Selecting a Heat Pump
The Importance of Tailoring a Solution to Your Needs
We understand that heat pumps are a new technology to many, so some explanation of how they work is given here.
It is also useful to understand how we go about selecting an appropriate model and size of unit for your particular needs - and some of the reasoning behind it.
It is well documented that the UK has some of the worst insulated housing in Europe. The map here shows how quickly heat is lost, compared to other countries (under the same temperature condition).
This fact has led to an approach to heating our homes which is based on feeling the cold, turning the heating up high to get cosy, then losing the heat quickly after turning off the heating - starting the cycle off again.
Combined with the fact that oil and gas boilers typically generate a flow temperature of 70 or 80 degrees centigrade, this has meant that careful sizing of boilers and heat emitters has not been necessary - and almost every boiler is of considerably higher capacity than necessary.
As a population, we have become accustomed to this, meaning the design and installation of appropriately-sized heating systems has become the exception rather than the rule.
Recent environmental and economic pressures have forced a rethink of this approach.
A New Approach to Heating
Knowing that we cannot continue our reliance on fossil fuels, nor can we continue to use energy as inefficiently as we have been, we are moving towards the approach taken elsewhere - a 'slow and steady' heating, generated by extremely efficient heat pumps, rather than the regular bursts of heat from a boiler followed by rapid loss.
Air source heating relies on a more regular, lower-temperature supply of heat to your property. It aims to heat up the fabric of the building and create a comfortable ambient temperature throughout the property. To achieve this, there are some considerations:
As we explain here, a good level of insulation is important in ensuring the best efficiency and energy-saving performance (regardless of which heat source you choose).
Emitters (Radiators and Under-floor Heating)
As most wet heating systems have been based on the high flow temperatures of traditional boilers, the sizing of the radiators has been largely based on available space. Due to the lower temperature of the water flowing through an air source heating system, it is sometimes necessary to increase the size of existing radiators.
Where under-floor heating is in place, an air source heat supply is ideal, as these already operate at lower temperatures.
Sizing Heat Source Based on Detailed Survey
Heat pumps operate most efficiently when running regularly, rather then 'cycling' on and off, as a boiler does. To achieve this, we need to calculate what size of heat pump is best suited to your needs - taking into consideration your specific situation and any future needs you might have. This is why we will always carry out a full site survey with you prior to progressing with any works.
During a site survey, we gather details of the construction of your property, floorspace, ceiling heights, insulation levels, details of windows and doors, the location and exposure of the property, etc. We also take note of specifics such as how many bathrooms, how many occupants, and talk to you about how and when you use hot water. This information generates a heat loss figure, which indicates the specific model of heat pump which would best meet your needs.
If you are looking for an initial estimate, however, to indicate a likely heat pump and associated cost, you can provide us with some basic details here.