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View blog posts for category: Heat pumps

Readers tips of the month: biomass and air source heat pump

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 March 2012 at 9:02 am

Readers tips of the month: biomass and air source heat pump

When people register on YouGen we ask them about their renewable energy, and any tips they have for others. Here are our favourites this month: Drumrossie is retired, and lives in a large, old and difficult to heat house. He has installed a log burning boiler with a 60kW output and with 4,000 lit…

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Living with an air source heat pump

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 24 January 2012 at 7:54 pm

Living with an air source heat pump

I regularly write about air source heat pumps, but until recently my knowledge was only academic, but on a recent trip to New Zealand I discovered what they are actually like to live with. At least three of the houses we stayed in were heated by an air to air heat pump. This means that the heat …

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How a ground source heat pump works (video)

Posted by John Barker-Brown on 16 January 2012 at 8:15 am

This introduction to how a heat pump works will be of considerable interest to people who are thinking of installing a ground source heat pump at home or at work. Made by Kensa Heat Pumps it is one of a series of short videos aimed at educating installers of ground source heat pumps, or those lookin…

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Why the RHPP has had little impact on the ground source heat pump market

Posted by John Barker-Brown on 9 January 2012 at 11:02 am

Why the RHPP has had little impact on the ground source heat pump market

The renewable heat premium payment (RHPP) scheme was introduced on 1 August 2011. This Government scheme provides a grant to householders investing in renewable heat technologies – solar thermal panels, heat pumps and biomass boilers – and was introduced as an interim measure pending the launc…

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Changes to permitted development for microgeneration in the UK

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 30 November 2011 at 9:33 am

Changes to permitted development for microgeneration in the UK

The following changes to permitted development regulations for England came into effect on 1 December 2011. The main changes are to that wind turbines and air source heat pumps have become permitted development (with significant caveats). See below for the complete wording. Click the following link …

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10 Questions to ask when choosing your air source heat pump installer

Posted by John Lightfoot on 28 November 2011 at 9:13 am

10 Questions to ask when choosing your air source heat pump installer

1. Are you MCS certified? The Government is currently offering incentives (Renewable Heat Premium Payment) to people who install renewable energy heating equipment, including air source heat pumps, if your property does not have access to mains gas. It is also considering offering further…

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Can solar panels improve the efficiency of your ground source heat pump?

Posted by John Barker-Brown on 3 October 2011 at 5:05 am

Can solar panels improve the efficiency of your ground source heat pump?

There is a growing interest in using solar panels to deposit heat within the ground during the summer periods and then using a ground source heat pump to extract this deposited heat during the winter. These systems are commonly called inter-seasonal storage systems and can usually be classed as:- …

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Using an air source heat pump with an existing heating system: 5 key things to consider

Posted by John Lightfoot on 15 August 2011 at 9:24 am

Using an air source heat pump with an existing heating system: 5 key things to consider

I’ve tried below to give an overview of whether you could consider using your existing heating system without going into too much technical hype! (Hope I’ve succeeded – let me know!). The guidance below will give you some pointers as to whether it is worth considering, but of course your l…

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Solar PV plus air source heat pumps: a case study of Donyatt village hall

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 5 August 2011 at 9:34 am

Solar PV plus air source heat pumps: a case study of Donyatt village hall

South east facing solar PV panels on a nearby roof got David Willis thinking that they might be an option for Donyatt Village Hall in Somerset. "They were facing a bit east of south east, and yet the performance is better than my solar pv panels on a south facing roof with slight shade first thi…

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How to maintain and service your ground source heat pump

Posted by John Barker-Brown on 3 August 2011 at 9:03 am

How to maintain and service your ground source heat pump

The Government's microgeneration strategy states: "More work is required on understanding the durability of microgeneration installations, including their key components. We want consumers to be aware, at least in general terms, of the minimum requirements for aftercare service and maintenance for e…

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Renewable Heat Premium Payment rates confirmed - but are they enough to kickstart renewable heat?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 July 2011 at 11:22 am

Renewable Heat Premium Payment rates confirmed - but are they enough to kickstart renewable heat?

