Heat pump - a cheap and environmentally friendly way to heat

10 of August '22

Rising bills and uncertainty about the availability of fuel make us increasingly look for alternatives to traditional heating. A modern, environmentally friendly and, above all, cost-effective solution is the heat pump.

How does a heat pump work?

A heat pump extracts energy from the environment, transforms it, and then transports and transfers the heat to the heating system. This is known as the transfer of energy from the lower source to the upper source ensuring the right temperature inside the building. The entire operation of the heat pump is based on the Linde thermodynamic cycle. In more sophisticated systems it ispossible to reverse the cycle and use it to cool the air in the house during the summer. Heat pumps are powered by electricity. To further minimize their operating costs, they can be integrated with a renewable energy source - such as photovoltaic panels. Heat pumps are an alternative to gas heating or coal-fired systems. Compared to these devices, the cost of purchasing a heat pump is higher, while operating costs are much lower. So the whole thing will pay for itself relatively quickly.

Schemat działania pompy ciepła

Diagram of heat pump operation

© Immergas

Advantages of a heat pump

A heatpump is first of all an ecologicalsolution. This is because it reduces emissions of pollutants into the environment. Also, the construction of the device itself is made on the basis of environmentally harmless substances. It is also a cost-effective choice. Heat pumps have high efficiency. The ratio of energy input to output is as high as 1:6. In addition, you can further reduce your bills by combining the pump with photovoltaics. This will allow you to use surplus energy production from the photovoltaic system to heat your home. In addition, the installation of a heat pump does not require a boiler room and interference with the construction of existing buildings. You also do not need a natural gas connection and a specialized chimneyas in the case of gas heating. A major advantage of heat pumps is that they are maintenance-free. It is even possible to program and control the unit remotely through an app on your phone or tablet.

You can also get a subsidy for the purchase, installation and design documentation of a heat pump. The My Heat program is designed for new buildings. It offers a subsidy for the purchase of an air or ground source pump. If, on the other hand, you want to replace old equipment, you can get a subsidy from the Clean Air program. The subsidy is up to PLN 25,000. If you combine the pump with photovoltaics, the value increases to PLN 30,000. The purchase and installation of a heat pump also allows you to take advantage of tax credits. You can deduct expenses up to PLN 53,000 from your income.

Pompą ciepła można sterować za pomocą aplikacji mobilnej

You can control the heat pump using a mobile application

© Panasonic

Types of heat pumps

We divide heat pumps according to the lower source, i.e. the place from where the device gets its energy. This can be air, ground or underground water. The most popular are air-to-water heat pumps. They use energy from the air. Their advantage is easy installation. However, it should be remembered that the efficiency of the device decreases as the temperature outside drops. Ground-source pumps are powered by heat from the ground. Their biggest advantage is the stability of operation regardless of the temperature outside. Unfortunately, they are quite expensive. Depending on the method of energy extraction, ground pumps are equipped with vertical or horizontal probes. They are filled with a solution with a low freezing point, which extracts heat from inside the earth. They then transfer the extracted energy to the device. With a small plot size, it is recommended to choose a pump with a vertical probe. These are single loops of pipes inserted deep into the ground. They are placed up to several tens of meters underground. If you have a larger area, you can choose a pump with a horizontal probe. They are laid relatively shallow in the ground, however, below the freezing zone. Water-water pumps extract heat from groundwater. This is made possible by drilling a drawdown or discharge well. Unfortunately, sometimes the use of water resources can involve obtaining the appropriate water permits.

Pompa ciepła pozwala zaoszczędzić na rachunkach za ogrzewanie

Heat pump saves on heating bills

© Daikin

What to pay attention to when choosing a pump?

Several factors affect the performance of a heat pump. The first is efficiency, or COP (Coefficient of Performance). It indicates the ratio of the amount of heat delivered to the amount of electricity consumed in its generation. When buying, it is also worth paying attention to the life of the device. Manufacturers declare that the period is about 25 years. However, it depends on many factors. To extend its life regularly, take care of the condition and cleanliness of the heating system, choose the right pump, tailored to your needs, and regularly inspect it. It is also important to check the heating capacity and the noise level generated by the device. The value of the noise level must not exceed the permissible value indicated in Polish regulations. For single-family housing, the noise reaching the neighboring plot can be a maximum of 50dB during the day and 40dB at night. For terraced housing, it is 55dB during the day and 45dB at night, respectively.

Pompa ciepła to ekologiczne rozwiązanie

A heat pump is an environmentally friendly solution

© Neoheat

How much does it cost to operate a heat pump?

To calculate the cost of operating a heat pump, you need to take into account its SPF (Seasonal Performance Factor), which is a value that describes the efficiency of the unit throughout the year or heating season, taking into account the actual values of heat demand and electricity consumption. For air source heat pumps, the average SPF value is three, and for ground source heat pumps the score rises to four. The amount of energy demand is affected not only by the size of the house, but also by its insulation. In new construction, heating one square meter requires about 70 kWh of thermal energy per year. In an old building before thermal upgrading, this value rises to 140 kWh per sq. m. For a 150 sq. m. building with good insulation, the annual energy requirement is 10,500 kWh. For an old house, the value rises to 21 thousand kWh. Add the two values, and then divide the result by the value of the SPF factor, which for air heat pumps is three. For a new building, 3,500 kWh of electricity is required to produce 10,500 kWh of heat, while an older structure will require 7,000 kWh of electricity. The cost of one kWh of electricity in August 2022 is PLN 0.77. The annual cost of maintaining a heat pump for a new building is therefore less than 2.7 thousand zlotys. An old house will require more heat energy, so the cost rises to almost 5.4 thousand zlotys. To the annual cost you must also add the price of inspection. It amounts to about 500 zlotys.

You can read more about heating here

Development: Katarzyna Szostak

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