Answer: A hybrid (dual fuel) heat pump system is the combination of renewable heating with a traditional system. The hybrid heat pump system switches between energy source, depending on which is the most efficient at any given time.
For a more detailed look at hybrid heating systems, continue reading this article.
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Choosing to install a renewable heating system for your residential or commercial property offers plenty of benefits. The benefits can range from long-term financial savings to providing a cleaner energy balance for the future generation.
On a larger scale, the main motivation for switching to renewable heating is to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels. Sustainable energy supplies will significantly reduce dependency on fossil fuels for heating homes and commercial buildings. By opting for air or ground source heating, you can enjoy comfort and convenience, without depleting the earth’s resources.
Fossil fuels deplete over time, and contribute to high carbon emissions. Furthermore, the price of fossil fuels will hike in different periods, and these fluctuations cost property owners a considerable amount of money each year. By turning to renewables, you avoid this pain.
There are two main types of renewable heating sources currently used in the UK:
As the name implies, GSHPs generate heat from the ground. The heat can be extracted from a surface soil, rock, or river bed. Specialised tools are used to drill a deep borehole, or shallower trenches, within which the system’s inners lie. This allows for the system to absorb heat from the ground. From there, it is transferred to a heat exchanger, and into the property. GSHPs require low maintenance, and the installation is relatively straightforward.
Heat pump systems can also extract heat from the outside air, which is distributed indoors to heating and hot water. This is the function of an Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP). These are often preferred over GSHPs when there is limited outdoor space. You don’t need to drill or dig for an ASHP installation, but you need enough space on an external wall for a fan unit.
Both of the renewable heating systems mentioned above will qualify you for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). This is an initiative from the UK government which was developed to encourage property owners and developers to choose renewable heating systems. RHI applicants receive quarterly payments over 7 years for domestic and 20 years for non-domestic.
Ground and air source heat pumps will both contribute to lowering carbon emissions. When compared to electric heating, GSHPs can lower carbon emissions by 70% and ASHPs can lower them by 40%. As the UK starts to switch more properties over to these systems, it can significantly reduce harm to the environment.
In addition to the two heating systems mentioned above, you can set them up in something called a hybrid heating system. This is also known as a dual fuel system.
UPDATE: The government has commissioned an in-depth report into hybrid heat pumps, analysing the performance and costs of such a system. You can download this report on Gov.uk, available here.
This hybrid heat pump system uses a combination of renewable energy and fossil fuels to heat your property. One component is the heat pump (ASHP or GSHP), and the other is your traditional gas, oil, or LPG heating. This hybrid system is unique, because there are two key components working together to maintain efficiency all year round.
A hybrid heat pump system is designed to suit your heating needs, whilst simultaneously cutting your energy use and utility bills. The key benefit for a hybrid system is efficiency. The system switches between renewable and fossil fuel, choosing the technology that is most efficient at any given time. This ensures consistent comfort, but it also means that neither technology must work so hard to achieve the desired performance.
If the outside temperature is ideal, the heat pump will operate to keep your home warm and energy use low. When the outside air reaches lower temperatures (below zero), the heat pump will shut down and the system switches to the traditional fossil fuel boiler. This will generate the heat needed to keep your home comfortably warm in the colder months.
First and foremost, we would always recommend a single fuel Air Source Heat Pump or Ground Source Heat Pump, if possible. To learn whether your property is suitable for one of these technologies alone, contact Smart Renewable Heat today.
If this isn’t possible for your property, there are plenty of reasons to install a hybrid heat pump system instead. You can use the system all year round, in the summer to keep cool and when autumn and winter arrives it acts as an air conditioner in reverse to keep your home warm. If the outside conditions are too demanding for the most efficient operation of a heat pump, your traditional system will kick in to meet the shortfall and take the pressure off.
Longevity is also a benefit. By the nature of a hybrid system, both your renewable system and the traditional system won’t need to work so hard. As a result, maintenance is simple and the hybrid setup ensures that your heating solution doesn’t get tired, inefficient, and prone to breakdown. In general, heat pumps have good longevity. A combination of a heat pump and a traditional system will ensure that each is in better health for annual servicing.
The other key benefit of a hybrid system is the ability to save on energy bills. Your ASHP or GSHP will use a small amount of electricity to operate its duties of generating heat. However, you won’t be paying oil or gas bills to the same extent, because your traditional system isn’t working all year round. Fossil fuels are expensive, and you will be using less of them. Some estimates suggest that a hybrid heating system can save homeowners 30 – 50% per year.
The first disadvantage is that you are still burning fossil fuels. Of course, the ambition should be to remove all fossil fuel power from UK residential and commercial buildings. This is a worthy cause, and one which we support at Smart Renewable Heat.
Another disadvantage is costs. We don’t often install a heat pump with a traditional system at the same time. Typically, we will install a hybrid system when there is already a traditional system in place. To install the two technologies together is certainly more expensive when compared to a single fuel system (heat pump alone, or boiler alone). However, your hybrid system will help you become more efficient and lower utility bills in the long-term. You benefit from the advantages of traditional and renewable together, depending on the time of year and most efficient system. But this does require initial upfront capital.
With the extra installation cost in mind, consider how long you plan to remain in your property. The payback will be a longer term benefit, although a hybrid system will inevitably add value to your home when it comes to a sale. If you’re just there for the short-term, perhaps a hybrid heating system investment isn’t the wisest option.
The cost of installing a new boiler in the UK can be anything between £500 to £2500. For quality, and if your property is fairly large, you’d be looking at the upper end of that scale. The total cost of a hybrid domestic heating boiler with its associated Air Source Heat Pump can be between £5,000 to £10,000, including installation. Ground Source Heat Pumps cost between £13,000 to £20,000 for installation and integration with the hybrid system.
For a precise quote, you need to contact Smart Renewable Heat. Financing options are available, and remember that you will qualify for Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments.
We would always advocate the use of heat pumps alone, especially when you’re starting from scratch with a new build or renovation. Modern heat pumps are efficient and effective. However, if you have recently installed a new traditional system and want to save money on utilities, a hybrid system might be the way to go.
Hybrid heating systems are gaining traction in the industry, and for good reason. Remember; a hybrid heat pump isn’t a product, per se. It is the combination of a heat pump with traditional heating. Some specialist products are being released, but by and large a hybrid system involves the integration of renewable heating with traditional fossil fuels.
A hybrid heating system will offer better energy efficiency than traditional gas, oil, or LPG, and ultimately help you reduce your carbon footprint if switching from a purely fossil-fuel-burning system. Whilst heat pumps are effective year-round, and can support your heating and hot water throughout the colder months, these times are the least efficient. A hybrid approach ensures that your traditional system will kick in at the most crucial times.
If you are interested in switching to an Air Source Heat Pump, a Ground Source Heat Pump, or a Hybrid Heating System, Smart Renewable Heat is your award-winning partner. We supply, install, and maintain renewable heating systems, and have been in business for over 20 years.
Our engineers will help you determine the most effective heat pump system according to your budget, timeline, and property heat demands. We are independent experts, and will always offer transparent advice about whether a particular heat pump is right for your property. Whether you own a home or commercial property, a hybrid heating system could save money on utility bills and help the environment. With our help, hybrid heat pump installation is straightforward.
We are a nationwide installer, covering all areas of the UK. Call us on 0800 865 4328.
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