Have you been considering a heat pump for your home or business? It’s important to weigh up the pros and cons before making any investment. In this guide, we will be taking a closer look at heat pumps and giving you all the information you need to make an informed decision.
So, what exactly are heat pumps? Well, they are systems that move heat from one place to another by using a compressor and circulating a structure of liquid or gas refrigerant. By doing this, they extract heat from outside sources and then pump it indoors. What’s more, they use less electrical energy than typical heating methods. During the summer months, some models can even be reversed to act as air conditioners, making them multi-functional.
While heat pumps are popular in Europe, they have been slower to take off in the US. However, new government schemes to make switching to green energy easier and more affordable have increased the popularity of renewable energy technology among the American public.
Heat pumps are actually the most efficient alternative to fuel, oil, and electrical systems for heating and cooling. They supply more heating and cooling capacity than the electrical energy used to run them, with an efficiency rate that can go up as high as 300%.
But what about the cost of installing a heat pump? They can be pretty pricey, with the usual price range for a complete and all-inclusive installation of an air source heat pump between $8,000 and $14,000. Ground source heat pumps are even more expensive, costing between $18,000 and $30,000. Running costs will differ depending on your home, its insulation, and its size.
It’s important to note that the running costs for heat pumps will generally be lower than other systems, but the main differences will be seen once you switch from your current method of heating. For example, if you were to switch from gas heating, the savings figures would be lower than if you switched from electricity, which could save you over $500 per year.
One thing to remember when it comes to installing a heat pump is to ensure that it is done correctly. Always go with a reputable installer who will stay to explain how it works and the ideal settings for your home and location.
Now, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of heat pumps. Firstly, they are much safer than systems based on combustion and cheaper to run than oil and gas boilers. They also reduce your carbon emissions, have an efficient conversion rate of energy to heat, and require less maintenance than combustion heating systems. Plus, they can provide cooling during the summer months, making them effective air conditioners. They also have a very long lifespan of between 20 to 25 years, making them a reliable source of heat.
However, heat pump systems also have their disadvantages. They have a high start-up cost and can be difficult to install, as research must be undertaken to understand the movement of heat, local geology, and the heating and cooling requirements for your household. Some of the fluids used for heat transfer are of questionable sustainability and raise environmental concerns, but biodegradable fluids can be used instead. The installation process will also require significant work and disruption to your house and garden, including penetration of the walls. Some heat pumps also experience trouble in cold areas, which can damage the system and prevent full efficiency during the cold seasons. Electricity is also required to run heat pumps, meaning they will never be entirely carbon-neutral.