A homeowner’s guide to heat pumps – part 1

Baffled by heat pumps? We take a look at the key considerations for installing a heat pump in your home.

NIBE heat pumps

How do heat pumps work?

Heat pumps use the free supply of natural heat from the air or ground to generate domestic heating and hot water. An efficient heat pump transfers significantly more energy into a property as heat than it uses to extract it from the ground or air, helping to lower fuel bills and reduce environmental impact.

A buffer tank holds water heated by the heat pump which supplies the heating system. Rather than switching on and off, like radiators on a schedule, heat pumps maintain a constant, pre-set temperature in each room. The heat pump only increases the temperature of the water in the buffer tank when additional heat is required, and holds a minimum pre-set temperature when extra heat is not needed.

Domestic hot water (DHW) is stored in a cylinder in much the same way as with a traditional central heating system. The water in the cylinder is heated by the heat pump and held at a pre-set temperature.

What are the benefits of a heat pump?

A heat pump typically transfers three times the amount of energy into a property as heat than it uses to extract it from the air or ground, so has the potential to significantly lower your fuel bills. If you meet the  Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme criteria, you can also receive additional payments to offset the initial cost of installation.

Is my property suitable for a heat pump?

A heat pump (whether air source or ground source) is a great eco-solution for any property, but is particularly beneficial to those without access to mains gas. Your property will need to be well-insulated in order for the heat pump to operate efficiently. If your property meets current building regulations it should be suitable for heat pumps without any alterations. Older properties may require additional insulation – check your Energy Performance Certificate to find out your property’s current insulation levels and any recommendations for their improvement.

Are heat pumps compatible with underfloor heating?

Yes! Heat pumps are at their most efficient when operating at lower temperatures, making this technology a perfect partner for underfloor heating (UFH), which operates at a much lower flow temperature than radiators. Heat pumps can still be used in conjunction with radiators, but the radiators would need to be oversized in order to heat the property adequately.

What floor coverings should I choose?

Heat pump powered UFH works best with high heat output floor coverings such as stone or ceramic tiles, vinyl or lino. If the floor covering has good thermal conductivity, the heat pump and UFH can operate at a lower flow temperature for optimum efficiency.

How much room do I need for a heat pump?

The amount of space you will need is different for a ground source or air source heat pump.

A ground source heat pump (GSHP) will generally require an area of up to three times the total floor area of the property (ground and upper floors) for the installation of ground loops. If you don’t have sufficient land to accommodate ground loops, a bore hole is an effective – but more costly – alternative. The GSHP itself is installed indoors, along with a buffer tank and cylinder. The combination of these elements will provide all of the property’s heating and domestic hot water requirements, without the need for boiler back up.

Air source heat pumps (ASHP) need to be positioned outside. Whilst less space is required for an ASHP than a GSHP, it is best practice to consider your neighbours and locate the heat pump at least 1m away from your neighbour’s boundary (3m if your property is in Wales).  Bear in mind that your heat pump will need to work harder if it is situated in a cooler, north-facing, shady position, than if it is located in a southern-facing, sunny spot. The cylinder and buffer tank will need to be accommodated within the property. The cylinder is designed to sit on top of the buffer tank for a compact installation, and can often be housed in an area no larger than an oversized airing cupboard.

Will I need planning permission?

Heat pump installations generally fall under permitted development rights, and planning permission is generally not needed unless the property is listed or located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  You will need to seek approval from your electricity supplier before your heat pump is installed.

If you have questions about heat pumps that we have not answered here, please call 01404 549770 to speak to one of our technical experts, or email info@nu-heat.co.uk.

Free self build and renovation advice at autumn shows

Autumn is officially here and the annual debate about when to switch the heating on has begun, but perhaps the better question to ask is “What is the right heating solution for your property?”.

Have you considered underfloor heating?

Underfloor heating (UFH) can provide the ideal, efficient, invisible heating solution for your home, whatever the age of the property. Whether you are renovating, extending, converting or building from scratch, meet our experts at these upcoming shows for advice and guidance on how you can integrate underfloor heating and renewables into your project.

Meet our experts

Not sure what to expect when you attend one of these shows? Our blog post provides some tips on how to make the most of your visit – click here to read it. Don’t forget to bring a set of plans so that we can provide a free bespoke quote within a few days.

 

The Big Green Home Show, Swindon

The autumn Big Green Home Show aims to enable self-builders to create their own energy-efficient, healthy home. The show takes place at the National Self Build & Renovation Centre in Swindon, on 7-9th October.

Meet our experts on stand 67, and see our retrofit UFH solutions on show on the first floor of the centre’s Renovation House. Find out whether UFH is right for your project at our free masterclass session at 12:15pm on Sunday 9th October.

When and where is the show?

Friday 7th – Sunday 9th October
National Self Build & Renovation Centre, Lydiard Fields, Great Western Way, Swindon, SN5 8UB

Click here to book your free tickets online quoting Partner16.

