, and it then converts the energy into useful heat, which can warm radiators or underfloor heating.
Surely, When the Weather Is Really Cold, There Is No Energy to Collect?
Air source heat pumps will cope with low ambient air, but in this case, the collector will start to ice up. Sensors will carefully monitor the ice and look at the efficiency of the heat pump and, when needed, the heat pump will reverse and heat the collector to clear the ice within a few minutes before resuming its heat cycle. Water source heat pumps are generally designed not to extract too much heat, and they will freeze or shut off if this happens. Due to this, some systems use indirect collectors filled with anti-freeze.
What Is the Best Type of Heat Pump - Ground, Air or Water Source?
Air source becomes less efficient as it gets colder, and the collector has to be defrosted in very cold weather. There are a number of advantages to using air sources, however, such as the fact that they are cheaper and easier to install and they do not take up much room. Air source heat pumps have also become very effective over the last few years, as the gas technology has progressed. With regards to ground sources, if the collector is designed and installed correctly, ground source heat pumps will maintain a constant efficiency, regardless of air temperature. The ground source heat pumps, however, require a large ground area and longer more expensive installation. Water source pumps need a lake, river, or bore hole to work efficiently. Bore holes can be expensive to produce, but take less ground area and offer constant high efficiency.
Is a Heat Pump the Best Heating Solution? Why Might One Be Good for Me?
Considerations regarding mains power supply size may need to be taken into account. Ideal situations for heat pumps are where there are no piped gas sources, or on new builds, where under floor heating or low temperature radiators can be used. Under floor heating requires lower temperature water, which is ideal for heat pumps and makes the system even more efficient. As a heat pump runs on electricity, it eradicates the need for delivered gas and oil and is considerably cheaper than fossil fuels.
Contact us in Carterton, Oxfordshire, to find out more FAQs about our heat pump installations, and our team will be happy to assist you.