Heat pumps for beginners

Heat pump technologies offer the most energy efficient way to provide heating and cooling, they do this by using renewable heat resources taken from our surroundings.

Heat pumps have two parts, an indoor unit and an outside unit. To heat or cool a building the compressor circulates refrigerant that is responsible for absorbing and releasing heat as it goes between the outdoor and indoor components. A heat pump uses electricity to move heat from a cool place to a warm one. This formula already works for fridges, as electricity is used to move cold heat from inside the fridge to the warmer exterior, keeping the fridge cool.

Heat pumps are beneficial to the environment as they consume less primary energy than conventional heating systems. They also decrease the levels of gases being released into the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.

This is why they are preferred to using gas appliances to generate heat as they are cheaper in operation and have less destructive effects on the environment and our health.


Although electricity is considered the most expensive way to produce heat, heat pumps use a small amount in order to conduct heat. For example:

1 kWh (Kilowatt) of electricity costs 15p

1 kWh of gas costs 4p

An electric radiator converts 1 kWh into 1 unit of useful heat, whereas a heat pump converts 1 kWh into 3.5 or more units of useful heat.

Just like gas boilers, heat pumps have an average life span of 15 years, however they need to be serviced and maintained regularly to prolong their life expectancy.

For more information on the different types of heat pumps available click here, or contact the 361 Degrees to discuss the options for heating your building.

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