Answer: Yes, you can use radiators with a heat pump. Due to the low flow temperatures, your heat emitting surface area must be bigger than for boiler-operated heating. This means existing radiators may not be suitable. A heat pump engineer will calculate whether to replace them.
It’s advisable to consider underfloor heating systems when installing a ground source or air source heat pump. This is often the best low-grade heat distribution, and installation can be integrated into a self-build as part of the project. However, heat pump systems can also operate well with steel panel or cast iron radiators, fan coils, or thermal skirting.
As we outlined in our article about air source heat pumps and underfloor heating, underfloor heating may be difficult to install on upper floors, due to suspended flooring. For this reason, many clients opt to have underfloor on the ground floor and “oversized” radiators upstairs. In fact, the term “oversized” is misplaced, because these radiators are the right size for the tech. But in comparison to radiators used with traditional boilers, they are usually bigger.
This mix of heat distribution must be carefully planned, to ensure optimum efficiency of the system for the long-term. Underfloor is great, but if this isn’t possible, radiators throughout the property can offer very good efficiency if planned, installed, and commissioned properly.
“Multiple heat emitters can be used just like on fossil fuel boilers – radiators, smart radiators, and fan-assisted water radiators can all be used on the air source and the ground source systems….”
“We’re going back to the point of: what can I expect in terms of living with these kinds of systems? The biggest thing a lot of clients find when getting used to these systems is when they touch the radiator it’s not hot. That spooks people out, because they equate a traditional heating system with a hot radiator, and we have the classic conversation to ask “are you cold?” and the client says “no, I’m fine, but my radiator is cold.” So, there’s quite an emotional journey for clients to understand how they live with these new low temperature heating systems. The point being: low temperature equals low running costs.”
“Actually, when people touch their radiators in the winter time – they will be warm-to-hot, whereas in the spring time they’ll be lukewarm, or cold even. So, there will be times in the year where radiators are hot.”
Our engineers are qualified, experienced, and impartial. We can recommend the best heat distribution plan for your unique needs. Each property is different, and each project has its own intricate details. We look at each circumstance independently, working to ensure the optimum long-term efficiency for heat pump installations in the UK.
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