The heat pump is the ideal heating and cooling solution for homes. They’re great at keeping your home cozy in winter, but what do you need to know about them? We’ve put together a complete guide to heat pumps that will help you decide whether it’s right for your home.
Heat pumps are an excellent way of providing warm or cool air to your living space. Using energy from the sun, they can be used to keep your home nice and toasty on cold days and also cool it down during summer. They work by pushing hot air out into the atmosphere and drawing cooler air in through vents.
There are two types of heat pump: ground source heat pump and air source heat pump. The former uses groundwater heated naturally underground as its primary source of heat, while the latter heats the air around your house with the help of solar-powered fans.
In this article, we’ll look at both of these types of heat pumps – how they work and which ones are best suited for your home.
Ground Source Heating (GSH)
Ground source heating is essentially a type of geothermal heating system, where the earth is used as a natural heat source. It works by using pipes deep underground, usually beneath your home, to extract warmth from the soil. This underground network is connected to radiators located above ground, which then distribute the heat throughout your property.
This method has been around since ancient Rome, although it was largely replaced by fossil fuels until recently. Nowadays, however, GSH can be a more cost effective and environmentally friendly option compared to traditional methods. It’s also the most efficient form of heating available, meaning you only use as much energy as you would if you were using conventional gas or oil heating.
These systems have several advantages over other forms of heat pump technology. First, they’re cheaper than air source heat pumps because they don’t require any external power sources. Also, unlike solar-powered air heating systems, you won’t get any benefits from sunlight when installing a GSH unit. However, there’s one downside – installing a GSH system takes longer than installing an air source heat pump, so make sure you allow enough time before starting the process.
The next step is to dig a trench around three meters wide and one meter deep. You can then line this trench with polyethylene pipe, which should last for 10 years. Next, put a small hole in the side of the trench and install a thermometer. In the winter, you should see temperatures of between 15°C and 18°C (59°F and 64°F).
For spring, summer, and autumn months, the temperature should rise to between 25°C and 30°C (77°F and 86°F), although this may vary depending on the local climate. As you’d expect, the lower the temperature outside, the higher the temperature inside your home, so you may find yourself spending less time heating up your home.
If you live in an area with a high incidence of frost, you may want to consider installing a secondary system under your home. These units are designed to take the place of your main GSH unit in case of a frosty night, allowing you to continue heating your home without having to dig up the entire property.
Ground source heat pumps are becoming increasingly popular, particularly in areas with a milder climate. If you happen to live somewhere with a long, harsh winter, you might want to think twice before installing one though.
Air Source Heating (ASHP)
Air source heat pumps use electricity to create airflow around your house, thereby helping to maintain your desired temperature levels. These systems rely on fans, which move warm air away from your property and draw cooler air back into your home.
They’re generally more expensive than their ground source counterparts, but they come with a number of advantages. For example, they’re able to provide higher levels of comfort and efficiency than a standard heater. Because they have fewer moving parts, they’re quieter too, which means they won’t disturb your neighbors.
As well as being eco-friendly, ASHP units are also very economical. Air source heat pumps can produce savings of up to 50% compared to traditional gas and oil fired central heating units.
However, not all homes are suitable for installation of an air source heat pump. Before getting started, make sure your property doesn’t suffer from draughts or excessive moisture. Any cracks in the walls and windows must be sealed off, and your roof needs to have a waterproof membrane installed. You should also ensure that the chimney hasn’t become blocked with debris.
Next, measure the size of your property. An accurate estimate will allow you to calculate how many BTU’s you need for each square foot of living space. Once you have this information, contact a specialist contractor who will carry out your requirements.
You’ll need to have a ventilation system installed either inside or outside, according to the manufacturer. Make sure that the ducts are fitted correctly, preferably from the start. If you have a blockage, the unit could malfunction and stop working.
Once everything is ready, the final step is simply plugging everything in. Each room requires a dedicated fan, which is plugged directly into the wall. After a few minutes, you should begin to notice a change in temperature.
Although air source heat pumps are becoming increasingly popular, they’re still relatively new and aren’t yet as common as ground source heat pumps. Therefore, you might struggle to find contractors who specialize in these systems. If you’re looking for reliable advice, look no further than the Energy Saving Trust.
In terms of price, you can expect to pay between £4,000 and £6,000 for an installation. This includes everything apart from the initial excavation work. Depending on how big your property is, you may need to add another £1,500 per year for maintenance costs.
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