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Heat pumps: 7 top tips for installers

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 September 2010 at 9:08 am

"Many heat pumps appeared to be installed incorrectly." reports the Energy Saving Trust in its recent report on field trials into 83 installations of air source and ground source heat pumps. This is disheartening news, and we thoroughly endorse its recommendation that guidance to, and training of, installers is reviewed. In the meantime here are its seven top tips for installers:

1.    Keep the design of the installation simple. The research found that the simplest system designs achieve the best efficiencies.

2.    Keep controls simple. It is vital that the customer can understand how to use them.

3.    System sizing is key. Ensure the system is sized correctly to meet the property’s central heating demand.

4.    Be transparent with customers. Discuss system running costs, and the likely performance, as frankly and honestly as possible, so their expectations are realistic.

5.    Advise your customers about the need for any supplementary heating.

6.    Be aware of the margin of error. If a heat pump is installed even slightly wrong, the outcome for the customer may be very wrong.

7.   Manage your subcontractors rigorously, to make sure their work is appropriate for your heat pump. You need to take responsibility and supervise each stage of the installation.

Photo by David Evers

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

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Comments

4 comments - read them below or add one

JanetGrover

JanetGroverComment left on: 25 February 2016 at 10:52 am

We recently had to replace our gshp after only 7 yrs as it failed. Our installer put in what was supposedly a new system to be Rhi compliant, but did not mention the loops which were not replaced, which anyway would have caused enormous upheaval costing thousands, of gem accepted our Rhi application, paid us, then asked us for it back. No one will accept responsibility fir bad advice, who can we get to listen to us, not even DECC will help. What can we do. We are OAPs.

 

 

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Stirling Consulting Limited

Stirling Consulting LimitedComment left on: 24 October 2010 at 10:59 am

Given the results from the quoted report and our experience we are requesting that interested parties complete the following link so we can overview the current situation;

http://groundsourceairtowaterheatpumps.blogspot.com/2010/10/practical-observations-requested.html

Thanks,

Joanna

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Bob Irving

Bob IrvingComment left on: 5 October 2010 at 9:16 am

From my perspective, there are some problems with these points:

1) Most heat pumps come with built-in controls - the fact that they are over-complicated is the manufacturers' wish to show off!  I cannot see installers swapping controllers. The problems with controls are in the need to cram all these facilities into a very small display and in the difficult of predicting what the effect of changes will be, since with weather compensation and underfloor heating, these can take a long time to take effect. I would like to see a PC interface that gave a lot more prediction and visibility, though this would probably add to the cost and mean that you couldn't maintain it without a PC.

2) Sizing is quite difficult. It depends on knowledge of the users' habits and preferences that an installer will not know about and the user will probably not be able to convey.

3) I'm not convinced that heat pump suppliers/manufacturers know what is necessary for a good installation. I've attended an installers' course and itwas mostly on the lines of "here's a heat pump - this is how you install it"- it gave no information as to how to tell whether, for instance, a retro-fit installation would be successful or not. Again, some kind of testing kit could be useful, if someone knows what the criteria are.

4) The margin of error thing is difficult. Heat pump sizes are lumpy. If you fall in the 2Kw gap between sizes, which way do you go?

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 5 October 2010 at 9:10 am

Thank you Bob for interesting thoughts. It just shows how complex this area is. Your thoughts certainly back up the EST recommendation of rethinking training for installers, and hopefully they will also make some recommendations to manufacturers about the controls.

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