Heat pumps are convenient, environmentally friendly and will save you money on energy costs in the long run. You no longer need an oil or gas boiler to heat your home or produce hot water. You can save even more money if the heat pump is combined with a solar PV or wind power system. Heat pumps work most efficiently with an underfloor heating system but can also work with your existing radiators.
The Isle of Man government has published two surveys that illustrate how well heat pumps compare to other methods of domestic heating on the Isle of Man. Running a heat pump also qualifies you for a cheaper energy tariff with the MUA.
Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP)
An ASHP is usually placed outdoors at the side or back of a property. It takes heat from the air and boosts it to a higher temperature using a heat pump. The pump needs electricity to run, but it uses less electrical energy than the heat it produces.
Think of an ASHP as a reverse fridge. The process consists of an evaporator, a compressor and a condenser. The ASHP absorbs heat from the outside air into a liquid at a low temperature, then the heat pump compressor increases the temperature of that heat. In the condenser, the hot liquid's heat is transferred to your heating and hot-water circuits.
ASHPs look similar to air-conditioning units. They are less disruptive to install than ground source heat pumps, as they do not require any ground work.
Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP)
GSHP systems are made up of a network of pipes (ground loop) buried underground and a heat pump. You usually need a lot of space for the pipes to be installed, generally in a garden, a pond or even a stream. How big the ground loop needs to be depends on how big your property is and how much heat you need.
A mixture of water and anti-freeze is pumped around the ground loop and absorbs the naturally occurring heat stored in the ground. The water mixture is compressed and goes through a heat exchanger, which extracts the heat and transfers it to the heat pump. You can then use this heat to feed your radiators, underfloor heating system or provide hot water.