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Answering your 17 common questions about heat pumps

NIBE Ground Source Heat Pump

Heat pump questions

The meteoric rise of heat pumps is broadcast everywhere at the moment, whether that’s in the news, in government, or in the housing sector. However, we appreciate that detailed, accurate information about heat pumps can still be hard to find.

There are some very common questions that we hear a lot at NIBE, which is why we’ve put together this article to ensure your heat pump questions are heard. If you have a burning question that’s yet to be answered, we’ve got you covered.

What is the major disadvantage of a heat pump system?

Let’s start with the most negative question we often get asked. Ultimately, there are very few disadvantages to using a heat pump, but arguably the main concern with most customers is the high installation cost.

Heat pumps are still relatively new and complex systems, which means they’re likely to cost more to purchase and install than other heating solutions. However, this is going to change in the near future, as technology advances and heat pumps become more commonplace in homes.

If the installation cost is a concern, initiatives like the Boiler Upgrade Scheme are there to help.

Can a heat pump heat a whole house?

Yes, a modern-day heat pump is capable of heating a whole house. A heat pump is now designed to provide heating and cooling for your entire home, offering an energy-efficient solution no matter the size of your property.

However, the heat pump will have to be sized correctly based on the size of your house, climate and heating demand.

Do I need a heat pump in every room?

A properly sized and installed heat pump should be able to heat the whole house. Therefore, you don’t need a heat pump in every room. This is why it’s so important to use a reputable heat pump supplier and get an expert installer to fit your system.

How long does it take to put a heat pump in a house?

The time it takes to install a heat pump will depend on the size of the unit and where it’s being fitted. On average, you can expect it to take anywhere from three hours to a full day. How a heat pump is installed is very important in terms of the system running efficiently, which is why installation can sometimes take longer than anticipated.

Are heat pumps really worth it?

Yes, there are many heat pump advantages that make it worthwhile and they’re fast becoming the go-to home heating solution around the world. Some heat pump benefits include:

  • Zero-carbon emissions
  • Low running costs
  • Incredibly efficient
  • Sustainable
  • Low maintenance
  • Long service life

Can heat pumps only be used for heating?

Heat pumps can be used for both heating and cooling. This makes them the perfect solution for your home all year round, keeping it warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Also, they don’t just control the temperature of your home, but they’re also used to heat your water.

Do heat pumps cost less to run than gas boilers?

While gas boilers are still cheaper to install, the long-term running costs of a heat pump are less. However, the cost is very much determined by the price of electricity at the time, as heat pumps are run using electricity rather than gas.

All-in-all, heat pumps are seen as a long-term investment, helping you to save money in the long run.

Do I need a boiler if I have a heat pump?

No, if you have a heat pump, then you don’t need a boiler or an air conditioning unit. In terms of heating and cooling your home, heat pumps cover everything you need.

How much is a heat pump system in the UK?

The initial cost of a heat pump system in the UK will depend on whether you install an air source heat pump or ground source heat pump.

Initiatives like the Boiler Upgrade Scheme can help to reduce installation costs if required.

What radiators do I need with a heat pump?

When your home’s suitability for a heat pump is assessed, you’ll be told whether you’ll need to change your radiators or not. As a general rule, you’ll likely need radiators that are 2.5x larger than your traditional standard size. However, this will depend on the size of the property and whether it’s well insulated.

What is the life expectancy of a heat pump?

On average, a heat pump will last 15 years. If it’s properly maintained and receives its annual service, then you can expect it to last as long as 20 to 25 years. Other factors that will impact its longevity include the type of heat pump, where you’re located and whether it was installed properly.

At what temperature are heat pumps not efficient?

Most heat pumps will work perfectly fine below 0°C. However, you may see a drop in efficiency if temperatures fall much below -5°C. Therefore, in the UK, you should rarely ever experience any issues with regards to the impact the outside temperature has on your heat pump’s efficiency.

Do heat pumps require a lot of maintenance?

No, heat pumps rarely require any serious maintenance. You will need to ensure it gets its annual service to maintain high performance and maximum efficiency, but other than that they’re very low maintenance. Just make sure you look after them between annual services.

Should a heat pump run constantly in winter?

You should never have to turn your heat pump off, as it will automatically adjust to the outside temperature and your heating needs. They’re designed to run constantly to keep your home comfortable, so make sure you leave them to do their thing throughout the winter months!

Should I leave my heat pump on all the time?

Yes, it’s best to leave your heat pump on all the time. This is because it adjusts to your demands and may not necessarily be actively working and using electricity all of the time – only when you need it to.

Heat pumps work best by keeping your home at a consistent, comfortable temperature and only start using electricity once they need to heat a space.

Are heat pumps noisy?

Not anymore! The days of clunky, noisy heat pumps are long gone. How noisy they are will depend on the manufacturer, but they won’t be any louder than other heating solutions or household appliances.

As a guide, a ground source heat pump may reach 42 decibels, while an air source heat pump may reach 40 to 60 decibels. Because they do generate some noise, it’s worth factoring that in when deciding where to install a heat pump.

Can I get a grant for a heat pump?

Yes, there are several schemes in the UK that offer grants. This can be a big help in terms of installation costs. Heat pump grants in the UK include:

Boiler Upgrade Scheme – £5,000 off the total cost of having an air source heat pump installed or £6,000 for a ground source heat pump. England and Wales only.

Home Upgrade Grant – £750 million of funding for local authorities in England is available to help low-income homeowners.

ECO4 – Helps low-income homeowners who are unable to afford to install a heat pump.

Warmer Homes Scotland – Heat pump grants for homeowners in Scotland who struggle to pay their energy bills.

Home Energy Scotland – Entitled to up to a £17,500 grant, as well as cashback of up to 75% depending on the type of renewable system you opt for.

Nest Scheme – Free advice by the Welsh government on home energy improvements and funding to help those who need support with heat pump costs. 

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