How effective are heat pumps?

One of the primary advantages of heat pumps is their remarkable energy efficiency. The efficiencies of air source heat pumps can surpass 300% as they transfer heat instead of generating it.

The efficiency of a heat pump is contingent on the effort required to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home – the lower the flow temperature (the temperature at which water circulates through your radiators), the higher the efficiency. This is why larger radiators are more efficient – with bigger radiators and underfloor heating, the heat pump doesn’t need to operate at such high temperatures to warm your house, thereby increasing efficiency.

Assessing Heat Pump Efficiency

The efficiency of a heat pump is evaluated by its Coefficient of Performance (CoP), which indicates how effectively the heat pump system can heat your home under optimal conditions. According to this scale, heat pump efficiency can reach up to 4. This implies that for every unit of electricity you input, heat pumps have the potential to generate 4 units of heat.

To provide some context, electric heaters function at around 100% efficiency (1 unit of electricity produces 1 unit of heat), and even the most modern oil and gas boilers only operate at an efficiency of approximately 90%.

Comparing Heat Pump Efficiency

The problem with comparing heat pumps based on their CoP values is that they provide unrealistic expectations of heat pump performance, as they only display efficiency under peak conditions. During winter when the outdoor temperature falls, the efficiency of air source heat pumps decreases (sometimes to around 1.5 CoP), as they need to use more electricity to maintain your usual room temperature.

It’s far more useful to compare heat pump efficiency based on their Seasonal Coefficient of Performance (SCoP). The SCoP provides a true reflection of heat pump efficiency as it accounts for seasonal variation, giving you an average value over the entire year.

Interested in finding out the cost of your Heat Pump?

Why not complete our brief Home Survey? We’ll be able to determine if your home is a good fit for a heat pump, verify your eligibility for available government funding, and provide you with a quote. It’s a quick and easy process. Click here to get started.

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