For homeowners, there will undoubtedly be a mix of renewable energy
options, and heat pumps have been identified as playing an important role in
decarbonizing our homes. Low temperature heat pumps can comfortably heat our
homes, but they require us to install larger radiators and provide a high
degree of insulation for our homes.
The Climate Change Council has identified high temperature (HT) heat
pumps as a viable option for many homes where low temperature heat pumps are
impractical. HT heat pumps can run our existing radiators with little or no
adjustment, but they are less efficient and more expensive to install. We
explore the pros and cons of this renewable technology.
Our existing home heating system
The vast majority of homes have gas or oil boilers and high temperature
radiators installed. For older non-condensing boilers, the temperature from the
boiler to the radiator is 80 degrees.
With modern condensing boilers, the heating temperature should be lower
so that the boiler operates at higher efficiency, although this rarely happens
in practice. But sure, the boiler's 65-degree temperature can run a standard
radiator-based heating system.
Barriers to Cryogenic Heat Pumps
All air source heat pumps are viable alternatives to our gas and oil
boilers. They have a standard capacity of between 3-16kW and have the potential
to heat most homes; on very cold days the average heat demand is only 6-8kW.
However, low temperature heat pumps are most efficient when the heating
system temperature is operating between 35-45 degrees. Our homes can still be
heated with this lower temperature, but our radiators need to be larger to
dissipate more heat. So a new low temperature heat pump will also mean new
radiators unless we drastically increase our insulation levels.
High temperature heat pump
HT heat pumps are designed to operate at 80 degrees, so they can heat
standard radiators. Other advanced heat pumps operate up to 65 degrees and are
also ideal for existing heating systems.
The downside is that high temperature heat pumps are more expensive to
install and less efficient than low temperature models. The exterior units are
also larger and therefore require a garden. Still, they may be the only option
for some families.
When is the right time for me to use a high temperature heat pump?
There is no doubt that the next decade will push to insulate our homes
so that we can adapt to low-carbon technologies, especially low-temperature
However, some properties may not achieve a high level of insulation,
such as listed and older properties. If it seems unlikely that your heating
system will run at 45 degrees, a high temperature heat pump is a great option,
and can be installed right now, and you can partially decarbonize your home in
Efficiency of high temperature heat pumps
With the right setup, homeowners can expect a SCOP of around 2-2.5. This
means that per unit of electricity, the device will generate 2-2.5 units of
free energy from the air.
SCOP is the efficiency of the heat pump in a year. When the heat pump is
operating at a higher temperature, the efficiency will decrease significantly
in the winter months, and it will be more efficient during the spring and
autumn months when it can operate at a lower temperature.
While high temperature heat pumps are capable of heating 65 or 80
degrees, that's not to say they should operate at that temperature. The higher
the temperature, the lower the efficiency. Heating systems should be designed
as practical as possible to run as low as possible and only rely on maximum
temperatures when absolutely necessary.
How to find a high-quality heat pump?
There are many manufacturers and brands of high temperature heat pumps.
We are a professional manufacturer. We have high quality heat pumps. If you are
considering a new heat pump, you can contact us.