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Heat pumps need careOctober 2010

To get their maximum benefit, heat pumps need to be used in the right place, and the right time, warns BSRIA.

BSRIA has seen an upsurge in enquiries relating to heat residential pump installations.

According to BSRIA's expert on heat pumps, Reginald Brown, the majority of concerns are raised at the feasibility stages of projects, and when heat pumps are put into operation.

"A heat pump is not a boiler," says Brown, "and designers and end-users should not assume it can be used like one."

Second, designers should not rely on somebody else's SAP calculations when assessing the design heat load and size requirements of the plant".

Third it is vital to manage the expectations of the end users. "Salesmen's estimates of running costs should be treated with a pinch of salt," warned Brown.

Finally, "training is vital, not just for the installer but also for the resident."

BSRIA has found that linking both radiators and underfloor heating circuits to a heat pump heating system is almost always a bad idea. However, Brown says that rarely is the problem the heat pump itself.

"The right heat pump in the right place at the right time can save on heating costs and significantly reduce carbon emissions," he said. "Achieving this in practice depends on everybody understanding the ground rules."

BSRIA is helping to improve the situation through its work with the European Heat Pump Association, EST1, and ConstructionSkills to develop installer training and certification. It also tests heat pumps for the ECA and MCS schemes in its UKAS accredited test facilities in order to ensure that the performance of heat pumps matches the claims of their manufacturers.


BSRIA is the only UKAS accredited laboratory in the UK for testing heat pumps to EN 14511, conducts worldwide market intelligence on heat pumps in 18 countries worldwide and provides independent consultancy to improve energy efficiency in buildings.



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