Can You Retrofit A Heat Pump In An Existing Home?

hand holding two spanners in front of heat pump to represent heat pump installation and maintenance

Heat pumps are becoming increasingly popular due to their high levels of energy efficiency. Removing the need to rely on expensive fossil fuels, heat pumps work by extracting heat from the outside air and converting this into usable heat for the home. This presents a cost effective alternative to oil and gas boiler systems which are inefficient, and bad for both the environment as well as your bank account. 

You may have seen heat pumps being installed in many new builds, however you may be wondering whether you can retrofit a heat pump in your existing home. In most cases, it is perfectly possible to retrofit a heat pump in your existing property. The most important factor is ensuring that your home has the necessary energy efficiency rating so that the system can perform at the standard required. Making your home heat pump ready involves checking for the following factors:

Insulating Your Home

In order to retrofit a heat pump, it’s essential that your home is energy efficient. Modern homes and new builds are usually a lot more energy efficient than older homes, and so you may need to make some changes to your home before retrofitting the system. A key part of this is ensuring your home is well insulated, through loft, wall and roof insulation. In addition to this, double or even triple glazing are a must as so much of the heat is lost through the windows. You can also draught proof your windows and doors in order to prevent any heat from being lost through small gaps, whilst preventing cold air from getting in. 

Getting A Home Survey

You’ll need a professional to confirm that your property is suitable for a retrofit heat pump installation. An SEAI registered technical adviser can carry out a technical assessment of your home, and they also offer grants towards the cost of installing the system. You’ll also need to obtain an energy performance certificate via a BER assessment. This initial survey will determine whether or not you need to make any improvements to your home, such as adding insulation.

Can You Install A Heat Pump Alongside An Existing Heating System?

If you’re considering installing a retrofit heat pump, however, are concerned about switching to a new system entirely, you may be pleased to hear that you could opt for an integrated system. For example, you could install a heat pump alongside an existing boiler. This allows you to switch between the two systems depending on which is most efficient at the time.

In order for the heat pump to operate at the highest efficiency it’s best to choose underfloor heating as your choice of distribution method. This creates an uneven distribution of heat, in contrast to traditional radiators that have a tendency to create hot and cold spots throughout the property. It is also possible for underfloor heating to be installed alongside an existing radiator system if this is more practical for you. 

For more information on how to retrofit a heat pump in your home, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Pipelife team who can talk you through the installation process step-by-step, as well as the costs involved. 

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