Capital grants to help with the cost of installing renewable heat technologies will be available from 1 August. Any householder in England, Scotland or Wales can apply for the £300 renewable heat premium payment for solar thermal panels. However, payments for biomass boilers (£950), air sou…

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How to use an air source heat pump to heat your hot water

Posted by John Lightfoot on 20 July 2011 at 11:32 am

How to use an air source heat pump to heat your hot water

Q: Can you use air source heat pumps for heating domestic hot water? A: If you are reading this and looking for a quick answer, it's yes! For those of you who would like a little more information here we go... Just because you can use a heat pump, should you? Well, of cours…

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Three things to consider before running a heat pumps with solar or wind power

Posted by John Barker-Brown on 30 June 2011 at 10:46 am

Three things to consider before running a heat pumps with solar or wind power

There is currently a lot of interest in becoming completely self-sufficient in terms of energy and heat. Security of supply, being green, low running costs, etc are all motives for doing this and more and more people are asking is it possible to run their ground source heat pump from their solar pv …

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Renewable energy may be included in the Green Deal

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 June 2011 at 9:08 am

Renewable energy may be included in the Green Deal

The Government's announcement last week on measures being considered for inclusion in the Green Deal, and its thinking on consumer protection, went some way to allay criticisms of the scheme. The Green Deal is expected to offer loans of up to £10,000 over a period of up to 25 years. To qualify f…

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How (& where) to position your air source heat pump

Posted by John Lightfoot on 6 June 2011 at 9:35 am

How (& where) to position your air source heat pump

"Where should I put my air source heat pump? is a question I am often asked. I reply "where would you like to put it?" and nine times out of 10 it can be installed where the enquirer had hoped it could. So let’s look at the basics to give us some ideas of where we can…

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Can heat pumps provide domestic hot water?

Posted by John Barker-Brown on 16 May 2011 at 9:20 am

Can heat pumps provide domestic hot water?

Can ground source heat pumps provide domestic hot water (DHW)? This is a question which is asked again and again. The answer? Yes, but there are some considerations you need to be aware of: 1. Efficiency. Due to the higher temperature required to generate hot water, the output temperature has to …

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Comparing air source heat pumps part 2

Posted by John Lightfoot on 25 March 2011 at 9:45 am

Comparing air source heat pumps part 2

In case you haven't had time to read the first half of this two part blog, I will repeat the caveat I started with in Part 1. Before you start selecting the particular air source heat pump you want, make sure that you have taken all practical insulation measures possible to reduce the heat loss from…

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Comparing air source heat pumps part 1

Posted by John Lightfoot on 28 February 2011 at 11:31 am

Comparing air source heat pumps part 1

Before you start thinking about which particular air source heat pump you want, make sure that you have taken all the practical insulation measures to reduce the heat loss from your property. Let’s slim the choice down quickly! The first thing I would suggest you can do is eradicate any he…

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How to install a heat pump into an existing property

Posted by John Barker-Brown on 21 February 2011 at 9:18 am

How to install a heat pump into an existing property

As the advantages of heat pumps become better known and with the expected Renewable Heat Incentive, more people are looking at whether the technology can be applied to their existing properties. The advantages of installing a heat pump in a new build property is well documented. It is als…

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Can you use radiators with an air source heat pump?

Posted by John Lightfoot on 24 January 2011 at 9:47 am

Can you use radiators with an air source heat pump?

The simple answer to the question can you use radiators with an air source heat pump is yes! Radiators need to be sized for the flow temperatures your heat pump will be set to. The lower this set point, the more efficient your heat pump will be, and therefore the cheaper to run. The dis…

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Get the best out of your air source heat pump in sub-zero temperatures

Posted by John Lightfoot on 4 January 2011 at 9:46 am

Get the best out of your air source heat pump in sub-zero temperatures

With temperatures more associated with Scandinavia than the UK, 2010 tested heating systems of all sorts in the UK, gas boilers and air source heat pumps included! Here are some of the problems have people reported over the past year and how can we avoid them being repeated as we go into 2011…

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When to consider using an air source heat pump

Posted by John Lightfoot on 8 December 2010 at 2:07 pm

When to consider using an air source heat pump

Air source heat pumps can be used in many applications for heating water, be it domestic (tap) water or the water used in for space heating. The first part of the decision process of whether I should consider using an air source heat pump to heat my house starts with – "why I am doi…

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Ground source heat pumps don't need immersion heaters

Posted by John Barker-Brown on 6 December 2010 at 11:52 am

Ground source heat pumps don't need immersion heaters

Would you install an 11kW boiler into a building with a 20kW load? No.  The same should be true of ground source heat pumps. Due to the constraints of the UK National Grid there are a number of large properties with single phase electricity, where the upgrade cost to three phase sup…

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An introduction to air source heat pumps

Posted by John Lightfoot on 12 November 2010 at 11:57 am

An introduction to air source heat pumps

I thought I would start my series of blogs on Air Source Heat Pumps with an explanation of how a heat pump works and how in particular how a Air Source Heat Pump works. If you want to look at the diagram alongside the text, double click on it to enlarge it. To start, just imagin…

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Heat pumps and underfloor heating: perfect partners?

