Thinking about changing your heating system and considering a heat pump?
It’s not surprising!!
More and more people in Ireland are looking for a clean and efficient way to heat their home that avoids nasty fossil fuels. This has led to an increase in popularity of heat pumps.
It is worth noting that a heat pump has a higher installation cost than a conventional boiler. However, a heat pump offers a more energy-efficient way of heating your home and water, so it is the optimal investment long term – by choosing a heat pump you are also reducing your carbon footprint, increasing the value of your home, and eliminating toxic chemicals from our skies.
Below we will cover everything from what a heat pump is, how it operates, who should install one to what brand you should choose.
What Exactly is a Heat Pump?
A heat pump is an environmentally friendly and extremely energy efficient alternative to oil, gas, solid fuel and conventional home heating systems. A heat pump takes energy from free renewable sources outside the home (such as the air, water or the ground) in order to heat the home and produce hot water.
A heat pump uses electricity to transfer heat from outside to warm your home, it works just like a refrigerator, except in reverse making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer.
Are There Different Types of Heat Pumps?
Some people may have heard of a heat pump without realising that there are several types on the market. The main types for domestic use are air sourced and ground sourced.
An air-to-water pump comes in two systems. One is a monobloc, where the entire kit is in the outside unit, which runs back to a standard hot water cylinder inside the house. The other is a split system, with an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. The indoor unit, about the same size as an American fridge-freezer, has a super-insulated thermal store for hot water. You do not need a separate hot water cylinder with a split system. If you are tight on space, the monobloc is a good option as you won’t need to sacrifice space for the internal unit.
Air to water heat pumps are without a doubt the most popular systems in Ireland at the moment. The main reason for this is the lower installation cost and they are less disruptive to install. Air to water heat pumps have also improved in efficiency over the years and have almost caught up with ground-to-water heat pumps.
Ground to water heat pumps collect the heat stored in the ground and send this into your home through buried pipes to heat your radiators and water. Although they are slightly more efficient than air-to-water systems, the ROI may not be as attractive due to the higher installation costs associated. You would need an adequate amount of space for the outdoor unit and an excavation is essential to insert piping and tubes under the ground.
What Brand of Heat Pump Should I Choose?
There are lots of heat pump brands on the market already; but with oil and gas boilers being phased out over the next few years many fossil fuel boiler manufacturers are turning to producing heat pumps to keep up with the trend.
Daikin are probably the leading manufacturer and supplier of heat pump equipment in Ireland. They seem to have found the perfect balance between efficiency, cost and warranty. Daikin is an excellent choice if your main goals are reliability, quality, and affordability.
When it comes to deciding on a heat pump, it’s essential to do your research. Always compare like with like. They all have different specifications, efficiencies, and warranties. The cost of a heat pump doesn’t vary much. You can typically expect to pay between €12,000 and €17,000 for a new system depending on the brand and size of the system.
Will My Heat Pump Work in a Poorly Insulated Home?
In a well-insulated home, a heat pump can be up to 5 times more economical and energy-efficient than standard home heating systems. We would need to conduct a technical assessment before install. This is a detailed heat loss survey of your home. This is essential to see if you are ready for a heat pump. If you have high heat loss values, we would not install a heat pump yet, we would advise you to upgrade things like windows/doors/wall insulation etc. before considering a heat pump.
The goal of the heat pump is to keep the home at a constant comfort temperature. If you are losing the heat through poor insulation or single glaze windows, the heat pump will need to work harder to keep the home at the desired temperature. Generally, we would only install a heat pump in a home with a heat loss value of 2.3 or lower. A technical assessment is also required by the SEAI who are offering a grant of €6,500 for heat pump installations. This assessment measures the heat loss in your house. SEAI will not provide grants for homes where heat pumps will not run efficiently.
To be eligible for the grant, your home must be built, occupied with the electricity turned on prior to 2021. You must have a heat loss indicator of less than 2 and you must not have availed of a SEAI heat pump grant at this address in the past. If you are successful in securing the grant and choose to proceed with installing the heat pump, you also can claim back €200 back from SEAI for the cost of the technical assessment and €50 back for the cost of the BER.
Will My Existing Radiators or UFH Work With a Heat Pump?
There is a common misconception that a heat pump does not work with radiators at all. This stems from the fact that if your radiators are around 20 years old, the likelihood is that some are incorrectly sized or in bad condition, so you may need to replace them.
It is important to size radiators and your heating system before installing anything; otherwise, you risk having a system that is overworking or underperforming. In any instance the installer should carry out a site survey to identify if a heat pump is compatible your current system.
Typically, a heat pump will work best with larger radiators or under floor heating because of their lower operating temperature requirements.
For a retrofit, most people will put the new indoor unit where their existing boiler or cylinder is. This is because the existing pipework is located here, meaning that it would be less disruptive and costly to install.
Fancy learning a bit more about heat pumps?
Why not book a FREE consultation with one of our energy consultants, they will be able to educate and quote you on the system that is bespoke to your home.