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How do I find the best performing heat pump?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 17 May 2013 at 9:35 am

Q: There is a great deal of information on the Internet as regards heat pumps but no information about recommended manufacturers of ground source heat pumps. Please can you help me. I would like someone to recommend which ground source heat pump ie Kensa, Nibe Danfoss performs best.

A: Good question, and not an easy one to answer. I asked someone working at senior level in the industry recently, and his answer was that most of the main manufacturers provide efficient kit. It's the design, specification, installation and commissioning of heat pumps that make the difference.

So what's really important is how skilled and experienced is the installer, and what support do they get from the manufacturer. The kind of questions I'd be asking installers are:

  • How many installations of this type of heat pump have you done?
  • Can I talk to three previous customers who have had their heat pump running for at least one winter?
  • Does the manufacturer provide support with sizing, specification and commissioning where necessary? Is this a service I can get? (it may be available at an extra charge).
  • Are you MCS accredited, and a member of the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC)? This is important because a) you will not be eligible for the RHI if you don't use a MCS installer; b) they will have to meet a higher set of standards than non-members; and c) it will give you more protection if things go wrong.

Find more questions to ask here.

Find out more about how to choose a heat pump

An introduction to heat pumps

Sizing a heat pump correctly is vital for good performance

New heat pumps standards should improve performance

Manufacturers can play a key role in ensuring quality heat pump installation

Find a local heat pump installer

Photo credit: ISO Energy


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1 comments - read them below or add one

S&G Wooldridge Ltd

S&G Wooldridge LtdComment left on: 20 June 2013 at 10:14 pm

One thing differentiates the heat pumps is the simple law of Thermodynamic Physics.

Efficiency in terms of heat output versus energy input depends on the temperature differential of the output and input source.

A new breed of heat pump has emerged claiming to operate at a higher output temperature in order to save changing radiators designed for much higher temperature than normal heat pumps supply.

These will be therfore less efficient than the normal low temp heat pumps.

However the information is not normally apparent as all heat pumps quote efficiency under the same input and output temperatures, regardless of their intended output operating temperature.Indeed they are obliged to do so.

This gives the bizarre situation where nearly all heat pump manufacturers quote similar efficiencies  but when operated in practice will give very different efficiencies depending on the actual operating temperature differential.

One heat pump advisor categorically insisted that his high temp heat pump was as efficient as the other low temp ones.

"Cap'n, you canna break the laws of physics!" Scottie would say

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