 

Grand Designs Live, Birmingham

The 12th consecutive Grand Designs Live show is being held at Birmingham NEC on 19th-23rd October. Presented by Kevin McCloud, the event offers visitors ideas and inspiration to help them develop their very own grand design.

Our experts will be on hand to discuss your project on stand B670, where you can also view our extensive range of underfloor heating and renewables solutions.

When and where is the show?

Wednesday 19th – Sunday 23rd October
NEC, North Avenue, Birmingham, B40 1NT

Buy discounted tickets quoting EXHIB.

 

Northern Homebuilding & Renovating Show, Harrogate

Taking place at the HIC Yorkshire conference and exhibition centre on 4th-6th November, the Northern Homebuilding & Renovating Show is the go-to exhibition for self-builders and renovators.

Nu-Heat’s expert advisors will be waiting to answer your underfloor heating questions on stand M188. You can also pop along to our free masterclass presentation at 11:30am on Saturday 5th November to find out whether UFH is right for your project.

When and where is the show?

Friday 4th – Sunday 6th November
HIC, Harrogate, Yorkshire, HG1 5LA

Book your free tickets online.

 

South West Homebuilding & Renovating Show, Shepton Mallet

Whatever the stage of your new build or renovation, the South West Homebuilding & Renovating Show is the perfect opportunity to help bring your project to life. The show takes place at the Bath & West Showground on 19th-20th November.

Meet our experts on stand 302, and come along to our free underfloor heating masterclass at 1:30pm on Sunday 20th November.

When and where is the show?

Saturday 19th – Sunday 20th November
Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, BA4 6QN

Book your free tickets online

 

Not able to get to the shows?

Contact us on 01404 549770 to discuss the best underfloor heating and renewable solutions for your project.

We’re pleased to support CRASH

Nu-Heat is pleased to be supporting CRASH as our chosen charity for 2016. Last year, we donated over £1400 for the Prince’s Trust through our annual Summer Party raffle – a target we’re hoping to smash this September!

Why CRASH?

CRASH is a unique charity in the property and construction sector. It was founded in order to help homeless people and hospices by improving the buildings they need and use. This is done through offering skilled expertise, sourcing building materials, providing technical knowledge and cash grants.

Over the last 10 years the charity has donated a staggering £4 million to projects as gifts in kind through materials and professional services such as Engineers, Designers and Architects.

As a company involved in the same sector, and having been involved in projects such as DIY SOS in the past, CRASH is a perfect fit for Nu-Heat.

An example of CRASH’s work

CRASH worked with St Michael’s Hospice to help reconstruct the building after it was extensively damaged in an arson attack last July. The 28 bed hospice had been providing care for adults with life-limiting illness since 1987 and the fire not only had a devastating effect on the building, but also on the staff and patients working and staying there at the time.

CRASH awarded St Michael’s Hospice with a cash grant of £30,000 towards getting the building back up and running.

After the arson attack

After the arson attack

Work achieved with the help of CRASH

Work achieved with the help of CRASH

In the last year CRASH has also helped 48 homeless projects to improve and develop the buildings they need to offer their services, including emergency night shelters, hostels, day centres and ‘move-on’ accommodation.

For more information about CRASH, visit www.crash.org.uk

Self-build shows this September

Nu-Heat will be attending self-build and renovation shows in Exeter and London this September, and you can visit us for free. Our friendly team will be on hand to offer expert advice and guidance on how you can integrate underfloor heating and renewables into your project.

Not sure what to expect when you attend one of these shows? Our blog post provides some tips on how to make the most of your visit – click here to read it. Don’t forget to bring a set of plans so that we can provide a free bespoke quote within a few days.

SelfBuild & Design South West

SelfBuild & Design South West

A showcase of products, systems and ideas, SelfBuild & Design South West offers advice and inspiration for your project, whether you are extending, renovating or building your own home from scratch.

Meet our experts on stand H3, and find out whether underfloor heating is right for your project at our free masterclass sessionat 2:50pm on Saturday 10th September.

When and where is the show?
Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th September
Westpoint Exhibition Centre, Clyst St Mary, Exeter, Devon, EX5 1DJ

Book your free tickets online using code SB6SWNUH

 

Homebuilding & Renovating London

London Homebuilding & Renovating Show

A go-to exhibition for self-builders and renovators, the London Homebuilding & Renovating Show can help you bring your project to life.

Our experts will be on hand to discuss your project on stand F181, and you can also pop along to our free masterclass session about underfloor heating options at 2:30pm on Friday 23rd September in the Masterclass Theatre.

When and where is the show?
Friday 23rd – Sunday 25th September
ExCeL London, One Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, London, E16 1XL

Get two free tickets worth £24

 

Not able to get to the shows?

Contact us on 01404 540650 to discuss the best underfloor heating and renewable solutions for your project.