What is a heat pump?
A heat pump is an item that heats your house without consuming any fossil fuels. It heats your home for less than a condensing boiler. It acts much like a gas or oil boiler, though it doesn’t require an oil tank or a gas line in the house. It uses electricity as its power source; however, it is very efficient at doing so. Modern condensing boilers are around 90% efficient. Our Heat pumps are over 400% efficient making them nZeb certified and grant eligible under the new SEAI grants for heatpumps in existing homes.
We recommend you read the SEAI Homeowners Guide to heatpumps.
Why should I use a heat pump to heat my house?
That’s easy to answer. There are a few reasons:
- It heats your house for 50% less than a condensing boiler.
- It will help you meet Part L in the building regulations.
- It greatly increases your BER rating on the house as your home is greener.
- It consumes no oil or gas.
- It works very well with todays’ heating systems containing underfloor heating and low temperature aluminium rads.
A very brief history on heat pumps…
Heat pumps have been used in Europe for decades!
Scandinavian countries mainly use heat pumps to heat their homes as they offer many benefits over a boiler. The air and soil temperatures in these countries are much lower than we get in Ireland and heat pumps are still used instead of boilers. Heat Pumps are new to Ireland, but that’s because the quality of our housing stock was quite low. Now that houses are better insulated, it’s possible to use heat pumps in Ireland.
How do they work?
There are a few different types of heat pump available. The differences are described below but they all work under the same principle. They compress a refrigerant gas and when this happens, the gas gives off huge amounts of heat. This heat is then transmitted into your heating system.
What are the different types of heat pumps?
An air source heat pump uses external air as its source of energy. Low levels of heat are extracted from the external air and it is then amplified by the refrigerant gas. This is the most common form of heat pump and it is simple and cheap to install.
A ground source heat pump uses soil as its source of energy. Low levels of heat is extracted from the soil and it is then amplified by the refrigerant gas. This is the next most common form of heat pump, is simple to install and has a higher efficiency when compared to air source heat pumps. It costs slightly more to install when compared to an air source heat pump, though the lifespan of the system is extended.
A water source heat pump uses a lake, pond or river as its source of energy. Low levels of heat is extracted from the water and it is then amplified by the refrigerant gas. This is the least common form of heat pump as obviously most people don’t have a lake, river or large pond in their garden! It costs a similar amount as a ground source heat pump to install and has the highest efficiency of all heat pumps.
Does every new home have a heat pump?
Heat pumps are for people and buildings that meet some simple criteria. If you move to a heat pump, you need to re-think how you use your heating system. Heat pumps are always “on”, just like your fridge. If you want cold milk at 8am, it doesn’t mean you have to turn on our fridge at 6am. A fridge or heat pump works far better when it’s left on. It’s actually far cheaper to leave it on, as opposed to turning it on and off each day.
The criteria you need to consider is as follows:
- Your house should be very well insulated to at least the current building regulation standards. If the insulation is not of a good standard, consider insulating the house first.
- Your heating system should have underfloor heating (pipes in the floor) or low temperature rads – not standard rads.
- You should enjoy a warm house and not treat heat as an absolute luxury. If you don’t want a permanently warm house, then you might be better with a condensing boiler.
- You need space for the outdoor unit which is around 1.5m high x 0.5m deep x 1m wide.
I think I’m interested in a heat pump, what’s next?
To get a budget price, just call or email us with a floor area for the house. We will provide you with a budget or guide price for the installation. It will always be close to an actual figure. If you want a full deisgn pack with heatpump size, part L compliance confirmation and design service, we charge €180 for this.
If you want a full quote, then email us in your house plans, along with your BER assessors XML file. He/she will know what this is. If you don’t yet have a BER assessor, then we will act as your BER assessor. Read more on this here.
Heat pumps work best with underfloor heating.