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Can Air to Water Heat Pumps Work with Existing Radiators?

Views: 263     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-05-30      Origin: Site

Everyone wants their home to remain warm through winter, and some of us would prefer to achieve this in an eco-friendly manner. Air to water heat pumps check these two boxes since they'll keep your home warm and use electricity instead of natural gas or oil. However, can air to water heat pumps work with existing radiators?

In this comprehensive guide, we answer this question in detail and other related questions. This way, you'll be certain whether your home will make the most of the air to heat pump or not.

Let's get started!


Air to Water Heat Pumps

What is a heat pump?


A heat pump is a machine that functions almost like a reverse fridge. It pulls heat from the surrounding air and passes it through a refrigerant liquid lodged in multiple tubes, which turns the gas into a liquid. This liquid gets heated to a gaseous form.

Next, a compressor is utilized on the gas to surge pressure, increasing its temperature until it's hot. This hot gas moves via a heat exchanger, where it heats air or water circulated throughout your home. Lastly, the refrigerant condenses to liquid before the cycle restarts.


So, can air to water heat pump work with existing radiators?


Yes. An air to water heat pump can work with existing radiators; however, there are several concerns about the optimal output temperature attainable through heat pumps.

One of the most common misunderstandings that surround heat pumps is that they need a wide range of special gear to work as they should. For example, some people think that only homes with premium insulation and underfloor heating are ideal for heat pumps; this is obviously a huge misconception.

Even though these two aspects play a role in offering a suitable setting for installing the heat pump, they aren't a must-have for it to run accordingly. This is also the case with radiators.

Certainly, radiators can blend in well with air to water heat pumps, and most of the time, you won't have to replace existing radiators if you purchase an air to water heat pump to replace a fossil fuel heat solution.

Most governments encourage homeowners to walk the eco-friendly path and adopt renewable heating solutions.


Variations of output temperature depending on your heating solution


Let's define a residential hydronic heating mechanism: this system utilizes hot water to keep your house warm. First, the geothermal heat pump heats the water. Typically, an air to water heat pump is powered by either electricity, wood, natural gas, or oil. The hot water moves via the heat distribution mechanism before going back to the heat pump to get reheated.

The output temperature of the water that keeps your home warm will depend on the system installed. For example, if your boiler is oil-fired, giving hot water radiators or baseboards, the output temperature will be around 82℃. The increased output temperature requires less surface area to discharge sufficient heat to keep the house warm.

On the other hand, other heat solution mechanisms like in-floor systems call for lower output temperatures and discharge heat over a more significant surface area.


How do heat pumps operate with radiators?


The best way to get ideal air-to-water heat pump results is relatively different from conventional boilers. Oftentimes, people turn off their heating solutions, wait until it becomes cold in the house, and begin using the heat pump until the home is warm.

An air to water heat pump is somewhat different from a gas boiler as it takes more time to heat your home. Since it takes more time to heat your home and works at a low temperature, it would be best to run it for extended periods. This translates to letting the temperature rise and fall, though you'll eventually get a consistent, comfortable temperature.

Conventional heating mechanisms might feel like an unending rope of consistent tweaks. Air source heat pumps give room for a more constant temperature rate. All you need is to change your perspective.

Again, there are several things to do to get the most from your radiators and air source heat pumps, such as ensuring that the pump has no blockages and insulating the house. Generally, these small changes can have a significant positive effect on the planet and your pocket.


How can I know if the existing radiators will run with an air to water heat pump?


The most suitable way to know if your existing radiators are compatible with your air to water heat pump is to hire the services of a heat pump engineer. They will be able to determine the compatibility of the rads and inform you whether they're fully capable of working with your air source heat pump to warm your home.

Furthermore, the heat pump engineer might recommend installing extra heating gadgets like towel rails which will come in handy in supplementing the output heat levels, or an alternative device like underfloor heating.

Ideally, seeing as low-temperature flow is usually nascent from heat pumps, the surface area producing warmth has to be bigger if powered by an oil boiler or gas. On the other hand, if the existing radiators are large and potent, you might not need to make any changes.

Besides, the chances that the existing rads will be compatible with the air source heat pump also surge when the reduced water content is installed. These radiators will perfectly work with your air to water heat pump, provided they take some time to warm up, though they'll provide a great output once they warm up.


What to consider when picking heat pump radiators


When choosing an air source heat pump, material and size are the primary variables. Nonetheless, it would help if you considered aesthetics, like a vertical or horizontal radiator, but this isn't as essential as the material and size of the radiators.

Meanwhile, there are other variables you want to remember, such as your house's heat loss rate and temperature requirements. For instance, you might not need the kitchen to be as warm as your bedroom.

Choosing the ideal radiator is worth it. Fortunately, depending on your home's setup, it might not be a tiresome process. The radiator you pick will significantly affect how your air to water heat pump will work.


Are radiators the most suitable choice to work with air to water heat pumps?


Yes. In some instances, radiators will be the best option for heat pumps. If you want to replace your gas boiler with a heat pump, keeping the existing radiators will be good.

Nevertheless, radiators might not be the best choice to work with your air source heat pump or the ground source heat pumps in terms of energy efficiency.

Since a spacious heating surface area is needed to attain the desired temperatures, underfloor heating is preferred, as it is a great method of transmitting warmth in your home. However, it might take some time to warm the entire house.

All things considered, a home with underfloor heating, along with an excellent radiator, or gadgets like heating towel rails, is seen as the ideal setup for air to water heat pumps.


How about air to water heat pumps with radiators?


Typically, heat pumps run better at low temperatures compared to radiators, which work better at high-temperature flows. All the same, in most situations, air to water heat pumps can spread heat in your house using the existing radiators.


FAQs


Which heat pump should I use?


Most governments encourage people to use eco-friendly options and avoid fossil fuel heating solutions. This simply means that eventually, low-carbon heating solutions like air to water heat pumps will become the go-to choice.

Hence, if your boiler is ancient, broken, and needs to be replaced, or if you're searching for an affordable heating solution for your house that needs less maintenance, it would be best to purchase an air to water heat pump for your home.

Heat pumps offer an efficacy level of 300 % to 500 %, which can reduce your utility bills.


Can my home house a heat pump?


Having covered what to consider when looking for a radiator and whether existing radiators will work with an air to water heat pump, it would be best to know whether your house can accommodate an air source heat pump.

Since an air-to-water heat pump heats water at a low temperature compared to gas boilers, they are more suitable for properly insulated houses with underfloor heating or existing sizeable radiators that can run at low temperatures.

Even so, when applying for a government grant, you'll as well have to make sure that:

Your home has a legitimate Energy Performance Certificate given within the last decade, with no unresolved recommendations to finalize connecting the installation of cavity or loft wall insulation.

However, this scheme is not accessible if you reside in a newly constructed property or social housing. On the other hand, private leased homes are eligible though the landlord is the one who needs to decide.


Hopefully, this guide has helped you better understand the relationship between air to water heat pumps and radiators.


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