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Save energy and money by installing a ground or air source heat pump

A well-designed heat pump system transfers around three times more energy into a property as heat than is uses to extract it from the ground or air. As a result, heat pumps have the potential to significantly lower fuel bills, particularly in properties without access to mains gas.

  • Ideal for off-grid properties
  • Extracts heating and hot water from the energy stored in the air or ground
  • Generates more energy than it uses
  • Qualifies for Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments to offset the cost of MCS-compliant installation
Save energy and money with a heat pump

The benefits: how do heat pumps reduce costs?

An air or ground source heat pump is possibly the most energy-efficient heat source for your home, extracting free heat from the air or ground to generate heating and hot water, and reducing your energy bills and carbon footprint.

In a well-insulated property, every kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity used to power the heat pump can provide around three kWh of ‘free’ thermal energy. This means that a heat pump’s efficiency can reach around 400% – far more than boilers that tend to run at around 92%.

In addition to reduced running costs, the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) also offers quarterly tariff payments to help eligible households to offset the cost of their renewable installation.

Cost of underfloor heating
ENERGY SOURCE INPUT COST EFFICIENCY OUTPUT COST
Electric 15.0p/kWh 100% efficient  15.0p/kWh
Logs 8.3p/kWh 80% efficient  10.4p/kWh
Coal 6.3p/kWh 80% efficient  7.9p/kWh
LPG 5.8p/kWh 89% efficient  6.6p/kWh
Wood Pellet 5.5p/kWh 90% efficient  6.1p/kWh
Oil 4.9p/kWh 91.6% efficient  5.3p/kWh
ASHP 15.0p/kWh 300% efficient  5.0p/kWh
Mains Gas 4.3p/kWh 89% efficient  4.8p/kWh
GSHP 15.0p/kWh 320% efficient  4.7p/kWh
*Please use this table as a guide as energy prices can vary.

How much are RHI tariff payments?

Type of heat pump Tariff payment Payment over 7 years
ASHP 10.71p/kWh £7,000
GSHP 20.89p/kWh £15,500

*Based on house requiring 15,000kWh of heating p.a.

The benefits of a heat pump

Renewable energy option

A great option for households looking to reduce their carbon footprint.
Renewable energy solution

Reduced running costs

Around three times more efficient than a boiler, heat pumps can significantly reduce your energy bills.
Reduced running costs

Eligible for RHI payments

MCS compliant heat pump installations are eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive.
RHI payments

Up to 400% efficient

Generating more energy than they use, heat pumps are an extremely efficient heat source.
400% efficient

How do heat pumps work?

Intro

An air source heat pump collects energy from the air, even at low temperatures.

1. Evaporator

The energy is absorbed from the air to the refrigerant in the evaporator.

This process increases the temperature of the refrigerant, changing it from a liquid to a vapour.

2. Compressor

The vapour is compressed by an electrically driven compressor, increasing its temperature.

3. Condenser

The condenser releases this heat energy into the water used in your heating and hot water system.

4. Expansion Valve

The cooled refrigerant turns back into a liquid and the process starts again.

Is a heat pump right for my home?

Heat pumps work by extracting solar energy stored naturally in the ground or air, transforming this energy into domestic heating and hot water. New and existing properties can benefit from the energy-saving capabilities of this renewable heat source.

Nu-Heat Account Manager, Rachel, talks you through the key considerations for installing a ground or air source heat pump at your property in our helpful video.

In this video you’ll discover

What is a heat pump system?
Air source (ASHP) or ground source (GSHP)?
Is a heat pump right for your project?
Choosing the right heating system
Other renewable solutions

Why choose a heat pump from Nu-Heat?

Full design and supply service

Fully designed and integrated solution from one supplier
Fully designed and integrated solution

Ideal for underfloor heating

Perfect partner for Nu-Heat underfloor heating
Perfect partners

Industry-leading technology

Market-leading, energy efficient range of NIBE heat pumps
Market leading heat pumps

Long guarantees

Guaranteed for 7yrs when supplied and commissioned by Nu-Heat
7 year guarantee

Eligible for the RHI

MCS approved heat pumps qualify for the RHI
MCS approved heat pumps

User-friendly guides

Comprehensive, step-by-step installation guides and user manuals
Installation guides and manuals

Which type of heat pump should I choose?

Air Source Ground Source (ground loops)
Efficiency Much more efficient than boilers, but generally less efficient than a ground source heat pump Generally more efficient than air source heat pumps
Aesthetics Unit located close to the property Ground loops are invisible once fitted
Sound All produce some noise, but some are much quieter than you might expect Very quiet operation
Planning Can fall under permitted development, but also need to meet MCS020 standards Planning permission is generally not required (subject to groundworks & archaeological considerations)
Site Suitable for smaller sites Suitable for larger sites
Property suitability Suitable for most properties – number of required heat pumps is dependent upon property size Generally more suitable for medium to large properties
Example installation cost for a 250m2property £11,500 £15,000 – £20,000
Example RHI tariff payments over 7 years (Ofgem figures, Sept 2018) £8,400 £17,500

We use Nu-Heat all the time because it is a decent product, they are efficient and good at what they do

Nick Cole, Director at NDC Plumbing and Heating

heat-pump-case-study

Air source heat pumps

  • Reduce energy consumption by up to 75% compared to electric heating systems
  • MCS approved for the Renewable Heat Incentive
  • Quiet operation
  • Available in 6kW–16kW models to suit small, medium and large homes
Air Source Heat Pump

Ground source heat pumps

  • Efficient option for properties on larger plots
  • MCS approved for the Renewable Heat Incentive
  • Intuitive display for ease of use
  • Ground loop and borehole options available
Ground Source Heat Pump

Can I use underfloor heating with heat pumps?

