If you’re considering how to heat your home, you may be wondering whether you should stay with the traditional gas boiler or go for the more modern and eco- friendly heat pump.
When it comes to gas boiler v’s heat pump, the technologies are very different, although in theory, the result is the same, central heating and hot water. Below, we will take a closer look at both of these options so you can make a well-informed decision about which one you should choose to heat your home.
Differences Between Gas Boilers and Heat Pumps
Gas boilers and heat pumps produce different kinds of heat. Gas boilers produce a high volume of heat very quickly that has a high temperature difference. Therefore, boilers work with radiators at a high temperature.
On the contrary, heat pumps produce heat slowly and the temperature difference is smaller. As the heat pump produces lower temperatures, emitters or radiators require a far bigger surface area so that it in effect becomes a convector instead of a radiator. Emitters like underfloor heating are perfect with a heat pump since they run at lower temperatures than regular radiators.
Gas boiler systems run with average flow temperatures of 70 degrees Celsius however there is a difference in temperature between the water entering and exiting the radiator of 10 degrees Celsius. So, the water leaving the radiator is 10 degrees Celsius cooler than the water entering the radiator.
Heat pump systems, however, have a typical temperature of about 37.5 degrees Celsius. The temperature difference is around 5 degrees Celsius. Therefore, the water leaving the emitter is only 5 degrees cooler than the water that went into it.
If you choose a heat pump instead of a gas boiler, the radiators must be very accurately sized. Also, you have to have the ability to control the water’s speed inside the circuit together with the heat delivery to the circuit.
This balance is crucial and may not be possible in a high energy usage or older property. If you decide to get rid of your existing gas boiler and get a heat pump instead, your existing pipework and radiators will almost certainly need updating too.
What Type of Property s Best For a Gas Boiler and What is Best For a Heat Pump?
To enhance heat pumps, a property needs a lot of good insulation. Ground source heat pumps are best for larger homes, while air source heat pumps are most suited to properties under 300 square metres.
A gas boiler is best for producing fast heat in less efficient, older buildings (like most UK residential properties).
In new-build properties, installing a heat pump isn’t too challenging, but in existing properties, retrofitting a heat pump is far more expensive and more complicated.
What is The Cost?
If you are installing an air source heat pump at a new-build home, it will cost between £8000 and £16000. To install one at an existing home it will cost as much as £28,000 since much of the pipework and radiators will need replacing. A ground source heat pump will cost about £14000 – £25000 to install, and even more if a large borehole collector is needed.
On the other hand, a combi-boiler will only cost between £1000 -£2000 depending on the make and model you choose. With installation costing around £1000, the total cost comes in at about £2000 – £3000. There is no arguing that is far cheaper than a heat pump.
Gas boilers don’t take up much space in a home. They can usually fit easily into a cupboard or on a wall discreetly inside the home. Heat pumps, on the other hand, require different equipment. An air source heat pump has a large box which must be fitted outside the property containing a compressor and fan. It will require about 2m of empty space in front.
You’ll also require space inside your property for a control box, hot water cylinder, and maybe an additional buffer tank. If you opt for a ground source heat pump, you’ll need pipework to be buried under the ground outside your home (but not under any tree roots, near services, or underneath any buildings).
This will take up around 50-100 square metres of space per kW, so on average, you’ll need around 400-800 metres squared for a typical 8kW ground source heat pump. The GSHP’s engine will be inside the property and can be similar in size to an under-counter fridge or an American-style fridge freezer depending on which brand and capacity you choose. Furthermore, there is a buffer cylinder and hot water cylinder to consider.
There can be no argument that most existing UK properties aren’t suitable for a heat pump system so in most cases gas boilers are still the best option for now. If you need help choosing the most energy efficient and cost effective boiler to suit the needs of yourself and your property then contact JWC Plumbing & Heating today – 0151 345 4039