FAQ’s – Heat Pumps

Based on our experience we have compiled a comprehensive list of the questions that we often get asked.

Air Source Heat Pump Systems

Q. How does a heat pump work?

The heat pump works like a fridge but in reverse. It uses a refrigeration cycle to move heat from one place to another. The process also upgrades the low grade heat from outside to much higher temperatures in your home. Heat pumps can be used for heating in winter and as a source of air cooling in hot summer temperatures.

Q. Are there any grants available?

The previous grant scheme (Low Carbon Building Program) was recently replaced with the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). It may still be possible to find a local grant scheme in your area available from your local council.

Q. Will I be eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)?

The RHI will pay 7.3p/kWh for every kWh that the air source heat pump is predicted to output, this applies to all MCS approved installations which is what all Solarking installations are as such all our customer eligible for the RHI incentive.

Q. How much will I save on my fuel bills?

Studies have shown that switching from mains gas will save approximately 25% of your heating costs; switching from oil or LPG could save more than 50%. The official figure for fuel bill inflation has been set by Ernst & Young at 12.9%, which will increase the savings in future years.

Q. Can a heat pump work with radiators and under floor heating?

Yes; heat pumps achieve high flow temperatures (in excess of 55 degree); which will allow them to be used with both radiators and under floor heating.

Q. Do I need to increase the size of my radiators?

No usually; most installed radiators are oversized, this means that the retrofit of a heat pump into an existing property doesn’t usually need any modifications to be made to the existing radiators.

Q. My existing boiler has a much larger power capacity than what you have advised for a heat pump, will it do the job?

Usually, conventional boilers have been significantly oversized as extra boiler capacity costs very little. The important element to be truly cost effective it is that a heat pump is sized properly. We will calculate the actual heat input required for your home rather than base the size of the heat pump on your current boiler capacity.

Q. Do air source heat pumps work in winter?

Yes, our air source heat pumps will give high outputs down to -20 degrees external temperature.

Q. Does the heat pump need a back up?

It is not necessary to have back up system as the systems we supply will have a rated output for external temperature down to -20 degrees.

Q. Will the heat pump need a refrigeration engineer for servicing?

We use mono-block heat pumps that do not have any external refrigeration pipe work; as a result the service requirement is similar to a conventional refrigerator, very little. Other type’s heat pumps have refrigeration pipes running between the indoor and outdoor units. This type of pipe work and system legally needs to be serviced annually.

Q. How often will the system need to be serviced?

Our air source heat pumps need an annual inspection up to 3 years in age to maintain the 3 year warranty.

Q. Does a heat pump need planning permission?

Air source heat pumps permitted development will not need planning permission and a home owner that is not in a conservation area or a listed building will be able to proceed without permission.

Q. Do I need a three phase electricity supply?

Very large properties, typically larger than a 6 bed detached home may require a 3 phase electricity supply.

Q. Can the heat pump heat our hot water cylinder?

Yes, our heat pumps can achieve flow temperature in excess of 55 degrees. Domestic hot water at your taps should to be at approximately 40 degrees.

Q. How long will an installation take?

Air source heat pump installations may take 2-4 days.

Q. How big is the heat pump?

Our heat pumps have indoor units that primarily contain the water cylinder so occupy similar space to a fridge freezer.

Q. Can an air source heat pump be fitted indoors?

No; air source heat pumps need a good flow of fresh air and need to be fitted outside.

Q. How can the efficiency be greater than 100%?

The system efficiency is calculated by dividing the amount of heat output by the amount of electricity that the system runs on and multiplying the result by 100. As an example if the system generates 3kWh of heat and uses 1.5kWh of electricity, the system efficiency is 200% (COP of 2). The efficiency is greater than 100% as the heat from outside is not included in the calculation; this is consider this as being completely free, which it is.

Q. Does your price include connection to my existing/new heating system?

Yes; the connection to your existing heating system is generally included unless there is a specific reason for us not to or you do not want us to make this connection.

Q. Does your price include the required electric works?

Yes, all required electrical works in your property are included in our price. As we only use MCS and NICEIC installation staff we are certified to do this.

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