What is a Heat Pump?
A Heat Pump is a system of pipes and clever technology that extracts energy from external sources and converts it into heat for water or central heating. There are three types of Heat Pump: ground source, air source and water source. Each type works in the same way, the only difference being the initial source of the energy, or "heat". If you are wondering how there is enough heat in the Scottish environment to power such a system, the following is a very basic outline of how a heat pump functions:
- The pipes of the Heat Pump contain "refrigerant" liquids (in the case of a Ground-source pump these pipes - or ground loops - would be buried in your garden or the ground around your property). Refrigerants are liquids that boil at very low temperatures (around -10c). When air, water or other exterior 'warmth' passes over the pipes, the liquid inside boils and turns into vapour
- The vapours are then compressed, causing their temperature to rise to up to 125c
- The third stage is Condensing, whereby the hot vapours are passed to a Heat Exchanger. The heat exchanger is a metal plate that heats up when the vapours hit it. This plate is what will heat the water in your home.
- Once the hot vapours have done their bit, they simply cool down and start the process over again!
Installation of a Heat Pump
Ground source heat pumps are ideal for properties with a garden or adjoining land, as the exterior pipes are buried in the ground outside your house / property. Alternatively, where space is limited, the pipes can be inserted into a deep bore hole. This is an equally effective method, but more costly.
Air source heat pumps involve less work as there is no need for extensive groundworks around your property. It is therefore cheaper to install.
Advantages of a Heat Pump
The advantages of a heat pump are numerous and include, but are not limited to:
- No need to change your current heating system
- No CO2 emissions
- Long-term financial savings of 30% - 70%
- Increase the value of your property
- Properties with renewable energy systems installed are becoming increasingly popular and can demand a higher retail price
- "Fit and Forget" technology
- Once installed, you can sit back and enjoy your new heating system without having to worry about costly maintenance or repair bills.