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Updated: July 7, 2024

In recent years, heat pumps have increased in popularity across the UK. They offer a range of benefits and use modern technology. Heat pumps have become a great option for people who want to get a new heating system. 

But what are heat pumps and how do they work? Well, in this blog, we’ll try to dive into the heat pump world and try to discover their pros and cons.

How do heat pumps work?

Heat pumps transfer heat from outside your home into the inside during winter and vice versa in summer months. Heat pumps use electricity in order to move heat from a cool space to a warm area. So they have the ability to make your home warm in winter and cold in summer. And to enhance comfort in your home, heat pumps can also dehumidify indoor air.

Is a heat pump worth the investment?

How many types of heat pumps are there?

There are Two main types of heat pumps are available:

Air source heat pumps

Air source heat pumps work by transferring the heat from the outside air (even in cold weather) and moving it inside to make your home warmer. A heat pump can absorb the heat and compress it in order to increase its temperature. This warm air is then circulated throughout your home to provide heating or hot water. 

The best thing about heat pumps is that they use so much less electricity than traditional heating systems. In short, they are cost-effective as well as eco-friendly.

Ground source heat pumps

A ground source heat pump, on the other hand, works differently by harnessing the natural heat stored in the ground. This can be achieved by burying pipes that contain water and antifreeze in your garden or under your house. This antifreeze liquid can absorb heat from the ground and transfer it into your home. This heat will be used to warm up your underfloor heating, radiators or hot water system. 

Ground source heat pumps can be more efficient because the ground has a relatively stable temperature throughout the year. That is why they are both eco-friendly and reliable. 

What are the advantages of heat pumps?

Efficiency

When it comes to efficiency, we can easily say that heat pumps are quite efficient. Instead of generating heat, they just move it from one place to another. A heat pump produces lower carbon emissions so it is an environmentally friendly heating option. 

Year-round operation

Heat pumps can heat your home during winter and some models can also cool it during summer. So they aré useful in all seasons. 

Lower energy bills

Heat pumps can significantly lower your energy bills and save you money because of their high efficiency ratings. 

Long lasting

Heat pumps can last for many years, granted that they are regularly maintained. 

Safety

Since heat pumps don’t require running on any flammable fuel, they reduce the chances of accidents taking place.

Is a heat pump suitable for my property?

What are the disadvantages of heat pumps?

High initial cost

The initial cost of a heat pump can be higher than other heating systems. That being said, heat pumps are a great investment because they are quite cost-effective in the long run. 

Climate dependence

Heat pumps are likely to be less efficient in extremely cold weather conditions. However, manufacturers are always pushing for new technological advancement to make heat pumps as efficient as possible even in cold weather.

Are heat pumps worth it?

The main drawback of getting a heat pump is the high initial cost. However, heat pumps can save you money on energy bills in the long run. 

Moreover, the type of heat pump and your financial state can also influence whether your heat pump is worth the investment or not.

Air source heat pumps are less expensive than ground source heat pumps. You can get some air source models for less money than expected. However, keep in mind that these cheap models can not last as long as the expensive ones. 

The UK government has made £450 million of funding available to installers due to the high cost of heat pump installation. This is known as the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) and it has been established to reduce the high cost of a heat pump for homeowners. 

You can get £5,000 or £6,000 in grants from the BUS, depending on the type of heat pump you choose to get. 

Are there other alternatives to heat pumps?

If you find heat pumps to be expensive and want to get another alternative, then there are other options you can choose from. 

Hybrid systems (a gas or oil boiler + a heat pump)

Using a gas or an oil boiler combined with a heat pump is a great alternative to only using a heat pump. This can work well for old homes with radiators that are small in size. 

Gas or oil boilers usually work at a water flow temperature of 65 to 75°C. On the other hand, most heat pumps work at a water flow temperature of 40 to 45°C. That is why heat pumps might not be able to heat older homes with the required temperature without having to replace the radiators. 

So by combining these two systems together, they will be able to provide enough heat for your home even when the weather is quite chilly. 

Electric boilers

Electric boilers are an eco-friendly alternative to heat pumps because they don’t use natural gas. Additionally, they are significantly cheaper and simpler to install than heat pumps. When installing an electric boiler, it’s unlikely that your home would need new water storage cylinders or radiators.

Is a heat pump expensive to run?

When connected to the appropriate heating system, heat pumps can be more energy-efficient than traditional boilers. They can generate about four times more energy using the same amount of power, potentially making them more cost-effective to operate than traditional gas or oil boilers.

Do heat pumps require maintenance?

Heat pumps need to be serviced at least once a year and require regular maintenance. And sometimes they require cleaning or replacing air filters monthly. 

Are heat pumps energy efficient?

Heat pumps are quite energy-efficient. They can produce around four times as much energy as they consume, making them more efficient than traditional gas or oil boilers.