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Heat pumps are one of the most effective forms of renewable energy and Ecovision is widely viewed as having one of the leading consultancy teams in the UK when it comes to designing, supplying and installing them. They extract heat from natural sources such as the air, ground or water and release it at a higher temperature to heat your property and/or produce hot water.
An air source heat pump is the simplest and least expensive heat pump system to install. It’s a stand-alone unit which can be placed outside your premises. Air source heat pumps don’t require any digging or underground pipework. Most domestic units are roughly the size of an air conditioning unit. An air source heat pump draws heat from the outside air and will provide 100% of your heating and hot water, even when the outside air temperature is well below zero.
Dig one metre down, and the ground is at a constant temperature of around 10 degrees. When we install a ground source heat pump, we lay loops of pipes in the ground, or we place them in a bore hole up to 150m deep. The pipes contain a liquid which absorbs the ground heat providing the heat source for the heat pump. Ground source heat pumps are silent, maintenance needs are negligible and there are no visible external units. Suitable for existing properties, they are particularly recommended for new builds and larger homes.
Water source heat pump systems produce heat in a similar way to ground source systems. Pipes are submerged in a river, stream or lake, where temperatures remain at a relatively constant level of between 7 and 12 degrees. Liquid in the pipes absorbs the heat. This heat is passed to a heat pump located inside the house. Because of the constant level of heat, water source heat pumps are even more efficient than air source heat pumps.
The beauty of heat pumps is that they are extremely efficient (up to 400%), require very little maintenance and have a life expectancy of 20-40 years.
Heat pumps have been around for years. They’re automatically installed in 90% of new homes in Sweden, 75% of new homes in Switzerland, and 30% of new homes in Germany. In Sweden and Switzerland respectively, 50% and 35% of existing properties now have fitted heat pumps.
Heat pumps simply replace existing gas-guzzling systems. They connect to existing heating and hot water systems, and will run an existing radiator set up. Heat pumps can link to wet underfloor heating, and we can advise on and install underfloor heating, if it’s appropriate, but that's entirely separate.
Heat pumps produce savings of between 30% and 70% on existing heating and hot water bills. The exact percentage depends on a range of variables (type of heat pump, previous fuel source, size of premises). As fossil fuel prices (inevitably) rise over coming years, the savings will be greater still.
The average gas boiler has a useful life of around 12 years. Heat pumps have a 25-40 year lifespan. Boilers lose 2% of their efficiency every year on average and require annual check ups. Heat pumps maintain their efficiency from day one and require no regular maintenance.
With a high efficiency condensing gas boiler, for every kwh of energy you put in, you can expect to get 0.9kwh of heating out. With heat pumps, for every kwh of energy you put in, you can get (on average) 4 kwhs of heat out. So they’re 400% efficient and provide 100% of your heating and hot water.
Depending on your choice of heat pump, you will reduce your carbon emissions by between 40% and 75%. Heat pumps which are powered by electricity from a green, zero-carbon supplier, will deliver all your home and hot water heating without emitting any carbon whatsoever.
Making energy saving improvements to your property could increase its value by 14 per cent on average - and up to 38 per cent in some parts of England - new research released in June 2013 by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) reveals.
For home-owners using government (MCS) accredited designers and installers such as Ecovision to install heat pumps, substantial grants are available, and for businesses, schools, community and not-for profit organisations, a large range of grants, loans and incentives are now coming on stream.
If you own a swimming pool, heat pumps offer one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways of water heating. In the summer, a heat pump can operate in reverse to cool your premises.
Heat pumps have none of the risks associated with flammable and polluting oil and gas-fired systems, particularly in terms of leaks and potential carbon monoxide dangers.
Ecovision was the first heat pump installer in the UK to be awarded full accreditation by the UK Microgeneration Certification Scheme. They are also members of REAL and have repeatedly won awards for their work from the British Construction Industry Association and the National Heat Pump Awards.
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