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Connecting to heat pumps, which emitters are suitable and why it matters

Find out in this blog

Man lying down looking at a plan for heat pump installation

A heat pump is a very efficient low-carbon technology. It uses renewable energy sources to provide heating, hot water and cooling for your home. This energy is released through an emitter, such as radiators, underfloor heating, heat pump convectors, and your hot water system.

In this article, we look at some of the heat pump connections, including how they combine with a heat pump.

A heat pump can connect to heat emitters just like a traditional fossil fuel boiler. The difference is in how it generates heat, not how it distributes it.

Instead of burning fossil fuel to create heat, a heat pump absorbs heat from renewable sources – air, ground or water – and uses a process of evaporating and condensing refrigerant. The result is a more efficient, cleaner form of heating.

Combining a heat pump with radiators

There are two types of radiators: high-temperature and low-temperature.

High-temperature radiators typically exist in older properties. The water inside them is heated to between 60 and 70°C.

You can use a high-temperature radiator with a high-temperature heat pump or a hybrid heat pump, which combines a heat pump and a gas-condensing boiler. This hybrid solution automatically boosts the system as required to maximise efficiency while reaching higher temperatures.

Today, many high- and mid-temperature heat pumps exist that deliver a flow temperature above 60°C. These heat pumps are ideal for connecting to an existing piping system and older heating systems. Heat pumps also work perfectly with low-temperature radiators, which are usually found in newer houses. In both cases, the heated refrigerant circulates through a heat exchanger, which transfers the heat to water. This then circulates through pipes to the radiators.

Heat pumps with underfloor heating

A heat pump combined with hydronic, or water based, underfloor heating can be an ideal way to heat a home. Heat pumps are most efficient at lower temperatures, and underfloor heating works at much lower temperatures than radiators.

Underfloor heating is also energy-efficient and comfortable.

Hydronic underfloor heating is very compatible with a heat pump. It requires minimum energy and can be powered mostly from renewable sources.

Heat pump convectors

Another emitter option is a heat pump convector (HPC), also known as a fan coil unit. It's similar to a radiator, in that both use convection to heat a room, but the process is much faster with a HPC because there is a small fan behind it, speeding up the heating cycle. It can therefore create the same room temperature as a traditional radiator, but with lower water temperatures inside, offering energy savings.

A heat pump convector is compatible with underfloor piping and radiators in a multi-zoning installation, or it can replace outdated radiators when combined with low-temperature heat pumps. It gives you higher capacities from a low-temperature heat pump for maximum efficiency.

Choosing the right heat pump connection

Ultimately, choosing the best emitters to combine with your heat pump will depend on you, your property, budget and needs. But the good news is that, whatever your requirements, there is an emitter for you.

We always recommend discussing your options with your installer, including a conversation about emitters. That way you can be sure you have the right solution for your home.

Mother and toddler on her lap looking in a little book
Two kids playing and talking in a perfectly heated room