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What is a heat pump?

side view of a 12kW aroTHERM heat pump outside home

What you'll learn

  • Advantages of a heat pump system
  • Types of heat pumps

Heat pumps use environmental energy to generate heating and hot water for your home. Heat pumps extract thermal energy (heat) from the air, ground or a local water source - such as a river, which is then converted by a heat pump to generate heating and hot water for your home.

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 using a heat pump system in your home:

  • Reduce energy bills

    Heat pumps generate most of the energy that they require from the environment around them, helping to lower overall running costs and energy bills.
  • Government incentives

    The Government now offers incentives for homeowners looking to install heat pumps and more sustainable heating options into their properties.
  • No emissions

    Heat pumps produce no emissions and are therefore much more environmentally-friendly than traditional heating systems
  • Efficient operations

    Due to the way in which heat pumps generate their heat, they are incredibly efficient, even in cold temperatures.
  • 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 underfloor heating and radiators with low surface temperatures
  • 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.
  • System compatible

    A heat pump works excellently as part of a climate controlled system within the home, and integrates easily with a range of controls, including smart home accessories.
  • Long service life

    Modern heat pump units have life expectancies which are on average double that of a typical domestic boiler, with boilers typically expected to last around 10-12 years, and heat pumps having an average lifespan of 20-25 years.
  • Low maintenance

    Heat pumps have a robust design and very few moving parts meaning that they require very little maintenance. Annual checks are required to ensure the terms and condition of the guarantee are adhered to. A regularly serviced and maintained heat pump can last up to 20 years.

Types of heat pumps

There are multiple types of heat pumps that can be used and the best one will likely depend on your home location and surrounding environment. Heat pumps can use air, ground or water sources to generate hot water and heating for your home, with 75% of the energy they used being generated entirely by their surrounding environment (and the further 25% by your household electricity supply).

  • Air source heat pumps
Air source heat pumps use the external temperature to extract heat and are the most common type of heat pumps, suitable for use even in apartment and flat situations off the ground floor. Some electricity energy is required to allow this, though it is only around 25% of the total energy used during the process. Air source heat pumps will operate in low temperatures too.

  • 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 installation of either a ground array or borehole system. Installed systems are not noticeable once completed. 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 often provide the most reliable source of hot water and heating in homes, thanks to the consistent water temperatures outside. Additionally, installed water source systems are the most low-profile and are best used in instances where visuals must be preserved at all costs. Some electricity energy is required to allow this, though it is only around 25% of the total energy used during the process.

How do heat pumps work?

Watch the video here:

Thinking of upgrading to a heat pump?