At the time of their first appearance heat pump water boilers have been a major revolution in electric water heating. The way a heat pump works is rather complicated, and it puts simple electric water boilers to shame. Before all you had was an insulated tank with a couple of electric heating elements.
A heat pump water boiler uses a process like that of a refrigerator, or an air conditioner (more on that later). Instead of heating water directly through electricity they use it as a third party. Basically, a special fluid is used to move heat from one place to another.
This fluid, called refrigerant, can change its form between gas and liquid through pressure changes. Air is drawn into the heat pump where the gas instance of the refrigerant awaits. The refrigerant draws the heat and releases cooler air back in the room. Then the refrigerant is moved to a compressor where it is pressurized back into a liquid and then releases the heat in water.
Heat pump water boiler advantages
Apart from the clever design, there are several distinct advantages when using heat pump water boiler systems.
Save money each month
Heat pumps effectively double the efficiency of an electric water boiler. You get twice as much hot water for every Kw/h. Normally good electric water boiler have an Energy Factor close to 1.0. With a heat pump add-on that Energy Factor goes up to 2.0 even 2.5. Energy Factor is a measure of conversion efficiency that also factors in standby heat loss. A heat pump can save you as much as £300 every year.
Free Air Conditioner
By stealing heat from the surrounding air and transferring it to hot water the heat pump acts as a subtle air conditioner. This is a welcome benefit in the summer, and may make unbearable rooms a pleasure to sit in.
Another benefit of the heat pump is that it dehumidifies air. Considering how moss grows virtually everywhere there is any form of moisture, having a free way to keep the humidity level low rids of many potential health problems.
Heat pump water boiler disadvantages
Unstoppable Air conditioner
I know I just said it is a big benefit, but it can also be detrimental. In the winter, when it is cold enough as it is, having this extra chill source might not be what you had in mind. Of course, you could always just spend your days in the bathtub but, sadly, you will not be able to sit at the computer while you are doing that.
Higher winter heating cost
Another drawback from the same cause is an increased heating cost during the winter. This happens if you are heating your home with electricity. It is sort of a negation of the savings. But if you are using a cheaper fuel source to heat your home you should still come on top in terms of money.
Complicated heat pump installation
There is a high probability that the condensate drain line (which has to be installed, bummer) will complicate your heat pump installation. If you want to put it in the basement it will be especially complicated to install.
Finally, this one is for you to decide if it is an advantage or not, the initial price of a heat pump can be expensive. Prices range from £700 to more than £3000. With the estimated £300 maximum savings you will recuperate your money in a minimum of 3-10 years, depending on the product. Thankfully heat pump water boilers can last much longer than that.
Edinburgh Central Heating Services offer free estimates and range of skills. A 24-hour emergency plumbing service is also offered. For more information visit www.edinburghcentralheatingservice.com or telephone 0131 5102418