Posted by John Barker-Brown on 1 November 2010 at 11:01 am

Heat pumps and underfloor heating: perfect partners?

Underfloor heating is often portrayed as the perfect partner for heat pumps. With its large heat emitting area and low input temperature requirements it seems to provide the ideal choice to offer the maximum efficiency from the heat pump. However, is that always the case? With any underfl…

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Common problems with Ground Source Heat Pumps

Posted by on 14 October 2010 at 10:14 am

Common problems with Ground Source Heat Pumps

A poorly designed and installed ground source heat pump system will, effectively, be heating a property on electricity alone, which is by far the most expensive solution on a unit-by-unit basis. So what are the common problems that befall GSHPs? 1.  Slinkies. A slinky, in heat pump…

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Common problems with Air Source Heat Pumps

Posted by Duncan McIntosh on 6 October 2010 at 9:35 am

Common problems with Air Source Heat Pumps

An Air Source Heat Pump is generally a simpler, more straightforward system, than its ground source cousin. An air source heat pump is best suited to houses that do not have sufficient room for ground collectors, have an outdoor pool or generally have a smaller heating requirement. Well i…

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Heat pumps: 7 top tips for installers

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

Heat pumps: 7 top tips for installers

"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, i…

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Heat pump field trial: good or bad?

Posted by John Barker-Brown on 21 September 2010 at 12:02 pm

Heat pump field trial: good or bad?

Heat pumps don't work, so scrap the RHI, or Heat pump technology works well and we must pursue it. These are the two completely opposite views generated by the Energy Savings Trust's (EST) Heat Pump field trial. The report, Getting Warmer; a field trail of heat pumps has finally been relea…

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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: 12 tips for people thinking of installing one

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.    Th…

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Heat pumps: field trials reveal good and bad installations

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 September 2010 at 9:17 am

Heat pumps: field trials reveal good and bad installations

The good news is that heat pumps can operate well in the UK, as long as they are well-designed and installed, and the customer understands how to use the controls. The bad news is that the Energy Saving Trust’s (EST) field trial of 83 heat pumps found that isn’t always the case. System effici…

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Renewable Heat Incentive: yes please, but with changes

Posted by John Barker-Brown on 9 July 2010 at 11:16 am

Renewable Heat Incentive: yes please, but with changes

First let's get something straight. I think the renewable heat incentive (RHI) is a good idea. Rewarding people for their contribution to reducing carbon emissions is great and will stimulate the market. However, in its current form the RHI may not reduce emissions, and due to lack of Government cla…

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Eco-renovation transforms Devon village hall

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 30 June 2010 at 9:02 am

Eco-renovation transforms Devon village hall

With thick insulation, ground source heat pumps feeding underfloor heating, and solar panels on the roof to power the heat pump, Branscombe village hall in East Devon must be one of the most energy efficient in the country. However, managing an ambitious project like this wasn't an easy task. It …

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Renewable Heat Incentive: 'deeming' explained

Posted by Linn Rafferty on 22 June 2010 at 10:53 am

Renewable Heat Incentive: 'deeming' explained

In the proposed Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), the calculation of how much will be paid for renewable heat production depends on the installation type, as follows: Small scale installation, such as in a home: each installation's entitlement is calculated by multiplying the payment per kW…

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Renewable heat incentive: important, but with dangers

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 17 June 2010 at 1:03 pm

Renewable heat incentive: important, but with dangers

The uptake of renewable heat technologies has really dropped off with the renewable heat incentive (RHI) still looming, but no confirmation of the final tariffs or criteria, and the recent removal of the LCBP grants. No doubt things will pick up once the RHI details have been announced there.…

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Ask your MP for clarity about the Renewable Heat Incentive

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 14 June 2010 at 9:44 am

Ask your MP for clarity about the Renewable Heat Incentive

No one can confidently say that renewable heat is a good investment right now, as we don't know whether or not the promised renewable heat incentive will be introduced in April 2011 as laid out by the former Labour government. Making a significant investment when you can't confidently calculate the …

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Uncertainty ahead as Low Carbon Building Programme is cut

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 May 2010 at 12:31 pm

Uncertainty ahead as Low Carbon Building Programme is cut

The Low Carbon Building Programme (LCBP) grants scheme closed to new applications on Monday. We're calling on the Government to act quickly to eliminate the state of uncertainty facing  consumers and the renewable heat industry as a result. The cut came as part of the Department of Energ…

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Heat pumps: 10 things a good installer should ask

Posted by John Barker-Brown on 24 May 2010 at 12:20 pm

Heat pumps: 10 things a good installer should ask

Finding an installer for a renewable energy technology should be a straight forward exercise. With all the certification an installer has to meet, such as the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), to enable a client to access grants, the installer has to know what they are talking about and be…

