Facts about heat pump power consumption
Your questions about heat pump power consumption answered
You may have read that a heat pump isn’t energy efficient, because it uses a lot of electricity. In this article, let's set the record straight. We'll take a closer look at heat pump power consumption to show how you can reap the rewards of improved energy efficiency and lower costs by using a heat pump in your home.
Heat pump power consumption
Heat pumps are a sustainable climate control system. They extract heat from the air, water or ground outside and turn it into heating, cooling or hot water for your home.
Unless you’re using a heat pump as part of a hybrid system (where you combine a heat pump with a gas boiler), you’re not relying on fossil fuels and won’t be paying for any gas at all.
Heat pumps draw up to 75% of their energy needs from nature for free, with the remainder powered by electricity to drive the compressor and heat exchanger. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a high electricity bill.
How much electricity a heat pump uses depends on several factors. These include the climate, the size of your home and how well insulated it is, and whether the heat pump is providing hot water or cooling.
Generally, efficient consumption depends on having the right heat pump, installed correctly and used properly.
Heat pump efficiency
Heat pump electricity consumption is based on what's known as the seasonal coefficient of performance (CoP), which allows for variation in performance across a year. A pump has to work harder in the winter than in the summer.
The CoP is calculated by measuring the energy put in (electricity) and the energy (heat) put out. A heat pump typically produces 4 kWh of heat from 1 kWh of electrical energy, which can be cheaper than your gas bills over a year. And there are ways you can boost efficiency further.
Insulation affects the efficiency of any heating system. Ensure your walls, loft cavities and windows are well insulated to lessen a heat pump's workload, and therefore its consumption.
You can also minimise consumption by:
- making sure the heat pump is properly set up and adjusted for your heating system;
- keeping the temperature relatively constant rather than turning it right down at night;
- restricting the flow temperature of the heating water to a comfortable level;
- regularly maintaining your system.
To really maximise efficiency and cut electricity use, consider combining a heat pump with other systems such as underfloor heating and solar panels.
Heat pump and solar panels
When you combine a heat pump with solar panels, the efficiency of both systems can significantly increase. During winter when the sun is shining less, a heat pump can provide heating because it draws heat from the air or ground. In summer, solar panels can power the heat pump without relying on the electrical grid.
A solar panel and heat pump combination can take the CoP to four or more units of heat provided for every unit of energy consumed.
Pairing a heat pump with solar panels supercharges its efficiency, resulting in less electricity being drawn from the grid and reduced costs. It enables homeowners to become more energy independent - generating their own power without relying on utility companies.