Insulation helps get the best out of heat pumps

Air source heat pumps work at low temperatures so, so if a home it is not sufficiently insulated, this will need to be improved before a heat pump is installed. The heat loss through the walls, roof and floors all must be minimised to enable efficient operation. Kevin Ellis, Grant UK’s renewables sales manager, explains how home insulation is key to getting the best out of a heat pump.

The measures we are discussing here are relevant to any of your customers, whether or not they are considering a heat pump. Improving the energy efficiencies of existing housing stock is a collective responsibility so hopefully this blog will be of interest to installers of all heating technologies.

Loft insulation

Loft insulation is an easy measure for most households to get started with. Ideally, to get the required u-value of 0.16W/m2k, 270mm of wool insulation needs to be laid within the loft. This is something homeowners can do themselves over a weekend at a cost of about £6 per m2 or, alternatively, an outside company can complete the work at a cost of around £11 to £15 per m2.

Wall insulation
Properties built after 1935 will more than likely have cavity walls and these are relatively simple to insulate. Cavity wall insulation involves the walls being drilled into and the insulation is injected within. This job, which does need to be carried out by a professional, should cost approximately £10 per m2 of wall. Meanwhile, for properties with solid walls, insulating these can be more of an issue but there are options available. These homes can either be clad with insulation on the outside or have insulation attached inside. Solid wall insulation procedures are more costly and can cost upwards of £15,000.

Most new homes built since the late 1990s will already have more than adequate insulation. Therefore, installing a heat pump becomes an easy decision since these homes will retain more heat and are already much better suited to low temperature heating systems. Current building regulations mean that homes built today are incredibly well insulated, allowing a heat pump to be the ideal heat source for such properties and helping the running costs to be significantly cheaper.

Double glazing

Installing double glazed windows is another measure which can help a home become ideally suited for a heat pump. Windows are an outlet for heat to escape a home so improving their insulation can greatly reduce a property’s heat loss. According to the Energy Saving Trust, by installing double glazing, a single-glazed detached home could save over £100 on their energy bills every year. In addition to the potential financial payback, installing double glazing can deliver several other benefits to your customers which are well worth highlighting.

Enjoy all the benefits
Double glazing will increase the amount of heat that can be kept inside a home. Not only will this mean that a property feels warmer but households will not need to use as much heating either. Using less heat, by lowering demand and reducing room temperatures, will in turn reduce the carbon footprint of a home while also resulting in a reduction of their energy bills too.

Alongside the benefits of heat retention and energy saving, double glazing can also be beneficial in other ways. It can be an effective barrier against noise, reducing the amount of sound transmitted into the home, and it can also serve as deterrent against intruders, helping to heighten the security of a property. Perhaps some of these benefits are not often thought about when making the decision to fit double glazing, but they are worth factoring in when having discussions with your customers.

In summary
The topic of net zero and the various legislative changes coming into effect in the coming years will mean that heat pumps play a more prominent role in the future of domestic heating. They will become common place on new build sites and demand from homeowners in existing housing stock is going to increase too. Encouraging your customers to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and helping them to understand how they can lower their carbon footprints will probably become a regular conversation that takes place between installers and householders over the coming months and years. Help your customers to take the right steps to not only improve their home’s efficiency but to prepare them so that they can benefit from the latest, greener heating technologies as well.

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