A heat pump uses technology similar to that found in a refrigerator or an air
conditioner. It extracts heat1 from a source, such as the surrounding air,
geothermal energy stored in the ground, or nearby sources of water or waste heat
from a factory. It then amplifies and transfers the heat to where it is needed.
Because most of the heat is transferred rather than generated, heat pumps are
far more efficient than conventional heating technologies such as boilers or
electric heaters and can be cheaper to run. The output of energy in the form of
heat is normally several times greater than that required to power the heat
pump, normally in the form of electricity. For example, the coefficient of
performance (COP) for a typical household heat pump is around four, i.e. the
energy output is four times greater than the electrical energy used to run it.
This makes current models 3‐5 times more energy efficient than gas boilers. Heat
pumps can be combined with other heating systems, commonly gas, in hybrid
The heat pump itself consists of a compressor, which moves a refrigerant
through a refrigeration cycle, and a heat exchanger, which extracts heat from
the source. The heat is then passed on to a heat sink through another heat
exchanger. In buildings, the heat is delivered using either forced air or
hydronic systems such as radiators or under‐floor heating. Heat pumps can be
connected to a tank to produce sanitary hot water or provide flexibility in
hydronic systems. Many of the heat pumps can also provide space cooling in
summer in addition to meeting space heating needs in winter. In industry, heat
pumps are used to deliver hot air, water or steam, or to directly heat
materials. Large‐scale heat pumps in commercial or industrial applications or in
district heating networks require higher input temperatures than in residential
applications, which can be sourced from the waste heat of industrial processes,
data centres or wastewater.
A heat pump is a versatile and efficient cooling and heating system that can
use air, the ground, or water to transfer heat. Next, let’s take a look at the
advantages of heat pumps and why we should use them.
1. Lower Running Costs & Less
Heat pumps are cheaper to run than systems based on combustion. The more
energy efficient the systems are, the greater the long-term savings on energy.
Despite the fact that the prices of ground source heat pumps can go all the way
up to £45,000, this environmentally friendly investment can help you save up to
£1,400 per year.
Heat pumps require less maintenance than combustion heating systems. Certain
aspects of the heat pump will need to be checked about once a year, but this can
easily be done by yourself. A professional installer will only have to check the
heat pump every 3 or 5 years.
2. Better Safety & Long Life-Span
Heat pumps are safe to operate in general and also considered to be safer
than combustion-based heating systems. This is because they rely on electricity
and do not need to burn fuel to generate heat.
The average life-span of a heat pump is about 15 years, and some can even
function efficiently for more than 20 years. They are exceptionally reliable and
a steady source of heat.
3. Reduces Carbon Emissions & Eligible for Boiler
A heat pump system reduces your carbon emissions and has an efficient
energy-to-heat conversion rate. For example, water source heat pumps can reach
impressive efficiency levels close to 600%.
The UK government introduced the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) to encourage
homeowners in England and Wales to install low carbon heating systems, such as
heat pumps and biomass boilers. Applications were opened in spring 2022 and the
scheme is planned to last for 3 years.
For those who meet the eligibility criteria, you could potentially receive up
to £5,000 for an air source heat pump or £6,000 for a ground source heat pump to
help you with the initial costs.
In heat pumps, conventional fuel-based heating systems are replaced with
technologies that incorporate renewable or green energy sources for functioning.
This USP has led to the significant adoption of heat pump technology in
residential areas as an option for low-cost heating systems. Apart from this,
heat pump technology has contributed significantly to reducing carbon emissions
and also complies with regulatory norms.
As a result, growing environmental concerns and permissive regulatory
policies are fueling the growth of the heat pump market. Heat pumps using
natural refrigerants are gaining traction. Natural refrigerants such as ammonia
(R717), carbon dioxide (R744), and hydrocarbon are being increasingly preferred
due to their environment-friendly properties.
Key suppliers of heat pumps are focusing on product differentiation through
innovation in terms of integration of new technologies, new application areas,
and improving efficiency. The latest technologies being integrated by key
players are hybrid heat pumps with gas boilers, gas heat pumps, inverter-driven
compressors, and smart heat pumps. The growth of Heat Pumps is likely to grow at
a growth rate of 4.5% by Volume over the assessment period of 2022 to 2032.