As the UK government aim to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, renewable energy sources are becoming more important than ever, and will soon become the norm within the heating industry. But what does this mean for you?
We dive deeper into everything you need to know about heat pumps including the cost of running heat a pump, how it compares to a gas boiler, how to make sure they run at peak efficiency and the costs of repairing a heat pump when they break down.
We will also look into the importance of maintaining the quality of the water within the heat pumps and what happens if you don’t!
Protecting Heat Pumps: What You Need to Know
Heat pumps are a significant investment for any property owner, so it’s essential to protect them to make sure they operate efficiently.
Low-temperature systems such as heat pumps operate at water temperatures typically ranging from 32°C to 60°C which is significantly lower than traditional gas central heating systems.
Due to their lower temperatures, heat pumps can reduce energy use and save you money versus more traditional heating systems.
The good news is that traditional, tried and tested methods of protection, such as using chemical water treatment products and inline magnetic filters are just as valuable in a heat pump heating system.
However, it is important to realise that in addition to magnetite build-up, low-temperature heating systems can be susceptible to bacterial growth, which can quickly prevent these systems from working as efficiently as they should. For more information on the risks of bacterial growth in low-temperature heating systems, click here.
The primary method of protecting heat pumps is through the use of chemical inhibitors and the installation of a dual magnetic and non-magnetic filter, such as the MagnaClean HP™. The filter features dual-capture technology using a magnet and stainless steel gauze to protect heat pumps from magnetic sludge and biological debris before they enter the heat pump, preventing blockages and reducing wear and tear on the system.
Heat Pumps vs. Gas Boilers
One of the most significant advantages of heat pumps is their potential to be more energy efficient than gas boilers. This is dependent on the correct sizing of the appliance within a property that is adequately insulated to allow for the use of a heat pump.
Heat pumps operate by transferring heat from the air or ground into the system, rather than generating heat through combustion as gas boilers do.
This means that correctly installed heat pumps can deliver up to 3x more energy than they consume and produce 73% less carbon emissions compared to gas boilers; making heat pumps an extremely cost-effective heating solution (Energy Saving Trust, 2021; Octopus Energy, 2023).
Using a heat pump instead of a gas boiler could reduce your annual carbon footprint by around 44% (TheEcoExperts, 2023).
While the initial cost of installing a heat pump is significantly higher than that of a gas boiler, the long-term savings on your energy bills can make it a worthwhile investment. Research has shown that a typical household can save up to £1,500 per year on energy bills by switching from a gas boiler to a heat pump (Energy Saving Trust, 2021).
The Costs of Repairing a Heat Pump
Like any heating system, heat pumps require regular maintenance and occasional repairs. However, the cost of repairing a heat pump and replacing parts can be higher than that of a gas boiler due to the complexity of the system.
According to research by Which?, the typical cost of repairing a heat pump is between £350 and £1,500, depending on the type of repair required. To prevent costly repairs, it is essential to have the heat pump serviced regularly and to ensure that the water quality is maintained. A system check of the water quality at the time of the annual service is strongly recommended. Fortunately, this can be quickly and easily completed by the engineer while he is onsite using ADEY ProCheck®.
The Importance of Maintaining Water Quality in Heat Pumps
Water quality and maintenance are essential to the longevity and efficiency of a heat pump system. The heat transfer fluid, usually a mixture of water and antifreeze, must be kept at the correct concentration and pH level to prevent corrosion and damage to the system.
Over time, minerals and other contaminants can build up in the water, leading to decreased performance, and damage the heat pump components, which can be very costly. This, however, is also the case for any heating system, regardless of the heat source.
To prevent biological growth, it is important to maintain good water chemistry and to keep the system clean. This can be done through cleaning and flushing the system, and the application of a biocide designed to control the growth of microorganisms. As bacteria can be introduced through make up water, it is also important to regularly monitor the water quality and adjust the biocide level as needed to maintain optimal performance.
Heating engineers use the ADEY MagnaCleanse® to flush out any dirt and debris within your heating system and use MC1+® Inhibitor, MC3+® Cleaner and MC10+® Biocide to maintain good water quality and eliminate any bacterial growth. This ensures your heating system remains efficient, costing you less in energy bills and reducing the likelihood of future breakdowns.
Heat Pumps: Are they worth it?
Heat pumps offer an efficient and environmentally friendly heating solution for homes and businesses in the UK.
While the upfront cost will be higher than a gas boiler, as heat pumps can deliver up to 3x more energy than they consume and produce 73% less carbon emissions compared to gas boilers, the long-term savings on energy bills and the environmental benefits can make it a worthwhile investment.
However, it is important to protect and maintain the system to ensure that it operates at peak performance for years to come. Regular maintenance, including checking water quality and dosing the system with MC1+® Inhibitor and MC10+® Biocide, as well as fitting a MagnaClean HP™ filter will help you extend the life of the heat pump and maximise its efficiency.
1: Based on a gas boiler installation. Based on a typical three-bedroom property in the UK.
Energy Saving Trust. (2021). Heat pumps. Retrieved from https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/advice/heat-pumps/
Octopus Energy. (2023). Heat Pumps Explained. Retrieved from https://octopus.energy/get-a-heat-pump/
OFGEM. (2021). Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive. Retrieved from https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/environmental-programmes/domestic-renewable-heat-incentive
PassivSystems. (2018). Protecting Heat Pumps: What Every Installer Needs to Know. Retrieved from https://www.passivsystems.com/protecting-heat-pumps-what-every-installer-needs-to-know/
The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers. (2015). TM13: Minimising the risk of legionnaires’ disease. Retrieved from https://www.cibse.org/knowledge-research/knowledge-portal/tm13-minimising-the-risk-of-legionnaires-disease
The ECO Experts. (2023). Heat Pumps vs Gas Boilers: What’s Better?. Retrieved from https://www.theecoexperts.co.uk/heat-pumps/gas-boilers