What is a heat pump?
A heat pump is a house heating device that does not consume any fossil fuels. It heats your home for less than a condensing boiler. Although it doesn't require an oil tank or a gas line in the house, a heat pump acts much like a gas or oil boiler.
Heat pumps run on electricity, however, they are very efficient at doing so. Heat pumps are over 400% efficient making them nZeb certified and grant eligible under the new SEAI grants for heat pumps in existing homes. Heat Pumps are extremely efficient compared to modern condensing boilers, which are around 90% efficient.
Why should I use a heat pump to heat my house?
It heats your house for 50% less than a condensing boiler.
It will help you meet Part L in the building regulations.
It greatly increases your BER rating on the house as your home is greener.
It consumes no oil or gas.
It works very well with todays' heating systems containing underfloor heating and low temperature aluminium rads.
How do Heat Pumps work?
There are a few different types of heat pump available. The differences are described below but they all work under the same principle: They transfer heat by circulating a substance called a refrigerant through a cycle of evaporation and condensation. A compressor pumps the refrigerant between two heat exchanger coils. In one coil, the refrigerant is evaporated at low pressure and absorbs heat from its surroundings. The refrigerant is then compressed en route to the other coil, where it condenses at high pressure. At this point, it releases the heat it absorbed earlier in the cycle.
Different types of Heat Pumps:
An air source heat pump is the most common form of heat pump and it is cheap and simple to install. Its source of energy is external air. Low levels of heat are extracted from the external air and it is then amplified by the refrigerant gas.
This is the next most common form of heat pump. It is simple to install but has a higher efficiency when compared to air source heat pumps. A ground source heat pump uses soil as its source of energy. Low levels of heat is extracted from the soil and it is then amplified by the refrigerant gas. It costs slightly more to install when compared to an air source heat pump. However it's worth nothing that the lifespan of the system is extended.
A water source heat pump uses a river, lake or pond as its source of energy. Low levels of heat is extracted from the water and it is then amplified by the refrigerant gas. This is the least common form of heat pump, it costs a similar amount as a ground source heat pump to install and has the highest efficiency of all heat pumps.
Which homes have a heat pump?
Heat pumps are for people and buildings that meet some simple criteria. If you move to a heat pump, you need to re-think how you use your heating system. Heat pumps are always on. Like underfloor hearting, a heat pump works far better when it's left on. It's far cheaper to operate if always left on, as opposed to turning it on and off each day.
The criteria you need to consider is as follows:
Your house should be very well insulated to at least the current building regulation standards. If the insulation is not of a good standard, consider insulating the house first.
You are the type of person who always likes their house worm and will not periodically prefer if no heating is turned on in your house. If you don't want a permanently warm house, then you might be better with a condensing boiler.
Your heating system should have underfloor heating (pipes in the floor) or low temperature rads (not standard rads).
You need space for the outdoor unit which averages 1.5m high x 0.5m deep x 1m wide.
What are the next steps if I'm interested?
If you provide us with the floor area of your house and the preferred method (Air, Ground or Water) we will be able to provide you with a budget/guide price for the installation. It will always be close to an actual figure.
If you prefer a full design pack including a heat pump size, part L compliance confirmation and design service, we charge €150 for this.
If you want a full quote, then email us in your house plans, along with your BER assessors XML file. He/she will know what this is. If you don't yet have a BER assessor, then we will act as your BER assessor. Note that Heat Pumps work best with underfloor heating.
Air to Water: €3,500
Ground Source to Water: €3,500
Exhaust Air to Water: €3,500
Water to Water: €3,500
Air to Air: €600
Who can apply?
SEAI are offering Heat Pump grants to all homeowners (including landlords) whose homes were built and occupied before 2011. This is defined as the date your electricity meter was installed. Note that this is different to other grant measures where the home must be built before 2006.