Types of heat pumps - what does each heat pump do?
In general, there are three main types of heat pumps that you are likely to find in both residential and commercial settings: air-to-air heat pumps, water source heat pumps and geothermal heat pumps. We've listed the main functionalities and differences below. So let’s take a deeper look into the types of heat pumps, how they work and how much each pump costs.
Air Source Heat Pump
An air-source heat pump is typically one of the most popular choices available. They often range from around £6000 to £15000 which includes installation but the price differences are down to a number of factors. You can read a bit more about air source heat pump price factors here.
An air source heat pump implements a system that transfers heat from outside a building to inside; (or the other way around) altering the temperature of the air in the process. This is carried out through a complex set of principles, including compression refrigeration and condenser systems which allows the pump to absorb air, heat the air and then release to another space.
You can use an air source heat pump to heat your radiators, water or underfloor heating systems. There are several reasons why air source heat pumps are a popular choice as they provide many benefits, including lower fuel bills, minimal maintenance and lower carbon emissions. An air-source heat pump usually uses two types of systems - either an air-to-water system and an air-to-air system.
Ground Source Heat Pump
A ground source heat pump system is possibly the most ecologically friendly way of heating a space. The pump heats air from the earth and in the same way as an air source heat pump, moves it from one place to another. It uses what is known as a heat exchange loop to constantly restore and provide heat and hot water.
The technology is similar to that used in a fridge and transfers heat as necessary. It is an efficient type of system and can be up to 3 to 4x more efficient than a traditional gas boiler in terms of electricity production, thus producing fewer carbon dioxide emissions. The price of a ground source heat pump can vary because it depends on the size and heat output that you will require as well as the size of the ground space available. For example if you’re heating a large office building you will require a greater capacity than you would for, say a residential house. However, installation is likely to be within the range of £10,000 to £18,000 to install and set up it. You can read more about ground source heat pump cost factors here.
Water Source Heat Pumps
A water source heat pump is a system that works by extracting air from a body of water and then turning this into heat which can be used to heat your home. Often it is carried out via a number of submerged pipes which will contain a fluid and then absorbed via a river, lake, pond or borehole, depending on what is available in your area.
Duct-Split Mini Heat Pumps
Ducted and mini-split heat pumps will operate the same way as each other by transferring heat from one place to another as opposed to creating the heat itself. Air ducts act as a type of artery system for the home and can be split off to create a network. They are efficient and functional but you may find you have to heat your entire home and not one specific part because of the way the ducts interconnect and how the system works.
Absorption Heat Pumps
A gas-absorption heat pump uses what is known as a sealed thermodynamic circuit, which will contain water often mixed with some type of solution such as ammonia to help absorb the heat. They can provide hot water and heating supply and are an eco-friendly option, as are all heat pumps.
Hybrid Heat Pumps
A hybrid heat pump is a heat pump combined with a type of renewable energy source that works within a familiar traditional boiler setting. For example, you could have a gas boiler and using an air source heat pump. The system will automatically switch depending on the type of energy efficiency that it can provide at the time.
Heat pumps have been known to reduce the cost of energy bills because they are generally very inexpensive to run. Whilst the cost of installation may set you back a little more, the cost of the monthly bill will be lessened. Get a heat pump quote here.