The truth about heat pumps – dispelling the myths

The truth about heat pumps – dispelling the myths

More and more homeowners are installing air source heat pump systems in their homes, opting to make their central heating system more sustainable with a low carbon heating solution. Amongst the many positive experiences, there are also a selection of ‘heat pump myths’ which can make some prospective heat pump owners question the technology – let us dispel those myths in this article.

Air source heat pumps are becoming a hot topic of conversation thanks to their increased prominence which has been generated by the ongoing discussions surrounding climate change and reducing carbon emissions. A renewable technology (you can read more about how heat pumps work here), air source heat pumps provide homeowners with a reliable, green solution to fulfil their heating and hot water needs. However, there are some myths in circulation that could, at a glance, put households off from incorporating this technology into their homes so let us take a look at some ‘heat pump myths’ and address them.

Myth | Heat pumps are expensive to install
While the average cost of an air source heat pump installation is more than a standard boiler installation, there is financial support available which can help offset the installation costs. Homeowners in Scotland who install renewable heating technologies could be eligible for funding or an interest-free loan and for homeowners throughout England and Wales, the Boiler Upgrade Scheme is available. 

Myth | Heat pumps are not suitable for older properties
Air source heat pumps are suitable for both new build homes and older properties. With new builds, insulation and other energy-efficient measures are installed during the early stages of the development which makes them heat pump ready immediately. With older properties, it is important that any heat loss from the property is reduced so some homes (not all) may need to consider loft insulation, wall insulation or double glazing to give just a few examples of the ways in which heat loss can be prevented. Once a property is suitably insulated with appropriate measures, a heat pump can be installed. As some of our case studies show, plenty of Grant heat pumps have been successfully fitted retrospectively into existing properties. To learn more about how an existing home can get ready for an air source heat pump, please read one of our other Knowledge Hub articles.

Myth | Heat pump do not operate below 0ºC
Grant’s Aerona³ air source heat pumps are designed to operate in air temperatures between -20ºC up to 43ºC so they can operate below freezing. The Aerona³ has built-in frost protection which is a clever mechanism that automatically initiates a defrost cycle to prevent ice building up on the unit’s fans and ensuring successful operation even when the temperature drops to below 0ºC. Although the heat pump’s efficiencies will not be as high performing in low outdoor temperatures compared to warmer temperatures, the Aerona³ will continue to work efficiently even during the colder months.

Myth | Heating bills increase with a heat pump
Air source heat pumps use electricity so after installing a heat pump, electricity bills can increase slightly but, remember, there will no longer be fuel bills such as gas or oil. Of course, during the winter months when the heating demand is higher, a heat pump unit will be operating more and during this period, electricity usage will also increase. However, this usage will even out when the entire year is taken into account. Between November and February, it is estimated that a heat pump will use 63% of its annual energy usage with minimal energy consumption during the rest of year so it is recommended that homeowners research the most competitive electricity tariffs and evenly spread their electricity payments throughout the year. Also keep in mind that heat pump running costs are greatly affected by the system efficiency, set up and commissioning.

What is important is that homeowners select a qualified, trained installer to fit their air source heat pump. Air source heat pump installations require in-depth planning and design to make sure that the right heat pump model is selected and that suitable heat emitters are sized and installed. Corners must not be cut otherwise the heat pump may not be able to operate to its best.

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