Heat Pumps

Heat Pumps are a highly efficient way to heat your home with a typical coefficient of performance (COP) of 3 or over. This means that they can turn 1 kilowatt of electricity into 3 kilowatts of heat. A gas or oil boiler will turn 1 kilowatt of electricity into 0.9 kilowatts of heat.

Heat pumps are best paired with underfloor heating or large radiators which give out heat for longer periods but at a lower temperature. This is because heat pumps work more efficiently at a lower temperature than standard boiler systems. You will need space in your home for a hot water cylinder, which is often placed in an airing cupboard.

 

Air source heat pumps (ASHP) 

Extract heat from the air, compress it, and use it to heat your house.  A fan unit is placed outside, preferably in a south facing location, with good ventilation. This absorbs heat from the air into a liquid refrigerant. This fluid then passes through a compressor where the temperature is increased.

ASHPs require space for an external fan unit.  This is ideally a well-ventilated South-facing area, within around 20m of the property. 

 

Ground source heat pumps (GSHP)

Extract heat from the ground and feed it into your heating system.  Looped pipework is placed underground and used to extract heat from the ground by circulating a mixture of water and anti-freeze.  This fluid absorbs low level heat from the ground and carries it to the heat pump where it enters a heat exchanger and compressor. 

The fluid is then transferred to the heating components of the house, i.e. water filled radiators and underfloor heating. The rest is stored in a hot water cylinder which can be used for showers, baths and taps.

GSHPs require land for the pipework, and there are three ways in which the loop can be placed in the ground depending on the amount of land available. The type of soil around your property is important in determining whether a ground source heat pump is suitable.