With the costs of living ever rising, people are starting to think outside the box when it comes to their heating solutions. This year in the UK we have seen, for the second time, one of the coldest winters in a number of years and before the cold spell springs on us again this year now is the time to think about how you are going to heat your home without racking up a rather large fuel bill.
One method which is proving quite popular is the installation of heat pumps into your home – a method which has also recently been highlighted by the Government in their heat strategy as a way to slash heating emissions from our buildings and factories between now and 2050.
Looking at the profile of heat production in the UK, the grand majority is produced by burning fossil fuels – a resource which we all know will eventually run out. This is why, a fact urged on by the issue of rising oil and gas prices, we must act now if we are to change the way we heat our homes and plan for a sustainable future.
Heat pumps are installed right in your back garden and offer a range of benefits to the home owners: as previously mentioned they will reduce your heating bill considerably. If you are a UK resident, the government currently offers a Renewable Heat Incentive, your carbon footprint is lowered, the hassle of fuel deliveries is taken away and they can also provide your home with hot water.
There are two different types of heat pumps: ground source heat pumps and air source heat pumps. Ground source heat pumps operate by absorbing heat from the ground at low temperatures into a fluid in a loop of pipe buried underground. This fluid is then passed through a compressor which raises it to a higher temperature and allows it to heat water for the hot water circuits in the house. The process continues to repeat itself until your home is warm or your bath can be run! Air source heat pumps take less time to install because they aren’t placed underground (no digging required!) and are fitted to an outside wall of your home. They work in the exact same way as a fridge extracts heat from its inside – just on a larger scale. Like a ground source heat pump, a fluid absorbs heat – this time the heat coming from the air, the fluid is again compressed and follows the same method as a ground source heat pump.
The Renewable Heat Incentive has an extremely important part to play in the growth of heat pumps in the heating industry. They were set up as a UK Government scheme to encourage home owners, businesses and communities to incorporate renewable heat technologies into their premises. Depending on the type of technology you decide on payments from the government can range from £300 to £1,250.
There are, however, some barriers to the low carbon heat drive being initiated by the government. They include behavioural barriers, technological ones and those relating to geography and competitiveness. Large scale heat pump installations may have the largest amounts of practical hurdles to jump through and those wishing to install them may face problems with the planning regulations although this isn’t always the case – for example when installing heat pumps in Norfolk planning permission is not required.
We can only wait to see what the future will bring with regards to heat pumps, but the advantages speak for themselves, now is the time to act and there’s no reason why we won’t see heat pumps – be it air source or ground source gracing our homes in the near future.