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Heat Pumps

Heatpump_svgGround and air source heat pumps for home or business. Heat pumps take latent heat from the air or ground, compress it to raise the temperature and then use it to provide heating for your home or business.

How do air and ground source heat pumps from Yorkshire Renewables work?


Like a fridge in reverse. A fridge takes heat from the inside and transfers to the outside whereas heat pumps take heat from the air or ground and transfer it to the inside of your home or business premises. So how does that work? People really struggle with the idea that they can heat their homes in winter with air that might be at -10°C outside. The key is not to confuse heat with temperature – they are not the same thing. Heat is simply the motion of particles of matter – the faster they move the higher the temperature. But a large number of particles moving slowly (producing a low temperature) can have much more heat energy that a few particle moving quickly (producing a high temperature).

If we collect the energy from all these slow moving particles and compress it the temperature increases and can be used to heat up the water in your central heating system and for domestic hot water. This is what a heat pump does. It collects the heat from the vast amount of air (or ground) outside your home or business and compresses it to raise the temperature.

Heat pumps are not new – they have been used for many years in much colder parts of the world than the UK – such as Scandinavia. However, modern inverter- driven heat pumps have become much more efficient and now provide a much cheaper form of heating than direct electricity, LPG, oil and even natural gas!

Economy, heat pumps are a popular economic choice for heating. Typically the following gives you an idea of the savings that can be made by using heat pumps over other energy sources:

Electric heating: 300%
Heating oil/kerosene: 40%
LPG: 50%
Natural Gas: 10%

If you have or are able to fit solar pv panels then the savings are greater because the free electricity generated by the panels provides some of the energy required to power the pump. For an illustration of how well these two technologies work together look at the case study.
Moreover now that the Renewable Heat Incentive has been launched most if not all of the cost of installing a heat pump itself will be recovered over 7 years. To learn more about the Renewable Heat Incentive and how to apply click here.

There are two types of heat pump – air source and ground source. How do heat pumps work in winter and cold weather?

Air Source heat pumps are being used increasingly in the UK. Although they are electrically driven, in an efficient system 1kw of electricity can provide up to 3kw of heat thus reducing heating costs and carbon emissions. They are small and quiet and can be fitted to almost any property. They usually stand on the floor outside the building but can also be wall mounted. The sound level of a Mitsubishi Ecodan pump is typically 56dB (about the same as a domestic microwave oven). They can be used in conjunction with underfloor heating or traditional radiators. Because of the lower flow temperature it may be necessary to increase the size of some radiators.

An air source heat pump has the additional advantage that it requires less maintenance and servicing than a traditional gas or oil boiler and of course there is no need for a storage tank outside the building or for a boiler inside.

Ground Source heating systems work in much the same way as air source but instead of drawing heat from the air they draw it from the ground. A few metres down, the earth remains at a constant temperature of around 10-15 degrees in the UK. This latent heat can be transferred to your home using a horizontal collector or a vertical bore hole. Just as with air source heat pumps a compressor is used to raise the temperature of the heat collected.

Because the ground temperature in winter is higher than the air temperature the pump has less work to do in raising the temperature so ground source heat pumps can be more efficient and cheaper to run than air source. However, you have to have the ground available and the installation costs are considerably higher than air source pumps. For these reasons it is anticipated that many more air source than ground source pumps will be fitted in the UK.

To see if your house or business premises would benefit from these technologies click here to make an enquiry or to arrange a free survey.

To learn more about heat pump efficiency click here.

For case studies click here.