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Heat pumps: 12 tips for people thinking of installing one

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 September 2010 at 10:03 am

Heat pumps are worth considering if your home is one of the 5 million or so that is off the gas grid, or in new build properties, according to new field trials from the Energy Saving Trust (EST). It offers the following advice for people thinking of installing a heat pump.

1.    The main considerations are installation costs; the amount of space available (ground source heat pumps need land for a ground loop or bore hole); and proximity of neighbours (for air source heat pumps).

2.    A heat pump with mid range efficiency can be expected to use a third of the energy of an average existing gas boiler or oil boiler to produce the same amount of heat. This means that a heat pump installed in 2010 produces 9% less CO2 than an average gas boiler and 28% less than an average oil boiler (but more than a new energy efficient gas boiler).

3.    A good-performing heat pump should produce a system efficiency ratio above 3.0.

4.    Make sure that responsibility and liability for the complete installation lies with one company, ideally with a contract to guarantee consistency in after-sales service. The field trial research found that often there was no single contractor responsible, and installations might involve a ground works contractor, a plumber, a heat pump installer, and an electrician, none of whom had liability for the overall system.

5.    Make sure your house is as well insulated as possible to get the best performance from a heat pump.

6.    Use low temperature under floor heating or properly sized radiators.

7.    Insist on understandable, user-friendly controls.

8.    Ask the installer to explain how they have calculated the appropriate type and size of heat pump for your house, and explain how they calculated the heat demand of your house.

9.    Make sure the installer explains how the heat pump will work with your existing heating system and hot water.

10.    Ask them to show you how to use the system and controls.

11.    Ask how often you should run the heat pump.

12.   Make sure your installer and the product they are installing is MCS accredited, so you will be eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive, if / when it is introduced.

See also: Heat pumps: field trials reveal good and bad installations.

Photo by eye of einstein


If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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1 comments - read them below or add one


BARRIECATSComment left on: 23 December 2012 at 12:56 pm

Installed ASHP about 2010. OK so far but installer has not indicated when servicing should be done.How often is servicing?  Still in the dark about controlling various heating functions-manual is so complicated.

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