With the rising popularity of renewable energy sources, heat pumps have become effective alternatives to fossil fuels and can significantly reduce your utility bills, or better yet, make you earn money through RHI for heat pumps.
What is a heat pump?
In simple terms, a heat pump is a device that transfers heat from a source (soil, water or air) to another location. Heat pumps use a small amount of electricity but often achieve a 200%-600% efficiency rate. The amount of heat produced is much higher than the energy consumed.
Air source heat pumps use the principles of vapour compression to generate heat. THey use outdoor air to produce heat to your home. ASHPs consist of 4 major elements that allow the refrigerant to pass from the liquid form to gas: a compressor, a condenser, an expansion valve, and an evaporator.
When the refrigerant passes through the system, it absorbs the heat from the outside air. Then, the compressor increases the heat by increasing the pressure. In the condenser, this higher temperature heat is transferred to the heating and hot-water circuits of your home. After that, the medium temperature liquid flows into the expansion valve where upon the release of pressure, its temperature also drops. Finally, the now cooled down liquid is returned to absorb more heat from the air and repeat the process.
ASHPs can be used for heating water for domestic use, radiators, and underfloor heating. Such systems are called air-to-water heat pumps. If suddenly a large amount of hot water is needed, they are also equipped with an electrical resistance heating element that would supply additional heated water (at a lower efficiency rate, though).
Alternatively, air source systems can be used for heating and cooling the indoors air using air-to-air heat pumps. These work similarly to an air conditioning unit but can both heat and cool the house efficiently, adding tot he list of benefits of air-to-air systems
Factors to consider when buying a Heat Pump
Government Incentive Schemes
The British government provides two separate programmes to support the installation of sustainable heating systems:
- Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which is open to homeowners, social landlords, private landlords and self-builders.
- Non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive which is open to the public sector, organisations, and businesses.
Concerning the domestic RHI tariffs, these incentives guarantee certain prices for the heat generated for 7 years after application.
Warranty periods of Heat Pumps
Heat pump systems normally have a warranty of 2 or 3 years with the option of extended warranty. For example, a warranty for the workmanship of the system usually lasts for about 10 years.
Planning Permissions for Heat Pumps
As heat pumps usually fall into the category of favourable renewable energy, often there is no need for planning permissions. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
Heat Pump’s lifespan
A heat pump’s lifespan is approximately 15 years or more. With thorough maintenance, a heat pump’s lifespan can range up to 50 years.
Check out our article on 10 Myths of Heat Pumps!
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