Please find our frequently asked questions below. If there is something else you’d like to ask that isn’t listed or need any more information about a product, you can use the “Ask a question” form at the bottom of the page.
What is a heat pump and how does it work?
A heat pump works like a refrigerator but in reverse. Heat pumps extract heat from a cold environment which then can be used for heating and hot water preparation. The heat pump transfers heat by circulating refrigerant through a cycle of alternating evaporation and condensation. A compressor pumps the refrigerant between two heat exchangers, where it is first evaporated at low pressure and absorbs the heat from it’s surroundings, and then it is condensed at a high pressure releasing the free heat it absorbed earlier in the cycle.
What are the benefits of a heat pump?
Fossil fuels have serious consequences on the environment as large quantities of pollutants such as sulphur and nitrogen oxide are released during combustion. Also since oil and gas reserves are limited, basing such a large percentage of our energy supply on fossil fuels also presents a serious problem.
Legislation has already changed to favour more renewable or newly developed heat and electricity generating methods. Annual production in kW/hr is estimated in Ireland to be around 3,500+ hours so savings of €700 are achievable which when grossed up for tax could equal approximately €1,400
Does it cost less to run a heat pump in comparison to oil or gas?
In 2017 heat pumps are running at around half the cost* of oil and natural gas, although normally this would be more like one third of the cost of oil but the recent price drop has been factored in.
Heat pumps also offer significant savings and greater comfort control due to the more sophisticated controls that are available with the technology.
*SEAI domestic fuel cost comparison sheets show up to date prices for the different energy sources and these are published bi-monthly.
Below are some figures taken from SEAI in October 2016 showing the market average figures. These are based on an average seasonal C.O.P. of 4 which is lower than that of the heat pumps used by Nutherm Galway.
What is a C.O.P.?
The coefficient of performance or C.O.P (sometimes CP or CoP) of a heat pump, refrigerator or air conditioning system is a ratio of useful heating or cooling provided by the heat pump to the work required to power the compressor e.g, a heat pump using 2kW of power for its compressor and delivering 8kW of heat energy would have a C.O.P of 4. Higher COPs equate to lower operating costs!
Will we have a big electricity bill with a heat pump?
Your electricity bill be be higher, because the heat pump needs power to get the energy from the source, but there will be no oil or gas bill! Overall your energy expenditure will be less! Ask us about our Photovoltaic (PV) panels to help reduce your electricity bills.
Are heat pumps classified as renewable energy?
The EU and the International Energy Agency both classify heat pumps as a renewable energy source. Installing a heat pump is an easy way of complying with the needs for renewables in a new build under the Building Regulations Part L.
Is underfloor heating required?
Underfloor heating is the most efficient emitter of heat when used in conjunction with heat pumps because of it’s lower operating temperature requirements, however aluminium radiators can be used in a new system if they are dimensioned slightly larger to run at lower temperatures. We can assess the size of your existing radiators for retrofits to see if they are suitable.
What is the lifespan of a heat pump?
Market experience has shown life cycles of 15 years at a minimum for most heat pumps. However Nutherm Galway use only the top designed and manufactured heat pumps with a lifespan of 20-25 years which are setup to run at their most efficient, giving you the comfort levels you require without putting undue pressure on the compressor. We will give you guidelines on how to best manage your system and can be called on after commissioning to ensure that it is running at its optimum.
Do I need Three Phase electricity?
We use systems that have been designed and tested in the Irish climate that work off single phase. This provides coverage up to around 400 sq. m of floor area. Several heat pumps or three phase would be required for any buildings bigger than that or the heat pump can be backed up with another source of heat such as oil, gas or electricity.
Do I need a Mechanical Heat Recovery System?
The importance of air quality is critical in modern houses as they are a lot better insulated and more airtight. Having a controlled ventilation system guarantees filtered fresh quality air into each habitable room and eliminates the need for windows to be open, meaning there is no heat loss and higher security.
Which kind of heat pump works best?
Ground source heat pumps usually have the lowest annual running costs as their heat source is warmer in colder weather. However in milder weather (above 8°C) air to water heat pumps can overtake the ground source pump’s efficiency.
There are many factors that can influence which solution is more effective and we deal with each project individually. Ease of installation for air to water in retrofits would weight the decision in that direction, the soil type, the space available, the level of insulation in the house or the option for passive cooling are other examples that would factor in the final decision.
What is ErP Directive?
ErP stands for “Energy related Products”.
The European union brought in new regulations in September 2015 designed to improve the efficiency of heating and hot water products by ensuring homeowners are aware of the efficiency level of their products, which is clearly displayed by an energy label.
What is the Energy Label?
ErP defines the minimum performance criteria that manufacturers must meet for heating appliances up to 400 kW. The energy label will be supplied for the same products but up to 70kW.
What is Part L of the Building Regulations?
Part L of the Irish Building Regulations deals with the conservation of fuel and energy.
All new buildings now need to be designed and constructed to ensure that a reasonable proportion of the energy consumption to meet the energy performance of a dwelling is provided by renewable energy and that the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions associated with this energy use is limited. The technical guidance document is available for download from our resources section.
The BER assessment procedure (DEAP – Dwelling Energy Assessment Procedure) is the only method which can verify that the renewables requirements are met or not.
What is Hygienic Hot Water?
Domestic hot water systems can be a potential breeding ground for Legionella bacteria, which thrive in a temperature range of 35-45°C. Therefore regulations state that stored hot water must be heated to a temperature of at least 60°C for 10 minutes once a day, to kill the bacteria.
To overcome these hygiene problems without having to run the heat pump at high flow temperatures, we recommend the use of a hygienic hot water module, either fitted inside or outside the cylinder. This compact and very economical fresh water solution accommodates a heat exchanger, a quiet circulation pump and a volume flow sensor for instant heating of your hot domestic water needs.
A thermal store is heated to a temperature of 55°C by the heat pump, and is not used directly. As water is drawn from the hot tap, water from the mains supply is diverted past water from the thermal store via a specially designed, high-performance plate heat exchanger. By keeping domestic water separate from the thermal store, germs from the cylinder are prevented from being introduced into the system, avoiding the hygiene problems of conventional hot water storage systems entirely. The high efficiency of these heat exchangers ensures that water can be heated from, for example 10 to 50°C, in fractions of a second. This system complies with all regulations regarding water hygiene i.e. it provides hygienic drinking water and water for your daily shower with amazing savings on your power bill.
Our hygienic hot water system is designed to take pressure so, if the mains pressure and flow rate input to the system are sufficient, the whole system will be pressurised, hot and cold. This eliminates the need for electric pump showers and/or immersions.
Thermal stores are usually 300-500 litres, but larger sizes are available when greater quantities are needed.
Domestic hot water production is always given priority within the heating system. As soon as the temperature in the hot water thermal store is reduced by 5°C, for example, the flow from the heat pump is diverted from the underfloor heating and the total output is dedicated to restoring the temperature of the thermal store to the set point of 55°C. This gives very fast recovery times. The temperature of a 400ltr thermal store can be raised from 50 to 55°C in around 10 minutes with the full output of a 14.2kW heat pump (a typical domestic set-up). The high thermal mass of an underfloor system means that the floor stores energy for a long period of time, so the space heating is not compromised while the heat pump is dedicated to hot water production.
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