Heat Pumps Explained: The Technology, the Advantages and the Future

Mitsubishi Ecodan Airsource Heat Pump

The UK’s heating system stock is currently largely reliant on mains gas, oil and LPG systems. Around 85% of homes in the UK have boilers that use natural gas, which gives off carbon dioxide when burnt. With 20% of UK carbon emissions being created just by heating buildings, and a national target of achieving net zero by 2050, a greener way to keep us warm is needed. Heat pumps are widely seen as the solution; these work by utilising electricity to extract heat from the air or ground and use this warm water in radiators and underfloor heating systems. Caplor Energy have been successfully installing heat pumps in Herefordshire and further afield for the last five years and are on track to have delivered their 200th installation by the end of 2021.

How Exactly Do Heat Pumps Work?

In simple terms, a heat pump is a device that transfers heat from an external source (such as the heat in the ground or air) to another location (such as the hot water system or central heating in a house). For example, air source heat pumps (ASHPs) absorb heat from the outside air. This heat can then be used to heat radiators, underfloor heating systems, or warm air convectors and hot water in your building.

An ASHP works a bit like a refrigerator in reverse. The process consists of an evaporator, a compressor and a condenser. The ASHP absorbs heat from the outside air into a liquid at a low temperature, then the heat pump compressor increases the temperature of that heat. In the condenser, the hot liquid’s heat is transferred to your heating and hot-water circuits so you can use it to warm up your premises or home.

What are the Advantages of Heat Pumps?

Heat pumps provide many benefits as heating and hot water systems, including the following:

  • Lower fuel bills, particularly if you are replacing conventional electric heating, LPG or oil.
  • Lower carbon emissions, depending on which heat source you are replacing
  • Increased safety when compared with combustion-based systems
  • Minimal maintenance required
  • A long-life span, delivering a reliable and steady source of heat

 

Modern heat pumps are also incredibly quiet; Caplor Energy install market-leading models from Mitsubishi and LG, which run more quietly than a typical domestic refrigerator. Heat pumps are fully capable of matching the same water temperatures as traditional boilers, but due to their longer-term, more efficient operating cycles, they don’t need to do so in order to keep rooms warm, particularly when combined with suitable radiators designed to perform with the lower flow rates. These systems are an incredibly efficient means of generating heat; for every kilowatt of electricity given to a heat pump, it will create between 2-4 kilowatts of heat. This makes heat pumps up to four times more efficient than traditional boilers, which typically create 0.9kW of heat per kW of gas. Electricity from renewable sources already accounts for a significant proportion of UK domestic power generation (43% in 2020), and this percentage is only set to increase, with a UK government target of 100% by 2035. This means the energy powering heat pumps is already very green, and only set to become greener.

 

What about the future outlook?

The opportunity heat pumps present to reduce carbon emissions associated with heating is already well understood by policymakers, and is reflected in buildings legislation. The Future Homes Standard seeks to ensure that new homes built from 2025 will produce 75-80% less CO2 emissions than homes delivered under current regulations. No new homes will be able to connect to the gas network from 2025 and will be required to utilise a low-carbon heating source, such as a heat pump.

Meanwhile, many owners of existing properties are already choosing to make the transition, with heat pump installation numbers in 2021 already at 120% of 2019 levels. This has and will continue to be supported with government funding; Currently, the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) makes quarterly payments over a period of 7 years, based on the amount of heat generated. This scheme will be closed to applications in March 2022, but will be replaced by the Boiler Upgrade Scheme. The new scheme will offer grants of £5,000 for air-source heat pumps, and £6,000 for ground-source heat pump installations from a total fund of £450 million when it launches in April 2022.

I’m interested in finding out more, where do I start?

If you’d like to understand what heat pump solution would work best for your property, reach out to a well-established, accredited and experienced provider with a demonstrable track record of high customer satisfaction. Herefordshire-based Caplor Energy have a five-star Trustpilot rating, and are approved by leading heat pump manufacturers. As a family business with the core values of inspirational sustainable improvement at their heart, their friendly, enthusiastic team have a proven track record of successful installations across a wide range of domestic and commercial properties, and pride themselves on their professional approach to developments large and small.

To find out more, get in touch with Caplor Energy on 01432 860 644

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