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MCS explained, plus quick guide for wannabe installers

Posted by John Martin on 14 May 2010 at 9:58 am

MCS explained, plus quick guide for wannabe installers

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) appears to be suffering in a similar way as the Gas accreditation scheme did  when it was introduced. It is shrouded in mystery, with rumour-mongers spreading the word that 'none shall pass' and that 'its only for large companies'. This situatio…

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Five energy sources for heat pumps

Posted by John Barker-Brown on 10 May 2010 at 10:02 am

Five energy sources for heat pumps

A number of energy sources can be used as the heat source for heating buildings. Most commonly, heat pumps draw heat from the air or from the ground. The heat drawn from the ground is, in most cases, stored solar heat, and should not be confused with geothermal heat, though the latter wil…

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Avoiding the solar cowboys

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 April 2010 at 10:01 am

Avoiding the solar cowboys

Only one of 14 solar thermal salespeople proved worthy of recommendation in Which?'s recent investigation into solar panel companies. This is devastating news both for the industry and, more importantly, for people wanting to switch to solar hot water systems. Ten of the companies misled research…

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Renewable Heat Incentive consultation: YouGen's response

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 April 2010 at 10:29 am

Renewable Heat Incentive consultation: YouGen's response

The Renewable Heat Incentive consultation closes today. Here is YouGen's response. If you want to respond yourself, you can email DECC's renewable financial incentives team. Key Issues We strongly ask you to reconsider your policy of excluding those who had systems installed prior to July …

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Renewable Heat Incentive: join the campaign for equal treatment for existing generators

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 March 2010 at 10:19 am

Renewable Heat Incentive: join the campaign for equal treatment for existing generators

More and more people are calling for the renewable heat incentive (also known as the Clean Energy Cashback) to treat existing microgenerators equally. At RegenSW's consultation conference in Bristol earlier this month property developers and installers were flagging it up as important for the scheme…

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Renewable Heat Incentive: A homeowners guide

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 March 2010 at 2:09 pm

Renewable Heat Incentive: A homeowners guide

Heat is the biggest use of energy in the UK. Just under half of the UK's CO2 emissions and 60% of domestic energy bills are used on heating space and water. Heat in the UK is currently supplied predominantly by fossil fuels - less than 1% comes from renewable sources. The proposed renewable h…

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Renewable Heat Incentive is welcomed by industry

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 17 March 2010 at 10:42 am

Renewable Heat Incentive is welcomed by industry

Ambitious and far-reaching were just some of the words delegates used to welcome the Renewable Heat Incentive proposals at yesterday's consultation event organised by RegenSW. However, they said that more education about renewable heat is needed if the Renewable Heat Incentive is going to suc…

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Is a heat pump suitable for my home? 3 key checks

Posted by John Barker-Brown on 15 March 2010 at 9:59 am

Is a heat pump suitable for my home? 3 key checks

Heat pumps are one of the most talked about renewable technologies - on television, in newspapers and magazines. The way they are portrayed they seem to be the answer to all our problems and will suit all properties. But is this true? Heat pumps (ground, air or water) suit only certain applicatio…

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Three ways we could improve UK feed in tariffs

Posted by Matthew Rhodes on 22 February 2010 at 9:17 pm

Three ways we could improve UK feed in tariffs

I am a stalwart supporter of feed in tariffs, and anticipate a revolution in UK microgeneration in the next few months as a result. Their introduction is long overdue. However, on Monday I sat through a lengthy discussion both of feed in tariffs (FiTs) and the proposed renewable heat incentiv…

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Prices vary hugely between renewable energy installers

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 November 2009 at 11:17 am

Prices vary hugely between renewable energy installers

Prices for renewable energy installations vary wildly, making buying decisions difficult for homeowners, according to Power from the People, a new study by researchers at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute. In addition, there is little correlation between price and the gener…

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Welsh ease planning rules for renewable energy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 August 2009 at 9:40 am

Welsh ease planning rules for renewable energy

Welsh planning rules for domestic renewable energy installations have been changed to make it easier for homeowners to generate their own heat and electricity. Following Scotland's lead, the Welsh Assembly has announced new regulations which mean that some microgeneration technologies will no lon…

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Old homes can be energy efficient: visit a superhome and be inspired

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 July 2009 at 9:08 am

Old homes can be energy efficient: visit a superhome and be inspired

Old homes tend to be the worst offenders when it comes to leaking hot air out into the atmosphere. This means higher than average energy bills, and correspondingly high carbon emissions. Often labelled 'hard to treat', older homes can be more complicated when it comes to installing energy eff…

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