Nowadays, there’s little doubt that heat pumps are among the most sophisticated tri-purpose heating and cooling devices available on the market. With its unique ability to meet the cooling, heating, and hot water needs within your home or commercial property, these devices are rendered supreme by the fact that it draws on the air outside for these purposes. This means that with minimal use of electricity, your device can power up most of the major functions within your home.
With heating and cooling amounting to 40% of energy consumption in an average Australian household, devices such as heat pumps can truly transform energy usage and savings.
Our blog this week focuses on how these devices prove to be remarkable when it comes to powering up underfloor heating systems in any given property!
How do these systems make use of heat pump technology?
Hydronic or underfloor heating is an incredibly cost-efficient and low energy heating solution for both residential and commercial properties.
Suited for a range of installation options, these systems are taking a firm hold in the market owing to its numerous benefits. Among these, the freedom with which users can design their space, powerful heating capabilities, and a lack of negative health impacts, add to its cost effective and energy-efficient capabilities.
By combining heat pump technology with that of underfloor heating, you bring together the unparalleled benefits of both these systems. Here, hydronic heating can use the former to take advantage of convection, encouraging heat to rise up through a space instead of forcing it down. This also allows for zoned control - instead of heating up an entire floor of an office or home, specific rooms and spaces can be heated as and when required.
Given that heat pumps can seamlessly switch from either heating or cooling, as well as its easy integration with photovoltaic and battery banks, it makes it easier for energy to be purchased off-grid.
An overview of heat pump technology
In the energy market, these devices come in various forms and are selected based on a number of different factors. The two major types of devices, in this regard, are Geothermal Heat Pumps and Air-To-Water Heat Pumps.
Geothermal pumps while more costlier compared to air-to-water systems, are also more efficient. They also require less maintenance and are much quieter in their operations.
These devices draw heat from the ground and are, therefore, not weather dependant - a significant advantage for its users. This also means that geothermal pumps are effective even in colder climates or where weather conditions tend to be extreme.
While these devices prove to expensive in the beginning, these costs are always offset in the long-run by their superior efficiency and reliability. It also has an expected lifespan of around 25 years, with initial investment being returned over a period of 5-10 years.
Air-to-water pumps, on the other hands, are perfect for those with a budget constraint. These devices are much cheaper to install and integrate into existing buildings. Opposed to geothermal pumps, air-to-water devices draw in heat energy from the surrounding air. The drawback to this is that it make it more dependant on climate conditions. Heat and efficiency output, therefore, is heavily dependant, on the weather outside.
With these systems, the design of a heating/cooling system is pertinent to ensuring that the heat pump operates with maximum effectivity. In order to combat phenomena such as low flow, attention needs to be paid to a heat pump’s minimum floor area requirement. This is because air-to-water devices must cover a minimum floor in order to function consistently and efficiently.
What are the benefits of combining underfloor heating with heat pumps?
One of the main benefits of combining these superior systems are its improved cost and energy efficiency.
While heat pumps do use a certain amount of electricity to power up its machinery, the systems boast a Coefficient of Performance (COP) of 4.5, compared to natural gas boilers and diesel boilers which only produce a COP of 0.93 apiece.
Heat pumps, therefore, consume only around 4.44kW of electricity in order to support a 20kW heat load, while a natural gas boiler will require over 21.5kW to produce the same yield. This means that heat pumps offer an exponential cost saving capability of up to 70% on an average household’s electricity bills.
These devices also offer greater design flexibility compared to more conventional technologies such as gas boilers or ducted heating and cooling systems.
Heat pumps are truly efficient devices, especially when combined with the beneficial effects of underfloor heating systems.
As this blog has demonstrated, if you’re looking for an energy-efficient cooling and heating system for your property, bringing together the powerful capabilities of these systems will provide more long-term benefits than one would expect.