The Running Costs of Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are a fantastic way to create hot water in the home; they absorb heat from either the air or the ground (hence air source and ground source heat pump!) into a fluid. This fluid then gets compressed which drives up the temperature even further and a heat exchanger then transfers the heat from the liquid to water travelling around your heating system.

Electricity is traditionally considered the more expensive way to heat the home – one kWh of electricity costs 15p, while one kWh of gas costs only 4p. The thing with heat pumps though, is that unlike a traditional electric radiator that turns that 1kWh into one unit of useful heat, a heat pump converts 1kWh into 3.5 or more units of useful heat.

Therefore, electrically run heat pumps are actually a really efficient way to heat the home. Heat pumps can provide significant savings over traditional heating systems, due to their low running costs.


What Affects Running Costs?

Essentially there are three factors: the amount of heat needed by the house, the efficiency of the heat pump and the temperature of the heat source. Heat pumps can provide significant savings over traditional heating systems, due to their low running costs. For example, a ground source heat pump can reduce energy bills by at least 26% over a new gas boiler.

The heat pump’s actual efficiency can be calculated by the amount of work it has to do, given the difference between the external and internal temperature. The closer the two temperatures are, the less work the heat pump has to accomplish in order to reach the desired temperature of your property, thus being more efficient without being under strain or using a greater energy amount. Heat pumps can get to incredibly high temperatures, but doing so their efficiency will decrease and running costs will increase.

Most systems come with a long warranty period and should operate for at least 20 years. A service agreement whether annually or biannually based on information given at the time of installation, similar to most boilers, helps to prolong the running quality of heat pumps and ensures they are working at maximum performance.


The Renewable Heat Incentive

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a UK Government scheme set up to encourage uptake of renewable heat technologies amongst householders, communities and businesses through financial incentives.

Eligible properties with ground or air pumps receive the Renewable Heat Incentive payment quarterly for the next 7 years. The amount paid is adjusted upwards for inflation over the payment period and is also dependent on a number of factors including:

  • Amount of heat generated
  • Technology type

The renewable heat incentive can significantly reduce the running cost of your heat pump and in many cases can actually make you money and create an regular income in return.

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