Heat Pumps

heat pump

Heat pump image from yum9me on Flickr

What is a heat pump?

A heat pump is an electrically powered unit consisting of a compressor and a pair of heat exchangers which is able to tap the natural thermal energy stored in the earth, air or water and use this to heat your home and provide hot water. They can also provide cooling systems.

How do they work?

They work in a similar way to a fridge, but the other way round. Instead of taking heat from the fridge and putting it into the air, it takes heat from the source and puts it into another environment. They do use some electricity to pump the heat but for each kilowatt of electricity used to run the heat pump, three or four kilowatts are produced.

Can I heat my house from a heat pump?

Yes you can but your property should be extremely well insulated to ensure maximum benefit. If there is a lot of heat loss then this can add substantially to the cost of installation.

What are the environmental aspects of heat pumps?

Heat pumps are very environmentally friendly – there are no emissions, and if you use renewable energy from your own sources, or buy it in from your electricity company, then the whole system will be run from clean and renewable sources.

How much does it cost?

This of course depends on the size of your property, how well insulated it is and whether it is new build or will be fitted to an existing building. In a new, well-insulated, medium-sized building, the cost would be around £6000 excluding VAT. Running costs after installation, compare favourably to oil and electric run heating systems. Maintenance costs are minimal.


Further Information on the renewable heat technology

Alternative Technology Centre

The Energy Savings Trust

Heat Pump Association

Yorkshire and Humber Microgeneration partnership

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