By far the most Eco-friendly and cheapest home-heating technology available is the heat pump - a type of central heating system which draws heat from the ground or air outside your home. Heat pump systems operate with amazing efficiency - typically around 300- 400% (COP) This means for every unit of electric energy used by your heat pump, you will make 3-4 units worth of heat in return with the additional benefit of large reductions in CO2 emissions. This fact has been recognised by Government who have introduced the RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) which rewards consumers financially for the energy generated.
Heat pumps work much more efficiently at a lower temperature than a standard boiler system. This makes them more suitable for underfloor heating systems or larger radiators, which give out heat at lower temperatures over longer periods of time. It is a popular misconception that heat pumps do not work with radiators. Sized correctly there is no reason why radiators should not work perfectly.
Retherm is accredited to install all of the leading heat pump brands such as Nibe and will match the appropriate model for your project. All types of heat pump work on a well established principal, similar to your fridge. In simple terms of heat collected from the ground, water or air enters one side of a heat exchanger; on the other side of the heat exchanger is a refrigerant. The heat warms the refrigerant which then evaporates and turns into a gas; the gas is transported into the compressor to increase the pressure and consequently the temperature. Think what happens to the end of a bike pump if used with your finger over the end. This hot gas replaces the traditional flame (from gas, oil or LPG) and is used to heat the hot water and heating system. The cycle then repeats itself.
Ground source heat pumps use a network of pipes buried in your land approximately 1m below the surface. These pipes are designed to extract heat from the ground. In this country the temperature on that depth on average is between 5ºC and 10ºC. Meaning that a ground source heat pump can be used throughout the year - even in the middle of winter. This energy is collected by fluid circulating through the pipes. Rather like leaving a hose full of water on the lawn in summer - the water soon heats up. This warm fluid is boosted by the heat pump and the heat generated is used to heat radiators or underfloor heating systems and hot water. Contrary to popular belief the fluid in the ground does not flow around the heating system.
An air to water heat pump uses the ambient air temperature as its primary heat source. Even though air temperatures are low in the winter modern highly efficient systems are designed to cope. The benefit of this option is the lack of disruption to landscaping or other ground surfaces and is ideal for the smaller project. The system usually comprises of an outside unit which takes the heat from the air and an inside unit which houses the controls and in some cases a hot water cylinder. These heat pumps are becoming more and more efficient, require minimal maintenance and have a long life expectancy. An air-to-water heat pump distributes heat via your existing wet central heating system which in most cases will not require any modifications.