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August 8th 2022

Top 5 myths about heat pumps

Decarbonising domestic heat is no longer a challenge that we can simply ignore. Currently, less than a quarter of a million of the UK’s 29 million homes have heat pumps. To hit the UK’s 2050 net zero targets, the 23 million homes that are still currently heated by gas will need to move to a low carbon alternative.

With climate change posing a fundamental threat to our planet, more and more homeowners are looking into the different low carbon alternatives available to us to heat and power our homes. If our warming planet isn’t enough to make the switch to greener heating more appealing, the increasing energy prices are making the temptation almost impossible to ignore.

Rightly so, making the switch from traditional fossil fuels to green heating can leave you with many questions and apprehensions. Ensuring that you are making the right decision for you and your home is crucial. Naturally, you will come across a whole host of misconceptions surrounding heat pumps that could put homeowners off switching to the new technology. We’ve debunked the most common myths about heat pumps below to help you separate the facts from the myths.

Myth 1: “Heat pumps are too expensive”

Whilst the average cost of a heat pump installation is more than a standard boiler installation, the financial incentive provided by the government provides a huge support in offsetting the installation cost. From April 2022, the government scheme offers homeowners £5000 for installing an air source heat pump and £6000 for installing a ground source heat pump. In addition to this, heat pumps have significantly lower running costs than outdated systems, meaning that you can save a huge amount of money a year – what’s not to like?

Myth 2: “Air source heat pumps are noisy”

Heat pumps do create some noise, however they are actually quieter than most fossil fuel boilers. The noise level of a heat pump is usually somewhere around 40 decibels, and just to provide some comparison, the level of noise in the average library is also around 40 decibels. 

To comply with planning legislation, any noise from your heat pump must be less than 42 decibels at the middle point between your heat pump and your neighbour’s property. At the point of your heat pump installation, a member of our team will measure the noise levels in relation to your neighbours’ homes to ensure it complies.

Myth 3: “Heat pumps are not powerful enough to heat my home in winter”

A ground source heat pump is capable of ensuring an efficiency rate that is consistent all year round, regardless of the outside weather conditions. Tests and studies also show that heat pumps can continue to work effectively in temperatures as low as -16°C, so this technology is suitable for locations with a colder climate. It’s also why more than 1.4 million households in Norway happily use air source heat pumps as their method of heating their homes.

Myth 4: “A heat pump cannot be installed in existing buildings”

Any heat generator, whether it may be a traditional boiler or heat pump, should be sized to the buildings heat loss. If a heat pump is being installed then they are sized to maintain the properties heat loss, at a predetermined flow and outside design temperature. So regardless of the building’s age, heat pump systems can be successfully installed in any building regardless of its age.

Whilst it is highly advisable that a building is well insulated before investing in a heat pump, the same should be said about a traditional boiler also as installation will help decrease your properties energy demand, therefore decreasing its running costs. There are many different methods of insulating a building such as loft insulation, wall insulation or double glazing to give just a few examples of the ways in which heat loss can be prevented. 

Myth 5: “Heat pumps can be used for heating only”

A common misconception about heat pumps is that they create heat, and it may come as a surprise but this is in fact incorrect. Instead, heat pumps redistribute heat from the air or ground and use a refrigerant and compressor that circulates between the condenser which is connected to the space heating system and the evaporator which captures the heat from the air or ground. Most modern heat pumps are equipped with a reversing valve, meaning that they can also cool. When in cooling mode, this process is reversed, providing both heating during cooler months and cooling during hotter months (if used with underfloor heating or fan coil radiators)…all without burning any fossil fuels.

It’s no secret that we’re pretty passionate about renewable energy for a sustainable future. For expert advice and a discussion about how a heat pump in your establishment can help to work towards a greener future, get in touch with us on 01603 406052 for a chat with a friendly member of our team or fill out our “get a quote” website form and we will be in touch soon!