How Heat Pumps Work

How Heat Pumps Work - White Air Source Heat Pump - IS Plumbing and Heating

How Heat Pumps Work to Reduce Emissions

Heat pumps can efficiently heat your home and provide hot water while reducing your carbon footprint. Unlike gas and coal, heat pumps work as renewable energy sources, making them an eco-friendly and cost-effective solution. As Scotland aims to achieve a net-zero emission economy by 2045, they play an essential role in this transition. The best part is that this renewable, zero-carbon heat source is available even on the coldest winter nights, all around us in the outdoor environment. Using electricity, the pump can transfer its heat to where it is more practical, i.e., in your home!

How Heat Pumps Work - Air Source Heat Pump Fan - IS Plumbing and Heating

The Environmentally-Friendly Option

When heating your home and hot water, choosing a heat pump is an environmentally-friendly option. How heat pumps work: they effectively move heat from the surrounding air (or ground!) into your home, requiring much less energy than traditional heating systems that rely on gas or oil. While heat pumps use electricity to operate, the good news is that as our grid shifts to cleaner energy sources like renewables, they will become increasingly lower in carbon emissions over time. Scotland’s renewable electricity generation in 2023 has increased compared to 2022, with 6,868 GWh of renewable electricity generated in the year’s second half– an increase of 9% compared to the same period in 2022.

Currently, most homes in Scotland rely on gas-powered boilers and central heating systems. Other off-grid methods include electric storage heating, oil, or LPG central heating. However, the Scottish Government has set an ambitious target of one million low-carbon homes by 2030, and by choosing heat pumps, you can be a part of this crucial movement towards a greener future. Switching to heat pumps could lower your energy bills while reducing your home’s carbon emissions. Plus, these pumps provide an effective central heating and hot water solution, making them a smart and sustainable choice for homeowners.

How Heat Pumps Work - Fitted Air Source Heat Pump - IS Plumbing and Heating

How Air Source Heat Pumps Work

Air Source Heat Pumps are one of the UK’s most popular ‘alternative’ heating systems because they are easy to install, cost-effective, and have government-backed financial incentives. They work by extracting renewable heat from the environment and converting it into heating and hot water for homes, making them an energy-efficient and eco-friendly option.

The simplest way to explain how air-source heat pumps work is to compare them to fridges! Heat pumps have two main components and work by transferring heat from one area to another. Air-source heat pumps use a refrigerant that evaporates at a low temperature to absorb heat energy from the outside air. The evaporated refrigerant is then compressed, releasing heat energy.

There are two types of air-source heat pumps: air-to-water and air-to-air. Air-to-water heat pumps warm water for hot water cylinders and radiators, whereas air-to-air heat pumps warm the air circulated inside homes. Air-to-water heat pumps are more efficient at lower temperatures, and proper radiator design can further reduce running costs. On the other hand, air-to-air heat pumps only provide warm air and do not produce hot water.

How Heat Pumps Work - Dismantled Air Source Heat Pump - IS Plumbing and Heating

The Benefits of Having an Air Source Heat Pump

Air-source heat pumps have several benefits. They can help minimise your energy bills while keeping your home warm and lowering carbon emissions. The first real tangible benefit that Heat Pumps offers is that if they are fitted to MCS standards, you will qualify for the Government Cashback and Loan Scheme. (It may also be worth looking at the ECO4 website to check eligibility for a government grant.) 

One of the key advantages of Air-Source Heat Pumps is that they eliminate the inconvenience of arranging fuel deliveries for oil, LPG, gas bottles, or wood for biomass. The heat pumps themselves are not only the most cost-efficient and accessible to install, but they also require minimal maintenance, making them a hassle-free choice.

While it’s true that air source heat pumps use electricity, the energy efficiency they offer compared to older, less effective heating systems can significantly reduce your energy bills. The size of the heat pump and the necessary work in your home, such as pipework, a hot water cylinder, and upgraded radiators, can affect the initial installation cost. Still, your investment will pay dividends over time from your energy bill savings. Most systems come with a warranty of two to three years, and a well-maintained system can last up to 20 years!

How Heat Pumps Work - Vaillant Air Source Heat Pump - IS Plumbing and Heating

What To Think About Before Installing an Air Source Pump

If you are contemplating installing an air source heat pump, it is essential to consider a few things! 

The size of the heat pump will depend on your heat demand, with a higher demand requiring a larger pump. You will also need to consider insulating and draught-proofing your home, which can help reduce heat demand. Financial support is available for this. You will need to decide where to place the heat pump, as it requires plenty of space for good airflow, usually on the ground or an outside wall.

 Inside your home, you will need space for a compressor, controls, and a smaller hot water cylinder than a standard gas boiler. Larger radiators and underfloor heating work well. We can offer advice on this. While heat pumps are typically quiet, they do emit some noise similar to an air conditioning unit. For best efficiency, a heat pump system should be run for extended periods with larger radiators or underfloor heating to reach your desired thermostat temperature. 

How Heat Pumps Work - The IS Plumbing and Heating Team - IS Plumbing and Heating

Air Source Heat Pumps – IS Plumbing and Heating

Heat pumps have proven to be an economical and sustainable alternative to fossil fuel systems for heating homes in Scotland. They produce fewer carbon emissions while still providing warmth and comfort, which is especially important in a country that requires a lot of heating due to its climate. They can generate up to four times more heat energy than the electricity needed to run them, reducing fossil fuel usage.

IS Plumbing & Heating is a family-owned business founded by Ian Steele, with over 20 years of experience in the plumbing and heating industry. We have built a reputation for excellence in both the domestic and commercial sectors, a testament to our unwavering dedication to quality. Kerry, the Finance Director, plays a crucial role in managing our business’ finances, purchasing, and day-to-day operations. Our various accreditations and memberships further demonstrate our commitment to providing our customers only the best products and services.

If you would like to request a quote, book an appointment for our plumbing and heating services, or discuss Air Source Heat Pumps, please get in touch with us.