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Dispelling the myths around heat pumps
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Dispelling the myths around heat pumps

The number of air source heat pumps being installed is increasing year on year and as we move towards achieving net zero, these figures are only going to increase. This renewable technology presents installers with new opportunities to develop their businesses so in this blog, we are going address some of the misconceptions about air source heat pumps.

Air source heat pump technology has significantly evolved in recent years and while an old heat pump of yesteryear may have had a poor reputation, today, heat pumps are a reliable, low carbon heating solution which are going to play a major part in the future of the heating industry. More and more installers are completing heat pump training and adding this renewable technology to their business offering, strengthening their expertise and broadening their customer base. However, the so called ‘heat pump myths’ are preventing some installers from stepping into the heat pump sector so I would like to explore these, highlighting the facts and eliminating the myths!

Myth | Consumer demand for heat pumps is low
There can be no denying that homeowner interest in air source heat pumps is growing. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of their impact on the environment and are actively looking at ways in which they can reduce their carbon footprint. The Government’s Clean Growth Strategy is going to shape legislation that will move the market away from fossil fuels, making homeowners transition from high carbon heating systems to greener, more sustainable alternatives. Understanding and education on low carbon heating technologies is more widespread as well so, overall, the awareness of heat pumps amongst the consumer market is increasing day by day which in turn will result in increased demand for installers.

Myth | Heat pumps are only suitable for new builds
Air source heat pumps are an ideal solution for new builds because the necessary energy-efficient measures can be installed during the early phases of a property’s build. However, that is not to say that an air source heat pump is solely suited to new homes – far from it. The Aerona³ heat pump, for example, has been installed into many existing homes, being retrospectively fitted to replace an older heating system. A retrofit installation may involve the installation of additional roof or wall insulation or other measures to reduce heat loss from the property, but provided the entire system has been properly designed, with correctly sized heat emitters and the most suitable heat pump output, an older home can comfortably go green with an air source heat pump. Read some of our case studies to see evidence of this!

Myth | Heat pumps do not work efficiently in the winter months
If an air source heat pump has been installed correctly with the appropriate control parameters in place and with the rest of the system correctly set up as well, the unit will operate efficiently all year round. Heat pumps are designed to operate in low temperatures – Grant’s Aerona³ heat pump can operate in conditions as low as -20ºC – and while their SCOPs will not be as efficient when compared to operation in warmer outdoor temperatures, they still operate with good efficiencies. A heat pump will work considerably more in the winter months compared to the spring and summer but this should not be mistaken for inefficiency. Between November and February when a home’s heating and hot water demand is at its highest, a heat pump will use an estimated 63% of its annual energy usage so during these months, electricity usage can be expected to increase. However, this usage will significantly drop during the remaining months of the year when the heat pump’s energy consumption is very low.

Myth | Heat pump product training is not essential
It is incredibly important for installers who are not currently installing heat pumps to complete training on this technology before they start working with them. Without suitable product training to give installers a solid understanding of how heat pumps work and what maximises their performance, there is a risk of installations being completed incorrectly which can result in underperforming heat pumps and therefore unsatisfied end-users. Air source heat pumps are different to install compared to a conventional boiler – a heat pump installation will not be a ‘like for like’ replacement installation and, as previously mentioned, thorough design preparation is needed – you can take a look at one of our other blogs to read more about what is involved in designing a heat pump system. Heat pump training from Grant UK is provided via practical courses at one of our Training Academies or online via the eLearning Academy so installers can choose the type of training that best suits them.

The myths we have hopefully dispelled in this blog are the ones that commonly arise amongst installers. There are also other heat pump myths that concern householders so please head over to our Knowledge Hub where we address those misconceptions as well.

John Morris
Renewables Business Development Manager at Grant UK