Underfloor heating (UFH) is the most popular heat emitter to pair with a heat pump system. This is because UFH works at much lower flow temperatures than a traditional radiator system, making it ideal for heat pumps which are at their most efficient when operating at low temperatures.

Nu-Heat will design and supply a fully integrated heating solution that combines the full range of underfloor heating benefits with your energy-efficient heat pump.

  • Low flow temperature solution
  • Up to 40% more efficient than a boiler and radiators system
  • Reduces energy bills and carbon footprint
  • Qualifies for the RHI
  • Fully designed and integrated heat pump and underfloor heating solution from a single supplier
Underfloor heating guide

More information on heat pumps

Heat Pump FAQs

How much land 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.

  • Ground source heat pumps (GSHP) 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 provide all of the property’s heating and domestic hot water requirements, without the need for boiler back up.
  • Air source heat pumps (ASHP) extract heat from the air (no need for ground loops) making them suitable for urban properties with less outside space. The cylinder and buffer tank need to be installed inside the property – a large airing cupboard is usually sufficient.

I don’t have access to mains gas – could a heat pump be a suitable alternative?

A heat pump could be a particularly cost-effective choice if your property doesn’t have access to mains gas. This is because for every unit of electricity the heat pump uses, it typically outputs three times the amount in heat energy. You can expect a heat pump to be more efficient and cheaper to run than an electric-only heating system or an LPG boiler.

Does my property need to be well-insulated to have a heat pump?

Insulation should be up to modern Building Regulation standards to ensure the heat pump both effectively and efficiently heats the property.

How do I find a heat pump installer?

We can help you to find an installer for your heat pump through our Registered Installer Network.

If you already have an installer in mind, we can support heating engineers to fit heat pumps to Microgeneration Scheme standards, offering a range of commissioning packages.

The installer will need to have the following pre-requisite qualifications:

  • Part L Energy Efficiency
  • G3 Domestic Hot Water Systems
  • Water Regulations 1999

They will also need to hold public liability insurance of over £2million.

What does MCS stand for?

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme or MCS is often described as the renewables equivalent of Gas Safe. You will need your heat pump system to be MCS compliant if you wish to benefit from RHI payments for your installation.

Is my property suitable for a heat pump?

A heat pump is a great low carbon, eco-solution for most properties, large or small. It’s really important that your home is well insulated to ensure the heat pump can run efficiently and keep running costs low.

If you are building your own home, or renovating and improving the insulation to building regulation standards, then a heat pump should be suitable.

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 with heat pump powered UFH?

Heat pump powered underfloor heating works best with highly conductive 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 do I control my heat pump – are they easy to use?

You can easily control your heat pump via a series of icons on the control panel that enable you to set heating and domestic hot water (DHW) schedules, as well as view live operating data and current temperatures. Every on-screen menu has a help button which provides clarification on each of the functions.

Will my heat pump come with a warranty and how long do they last?

Yes. Our heat pump systems come with a 7-year warranty when commissioned by a Nu-Heat engineer.

My heat pump is weather compensating – what does this mean?

Nu-Heat supplies NIBE heat pumps that offer weather compensating technology.

Weather compensation works by adjusting the amount of energy it uses to achieve the desired inside temperature, according to the outside weather conditions. For example, your heating system will not have to work as hard to achieve and maintain a set minimum inside temperature on a warm summer’s day as it would in the depths of winter.

This is a more efficient alternative to a traditional central heating schedule, which will fire up the boiler to deliver heat to your radiators at certain times of the day or night, regardless of the outside temperature, and only regulates the heat output according to the temperature of the water circulating around the system.

Will my heat pump system provide enough hot water at peak times?

Yes. The most efficient way to provide domestic hot water (DHW) for your home is to allow the DHW cylinder to remain ‘topped up’, with the heat pump operating to replace the used hot water.

Most heat pumps can be set to switch on a standby electric immersion heater to ensure that you always have hot water when you need it.

Do heat pumps work in cold weather?

Yes. Heat pumps work effectively year-round.

The top 15m of the Earth’s surface maintains an average year-round temperature of 12ºC. Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) use this heat source to supply the energy required to heat domestic water, and a low temperature heating system such as underfloor heating.

Air source heat pumps work in a similar way, except they extract available warmth from passing air rather than from the ground. In theory they should be able to extract useful energy from the outside air down to temperatures as low as -15°C. The storage cylinder provides both domestic hot water and a boost of heating energy in the coldest weather.

Want help finding the right renewables solution?

We would love to speak with you to discuss your project. If you have a question about your existing Nu-Heat system, our technical support team are at hand.