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Heat Pumps: Do They Work With Radiators?

Thursday 23 March 2023

Grey vertical radiator

In short, yes. But don’t click away, we have a lot more to tell you. At Lincolnshire Radiators Direct, we want to ensure you’re as informed as possible before you make any decisions with regard to the radiators in your home. 

The lowdown on heat pumps

Heat pumps are a crucial part of the fight against climate change. Traditional heating systems pollute fossil gas to heat our homes. In a study by GreenPeace, it’s said that 14% of the UK’s carbon emissions come directly from our own homes. 

This means that whilst putting your heating on isn’t the biggest contributor to carbon emissions, we could still be doing more to lower our carbon footprint. Unfortunately, the UK has some of the worst-insulated homes in Europe. Meaning, we’re likely to turn the heat up once the temperatures start to drop in early October, with some keeping it on until April when the first signs of Spring appear. 

Simply put, heat pumps use environmental energy from the ground, air, or local water source to generate hot water and heating for your home. 

We know that when the pressure of a gas increases so does the temperature, likewise when the pressure decreases the temperature will drop. The key to how a heat pump works is based on the relationship between pressure and temperature. 

Heat pumps may vary but in general:

  1. Pipes filled with liquid and antifreeze absorb heat from the air, ground, or a water source, the environmental heat is then carried into the heat exchanger, where the heat is absorbed into the refrigerant and evaporated into gas. 
  2. The refrigerant is then compressed, using a small amount of electricity to increase the temperature.
  3. The heat then transfers into the heating system through the gas and condenses back into liquid. This heat can then go into your home through your chosen emitter system, whether this is underfloor heating or radiators. 
  4. To start the cycle again the liquid refrigerant will begin to decrease in pressure by going through the expansion valve, lowering the temperature, and restarting the cycle. 

It sounds like a slightly confusing process and unless you’re into science the ins and outs may seem a little blurred. However, heat pumps can easily be fitted by a trained installer and can save you money on your heating bills whilst helping your home to be a greener space. 

There are different types of heat pumps, the main three are: 

Air source heat pumps: These extract heat from the external temperature. They’re the most popular type, this is because they can even be used in apartments and flats. They can operate in lower temperatures and only use a small amount of electricity. 

Ground Source Heat Pumps: These are embedded into the ground and then the heat is absorbed from the ground. This is a less popular type of heat pump as you do need to have the land to allow installation. However, once they have been installed they’re not visible so you won’t have an eye sore in your back garden. Only around 25% of the total energy used during the heating process comes from electricity. 

Water Source Heat Pumps: These heat pumps offer the most reliable source of heat and hot water for your home, this is due to the consistent outdoor water temperature. They’re also the most discreet, so if the aesthetic of your garden must be protected this is the best system for you. However, you of course need to live near a water source for this one to work. 

Be aware that whilst most heat pump installations will be classed as a permitted development where no permission is required, you should always check if you need to apply to your local planning permission authority before installing a heat pump, especially if you live in a listed building or in a conservation area.

Why are heat pumps beneficial?

  1. They’re more efficient than boilers and use cleaner electricity to help reduce your home’s carbon footprint.
  2. Whilst they use a small amount of electricity. The government has stated they aim for electricity to be zero carbon in the next 12 years. Making heat pumps even greener. 
  3. You’ll be saving money on your heating and hot water bills without compromising on keeping warm. 
  4. They’re known for their long-life span and minimum maintenance in comparison to traditional boilers.
  5. Heat pumps can provide cooling and heating. 
Grey vertical radiator

Which radiators are heat pump compatible?

It is not mandatory to install new radiators when you have a heat pump fitted. You’re able to keep your home’s current radiators, however, it may be recommended to upgrade. Whilst the choice is yours, the reason you may be told an upgrade is advisable is to maximise the heat output and get the full benefits of your new heat pump. 

Due to low flow temperatures, it may be recommended that the heat-emitting surface covers a larger area than with boiler-operated heating. This is so you can get the maximum heat output. 

If you’re investing in a heat pump we advise looking into new radiators if you haven’t upgraded in a while to ensure heating efficiency throughout your home. 

If you have any further questions don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our expert team on 01522 620190. 

Be sure to check out our great range of stylish designer radiators

Upgrade Your Homes Heating With Our Stunning Radiators

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