Engineer repairing a heat pump system

Heat Pump vs Gas Boiler: Which One Is Better?

The heat pump vs gas boiler debate is one that is currently popular, and it is also one that is fairly complex. But are heat pumps better than boilers? If you are looking to make the move from your traditional boiler to a heat pump, the answer to this question will be of great interest. In some cases, a heat pump may prove to be a superior alternative to your gas boiler. In other instances, it may prove to be a backwards step. Today the team at Chillaire are going to unpack this and look to settle the heat pump vs gas boiler debate. 

Heat Pump vs Gas Boiler: An Overview 

These two systems are designed to produce the same result: they supply hot water and central heating to your home. They are, however, two quite contrasting technologies. With this in mind, some homes are better suited to one system than the other. The two systems work in the following way: 

  • Heat Pump

There are two types of heat pump on the market. Homeowners are able to buy air source or ground source systems. Whilst the two systems obtain heat from different sources, the  process is similar. Heat is captured and put into a liquid refrigerant where it is then compressed to increase the temperature. It is condensed back into a liquid, the stored heat is released which is then transferred to radiators and underfloor heating systems. The remainder can be stored for use with showers, baths or taps. 

  • Gas Boiler 

A gas boiler is a more traditional system of supplying hot water and heat to a property. Hot, gas powered jets interact with a heat exchanger that helps to heat water which is then pushed through your central heating system via an electric pump. 

Are Heat Pumps Better Than Boilers?

If you are wondering which system wins the heat pump vs gas boiler debate, there are a number of factors to consider. First let us look at some of the technical aspects of both systems. A boiler has an average system temperature of around 70°C. Heat pumps, on the other hand, operate at around 35-45°C. What this means is that in a property with an existing system, it is likely that your radiators will need to be replaced with higher output versions. Your system will ultimately need to be compatible with your heat pump installation, including the pipework, which can be costly. 

The lower operating temperatures means that heat pumps may therefore be better suited to new, well insulated properties. Boilers are better at heating a space quicker in a less efficient building as the heat from heat pump’s is lower and more gradual. If your building is poorly insulated, it will ultimately be more difficult and costly for your heat pump to run. 

So, what about the costs? Well, there is a price to pay for having a cleaner system such as a heat pump. On a new property, air source installation costs range between £8000-16,000. This rises significantly if it is an older property, and ground source systems can go for as much as £27,000. Conversely, a gas boiler will likely cost you in the region of £1500 to £3500. So, are heat pumps better than boilers? From a cost perspective, you could certainly argue they are not. However, it is not that straightforward. Let us now look at the benefits you can reap from installing a heat pump system. 

The Benefits of Heat Pumps

When considering a heat pump vs a gas boiler, there is another side to the conversation. Firstly, electric air source heat pumps use produce significantly less emissions than conventional gas boilers. We are moving towards a society in which we actively try to produce less emissions, so this type of system will help you align with this shift. After all, anything that is better for the environment is ultimately better for us all.

From a cost perspective too, heat pump systems may offer better running costs long term than what you can expect from your gas boiler system. Although the upfront costs are, to some people, huge, there are a number of government grants and schemes that have been created to support people that wish to install these systems. Previously the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme was set up to support this. This has now ended, but there are grants and support aimed at the non domestic sector being created all the time. We encourage property owners to assess their options as support may be available. 

Heat Pumps in Coventry

If you are wondering ‘’Are heat pumps better than boilers?’’, you will see from the article that the answer is not straightforward. When people ask this question, they are usually trying to determine which system is better for their property. As installers of both heat pump and gas power heat systems, we can assure you that it will depend on your circumstances and property. 

If you have a newer property and some money to support the installation, a heat pump offers a cleaner, healthier and longer lasting alternative to your conventional gas boiler. The reality is, those with less disposable income may need to find alternative ways to heat their property. If you require air source heat pumps for office heating systems and hot water, contact us today. 

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