Heat Pumps FAQ’s

How does a heat pump work?

Heat pumps work the same as your fridge/freezer at home but in reverse. They take the (heat) energy that already exists in the air around us, to heat a refrigerant liquid which has an incredibly low boiling point and turns it into gas. This gas is then forced through a compressor that causes it to heat up to a usable temperature. The gas is then passed over a heat exchanger so that the heat can be used around your home, and the gas can be returned to the outside heat pump to be cooled back to a liquid form and the process starts again.

Do heat pumps work when it’s snowing outside?

Yes. There is heat energy in air until you get to ‘absolute zero’ which is -273.16oC. But in practice heat pumps can work to about -15oC and are designed to work at -3oC efficiently in your home. As the refrigerant liquid in the heat pump needs very little heat to reach boiling point and turn to gas, it means you can get enough heat energy out of even at very low temperatures.

Why are heat pumps so efficient?

75% of the (heat) energy from a heat pump comes from the natural energy already present in the air or ground around us. So, if a heat pump used 1kW of energy to heat a home, it would produce 4kW of heat, at a 400% efficiency rate. This is difficult to understand so we use the term Coefficient of Performance (CoP) of 4.

Do heat pumps really save money?

If a heat pump is installed correctly, they will significantly reduce your heating bills. They extract 75% of their energy from renewable heat sources around them which dramatically reduces the running cost.

Heat pumps still need an electrical supply for them to run off which is more expensive than gas. But as you need much less energy to produce the heat, 1kW of energy creates 4kW of heat energy, you will save money.

What is the cost of installing a heat pump?

Heat pumps are cheaper than gas boilers to run as they are much more efficient, by as much as 400% or COP (Coefficient of Performance) of 4. They do use electricity to run which is more expensive than gas, but this extra cost is offset by the heat pump’s efficiency savings. So you can save as much as 50% off your heating bill.

Installing a heat pump is where the main cost will come. As they work at a much lower flow temperature, you may have to upgrade your radiators to accommodate for a larger flow capacity to achieve the same temperature.

Heat pumps cost between £5,000 to £8,000 to install on average. But this does depend on the size of your property, how good the insulation is, and what system of heat pump you go for.

You could also be eligible for the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive grant, our team can talk you through the option when we design your system.

Do heat pumps really reduce my carbon footprint?

Yes. A correctly installed heat pump will reduce an average 3 bed family home by 2/3 tonnes of carbon every year, as the main source of their energy comes from renewable heat. And as the UK power grid moves from coal and gas to renewable energy, the electricity used to power the heat pump will also become much cleaner.

How big is an air source heat pump?

It depends on the size of pump you need to heat your home, but most of the smaller units will fit under a window. The average size is about 1m X 1.1m X 0.4m.

Do I need planning permission to install a heat pump?

Heat pumps come under ‘permitted development’ so most of England, Wales and Scotland do not require planning permission. This is unless you live in a conservation area where you will have to check with the local planning authority before installing.

Can I use my existing radiators?

As heat pumps run at a much lower flow temperature through your property you will most likely have to change your pipework and radiator sizes to get the same average target temperature you want. We design all our systems to 19oC to 21oC depending on the room requirement.

What temperatures can a heat pump achieve?

At Meco homes we design all our systems to the clients needs. A heat pump will easily get rooms to temperatures of 25oC. Below are our recommended room temperatures.

Bathrooms: 22oC
Bedrooms: 19oC
Living Rooms: 21oC
Kitchens: 19oC

How noisy is a heat pump?

Heat pumps do make noise. On average from 40 to 60 decibels. This is the same noise level as a conversation or rainfall. Air source heat pumps manufacturers have made huge efforts over the last few years to design quiet systems for the home environment. Now all well installed heat pumps are very quiet and will not be heard if you are a metre or two away.

Will getting a heat pump increase the value of my home?

As this is a newish technology for home heating, there is little evidence that it actually increases the value of the property. However, with more people looking at eco, green sustainable living, and fuel savings, a heat pump could be a benefit to the right buyer. Also, a home with a highly efficient heat system will more likely sell over an old gas, oil heating system.

Heat pumps are also cheaper to run than gas boilers. So if you know you are going to pay less to heat your home, you are going to be more likely to pay slightly more for the property.

Can a heat pump heat underfloor heating?

Underfloor heating is an incredibly efficient way to heat a modern home as it is designed to heat the home at a lower flow temperature often at 35oC. This makes it very compatible with heat pump technology. You can get the most efficient COP (Coefficient of Performance) results using underfloor heating designed to a heat pump system.

We can design you a total system of underfloor heating to work with your heat pump to efficiently heat your home. This will also allow you to have more wall space as you will not need radiators. It also gives off a more comfortable heat.

Underfloor heating does have a few disadvantages, it takes a long time to heat up or turn down so you do need to think about when you start heating your house. If you get up at 7am you will need to start heating up the floor an hour or two before. You are also limited on what carpets you can put on top of them as high TOG count carpets will insulate the heat and not let it all through.

Do you want more information on heat pumps?

Find out more about our heat pumps services.