Has anyone in the area installed an air source heat pump? If so, how have they found it so far, compared to a normal boiler? Are there any issues that they didn't anticipate? Who did they use to install it, and would they recommend them?
We're considering one while we get our house renovated, but I'm worried about questions such as how robust are the external units (given it'll be in the garden around kids playing football, possibly not a good combination), how well they work in the cold weather, and how useful are they given they take a while to produce their heat outputs? (Whereas with a combi, you can ramp up the heating quite quickly if needed.)
Any thoughts/guidance much appreciated!
All the best,
I am afraid I have no answers, just another question to add to your list. How noisy are they? I know they have a fan and my impression is they will be on for extended periods of time.
As it happens we had our boiler serviced this week and I had a chat with the heating engineer about this. I’ve done no research myself but this is what he said: His view was that heat pumps are often not the best solution in Victorian properties, apparently they work best with underfloor heating, or failing that really big radiators are required as they don’t get as hot as with gas boilers. He reckoned that replacing natural gas with hydrogen would be better, can use existing infrastructure and retro-fit gas boilers to work off hydrogen. God knows how long that would take to become a reality though!
Hydrogen would be a wonderful alternative to natural gas and theoretically make a transition to zero carbon so much easier & cheaper. But there are drawbacks: because the hydrogen molecule is so much smaller than the methane molecules which makes up most of the natural gas mix, it can squeeze through minute gaps meaning unexpected leakage is a potential safety problem. Another one is even though the calorific value of hydrogen is some 2.5 times that of natural gas, it is much lighter and less dense so the volume of hydrogen gas needed to get a given amount of heat is actually about 3 times more - meaning bigger gas infrastructure, pipes, pumps, etc.
I'm interested to hear views from people who have one too - I'm buying a Victorian flat with a midcentury extension. I want to replace the flooring in the extension and it might be a good time to install underfloor heating (and insulation), on top of that the boiler is very old and there is a damp issue so if I'm getting intrusive work done why not do some more on top of that!
The thinking does seem to be that they aren't a great option for a Victorian property without quite a bit of other work being done on insulating the property and fitting large radiators or underfloor heating.
Thanks for the feedback everyone! I'm curious to find out what the noise levels are like as well. We're having underfloor heating installed in our kitchen extension, and it was mentioned as a good option in conjunction with that. (One possible benefit we recently heard about is that you can reverse the heat pump in summer so that it cools the water in the underfloor system, which might be a nice feature in the hot months.) There's also a new government rebate scheme that launched, to help with installation costs. Still lots of questions to figure out though.
Hi, I’m living in France at the moment & we have installed one. It works fine with our original radiators, which were run previously on a heating oil boiler. Noise, we don’t hear it in the house, but it is noticeable when you are outside - like an aircon unit. They are robust, & you could always cage it in to protect it. We needed to have a unit installed that provided hot water too, so we have a unit inside that is like an oversized large fridge which houses the tank. It is slow to heat up, taking an hour or so to get up to temperature. However, you can program it like a gas boiler. The house is old with thick stone walls, but the walls are insulated. We found in the coldest weather it was expensive to run, so we installed a wood chip stove to use in the evenings. Ultimately I think that air source heat pumps will be what people use, but you have to insulate - external walls, under floors & loft. Hope that helps