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What is a heat pump?

Heat pumps are a low-carbon heating solution that uses environmental energy to generate heating and hot water.
side view of a 12kW aroTHERM heat pump outside home

Heat pumps extract 75% of thermal energy (heat) from either the air, ground, or a local water source, with the remaining 25% being powered through electricity.

Upgrading to a heat pump can improve your home’s energy efficiency, resulting in lower energy bills whilst also reducing your environmental impact.

heat pump outside a white wall with grass

Types of heat pumps

There are three main types of heat pumps available: air source, ground source, and water source. Each offers unique benefits, making them suitable for various types of homes.

Before you consider a heat pump, you will need to think about your home's location and surrounding environment, as well as internal space for the required accessories such as a hot water cylinder.

75% of the energy used comes from the surrounding environment and the remaining 25% is from the household electricity supply. This makes heat pumps are more environmentally friendly option compared to traditional gas boilers.

Air source heat pumps

Air source heat pumps are one of the most popular types of heat pumps in the UK. They are highly efficient in the way they provide heating and hot water as they work by using the external temperature to extract heat.

They are suitable for various property types, including terraced houses, apartments, and flats.

Ground source heat pumps

Ground source heat pumps use a system embedded into the ground to extract heat. For this reason, your home does need the necessary land to allow for the installation of either a ground array or a borehole system.

Installed systems are not noticeable once completed. However, you will need space inside your home for the internal unit. Some electricity energy is required to allow this, though it is only around 25% of the total energy used during the process.

Water source heat pumps

Water source heat pumps use a system embedded in a water source to extract heat. Water source heat pumps provide the most reliable source of hot water and heating in homes, thanks to the consistent water temperatures outside.

Water source heat pumps come in closed-loop and open-loop systems. Closed systems are the most common as the necessary pipes are laid underground and in the body of water. Whereas, an open loop system requires additional installation as the system actively draws in water for operation such as a pond.

Additionally, installed water source systems are the most low-profile and are best used in instances where visuals must be preserved at all costs. Similarly to other heat pump types, you will need indoor space for the internal accessories.

Read our step-by-step on how to buy a heat pump and the things you may need to consider before installation.

How do heat pumps work?

For a more indepth explaination on how heat pumps work, watch the video:

What are the advantages of a heat pump system?

Incorporating heat pump technology into your home is one of the most economical, effective, and environmentally friendly ways to cover your heating and hot water needs.

As the main source of heat generation comes from the environment itself, the amount of energy required to generate the necessary heating for your home is vastly reduced compared to other methods.

Here are some of the benefits of modernising your home with heat pump technology:

  • Reduce energy bills

    Heat pumps generate most of the energy that they require from the environment around them, making them cost efficient option that can reduce running costs and energy bills.
  • Government incentives

    The Government now offers incentives for homeowners looking to install heat pumps through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme. The grant provides money off the cost of a low carbon heating technology up to £7,500.
    Read more on the Boiler Upgrade Scheme
  • Efficient operations

    Heat pumps generate their heat ow heat pumps generate their heat, and they are incredibly efficient. Vaillant heat pumps have been trailed and tested in temperatures down to -25°C
  • Sustainable

    The utilisation of natural energy sources means the approach to heating and hot water production is particularly sustainable.
  • Flexible

    Heat pumps work particularly well with both radiators or underfloor heating with low surface temperatures.
  • No emissions

    Heat pumps produce no emissions as 75% of energy is drawn from natural resources and the remaining 25% is electricity, therefore much more environmentally friendly than traditional heating systems.
  • System compatible

    A heat pump works excellently as part of a climate controlled system within the home and integrates easily with a range of heating controls, including smart home accessories such as the myVAILLANT connect internet gateway.
    Read more about the myVAILLANT connect
  • Quiet operation

    Vaillant heat pumps are some of the quietest on the market, meaning they can be easily installed even in built-up areas like townhouse complexes and terraced housing estates.
  • Long service life

    Modern heat pump units have life expectancy that are on average double that of a typical domestic boiler. Heat pumps have an average lifespan of 20-25 years if they are maintained well with regular services.
  • Low maintenance

    Heat pumps have a robust design with few moving parts meaning that they require little maintenance. Annual checks are required to ensure the terms and conditions of the guarantee are adhered to.
Male installer ho;ding a tablet looking over the heat pump

Heat pump installation process

Heat pumps contain more technical compartments compared to traditional gas boilers. The installation process is slightly more complicated and will take longer to complete. Your heat pump installer will inspect your home first and carry out the necessary checks to ensure your home is suitable.

They will also check your eligibility and apply for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme on your behalf. This can help you save up to £7,500 on the cost of installation.

Depending on the size of the heat pump you require, you may need to seek planning permission from your local authority ahead of installation.

Once everything has been checked and you are happy, the installation process can begin. We recommend having your new heat pump installed in the warmer months and your installer will have to disconnect your current system to fit the heat pump.

For further information on the heat pump installation, read our step-by-step guide on how to buy a heat pump.

Thinking of upgrading to a heat pump?