Understanding Heat Pumps and Underfloor Heating
In basic terms, a heat pump moves thermal energy from an external source into a building, which is then used to provide heating and hot water.
The two main types of heat pumps available are air-source and ground-source, which draw energy from the air or the ground, respectively.
Heat pumps are highly energy-efficient and can deliver three to four times more heat energy than the electrical energy they use. This is because they do not burn fuel to create heat and therefore produce fewer carbon emissions than traditional heating methods.
The rise in demand for heat pumps and underfloor heating systems can be attributed to changes in building regulations, which require new-builds to produce fewer CO2 emissions and emphasize the importance of low-carbon heating. Heat pumps and underfloor heating are an ideal partnership as they are highly energy-efficient and produce fewer carbon emissions than traditional heating systems.
Wet underfloor heating operates at a lower temperature than traditional radiators, making it a perfect match for heat pumps. Both air-source and ground-source heat pumps can be used with underfloor heating, giving builders and developers more options for their projects.
Wet (hydronic) underfloor heating and heat pumps make for an excellent heating system in many buildings due to their ability to significantly reduce a building’s carbon footprint. Heat pumps, in particular, are known for their low carbon emissions as they do not require the burning of fuels to run. According to EDF Energy, a heat pump can reduce carbon emissions by over 23 tonnes of CO2 in just 10 years.
Underfloor heating is also less carbon-intensive than traditional radiator systems because of its lower operating temperature, quick heat-up time, and even heat distribution. Therefore, using a heat pump instead of a boiler to power underfloor heating is an ideal solution for low-carbon heating.
Additionally, radiators typically operate at a higher temperature of around 70°C, which is inefficient for heat pumps that operate at a lower temperature. Underfloor heating systems, on the other hand, are designed to run at around 35°C while still providing an equal or even better level of heat distribution than radiators, making them a perfect match for heat pumps.
Both air-source and ground-source heat pumps can be used with underfloor heating, providing builders and developers with more options for their projects. Air-source heat pumps are suitable for both new and retrofit buildings, as they are easy to install and require little space outside the building. However, ground-source heat pumps work better with new builds, as the installation process, particularly the placement of pipes within the ground, can cause significant disruption.