On 20th October 2010 as part of the spending review the Chancellor announced that the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) will be going ahead next year. What this means for us as consumers is that there will be financial support for those who install renewable heating. This is great news!
The scheme will support a full range of technologies including air source heat pumps, solar therma, biomass boilers, renewable combined heat and power and the use of biogas and bioliquids. This means the Department of Energy and Climate Changes (DECC) plans of moving from 1% to 12% of all heat generated from renewable sources by 2020 should be easily attainable.
Air source heat pumps are one of the technologies the scheme will support so here is a look at how they work.
These heat pumps can be used for bother heating and air conditioning. They work as a refrigerator does except rather than cooling they take heat from the air and convert it into usable heat. A heat pump has four main components an evaporator, compressor, condenser and an expansion valve. It works by taking air from outside which is drawn over the evaporator. The refrigerant soaks up heat from the air and converts it from a liquid to a vapour. The refrigerant is sent through a compressor, which pressurises and as a result pushes up the temperature of the vapour. This now provides a temperature which can be used in domestic heating. The higher temperature refrigerant then goes to the condenser heat exchanger, moving heat to the heating system. The refrigerant returns to liquid now that the heat is removed. The liquid refrigerant then returns to its original state as it passes through the expansion valve.
Having an air source heat pump installed in your home will reduce your CO2 emissions by up to 50% which is major! They only require water and electrical supply so there is no need for gas, flues or ventilation. The running and maintenance costs are very low as it the running noise.