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Invaluable advice if you're thinking of installing a heat pump

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 May 2014 at 10:22 am

If you’re considering installing a ground- or an air-source heat pump you should consider the following excellent advice from the Renewable Energy Consumer Code:

• make sure you take account of any additional work you need to do, such as drilling a vertical well or preparing a horizontal trench in which to lay a ‘slinky’ or a straight tube

• remember that the feasibility of drilling is highly dependent on the geology of the ground under and around your property

• make sure that the pump and the heat exchanger are correctly sized to take account of your property size and location, its energy efficiency and air tightness and – very importantly – whether you intend heat your hot water as well as your ‘space’

• remember that heat pumps work best with under floor heating so you need to factor this into the cost; if you use radiators, they need to be large ones since the heat produced will be ‘low-grade’

• remember that if the air temperature outside is freezing or below it will be difficult for an air-source heat exchanger to create heat

• make sure you obtain an accurate estimate of your likely annual electricity usage after the heat pump has been installed - all heat pumps require an auxiliary heat source, usually electricity, and the resulting bills can be very high.

Also bear in mind this additional advice from Ofgem.

Watch your electricity bill with a heat pump

Heat pumps use electricity to operate so when you switch on you can expect your electricity bill to increase. If you pay by direct debit you should speak to your energy supplier about recalculating your payments when you’ve had one installed. 

Do be aware that a small fault in the installation of a heat pump can result in a very large increase in the electricity bill. If you’re planning to install a heat pump ask your installer for an estimate of how much more electricity it should use. Make a note to watch the electricity meter reading carefully as soon as it’s installed. If you think it’s going up too fast, contact your installer immediately. This is particularly important if you pay your energy bills by direct debit. Don’t wait for the annual meter reading and bill to find out there’s a problem.

Another way to keep a check on its performance is to get the Government's metering and monitoring package. This is only open to people who are getting the domestic RHI and can be applied for when you apply or as a separate later application. You will get an additional £230 a year for the seven year life of the RHI to cover the cost of the metering and monitoring. At the time of writing there are no products accredited for this service, but sign up to our newsletter to find out when they do become available. 

More information about heat pumps on YouGen

The YouGen guide to heat pumps

Find a heat pump installer in your area

From the blog

What the domstic Renewable Heat Incentive means for heat pumps

Sizing a heat pump correctly is vital for good performance

A cautionary tale of a heat pump gone wrong

Photo: Charsitr via Shutterstock


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


RobertPalgraveComment left on: 29 May 2014 at 8:19 pm

I agree - it's vital to monitor energy consumption when you get a heat pump installed.

My ASHP installation planned for July includes a separate power meter on the feed to the heat pump, so that I can be 100% accurate on what it is taking. My installer is charging me (just) £48 for this, which I consider is a worthwhile investment.

regarding the Govt metering and monitoring package for RHI - my installer told me he wouldn't be offering it, because of the high cost for him to get trained and certified relative to the possible income.

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