What is a hybrid (Heat pump & Boiler)heating system?

Hybrid heating system is an eco-friendly technology that combines a traditional gas or oil boiler with a renewable heating system such as heat pump.

A hybrid heat pump switches between the energy source, depending on which is the most efficient at the given time.

It is an energy efficient way to heat your home by using your existing boiler in combination of heat pump using renewable energy – outside air.

While reducing the carbon footprints of the property, the hybrid system effectively meets your need for heating and hot water.

What is Hybrid heat pump?

Hybrid heating pumps works in combination of traditional gas or oil boilers and a renewable energy from outside air to meet the heating and hot water needs of a property. It consists of two main components:

  • An air source heat pump which is usually installed outside of property.
  • An existing fossil fuel powered boiler which is used when a heat pump is not enough to meet the heating needs of property.

A hybrid heating system has an intelligent control that helps it to switch between the fuel sources.

This means that it is mainly the renewable energy that is used to cater to the needs of hot water and heating of your property while your traditional boiler will only be engaged to give a boost when required.

How does a hybrid heating system work?

A hybrid heat pump mainly uses a renewable energy source like air to extract heat that is used to heat your home and produce hot water.

If the outside temperature is warm, like above 2 degrees, the heat pump will keep your home warm, and energy use low.

Your traditional fossil fuel boiler takes up the heating job if the outside temperature falls low like below zero. In that case, the heat pump automatically shuts down and switches to the traditional heating system.

However, the efficiency of the hybrid heating system depends on various other factors. The government has commissioned an in-depth report into hybrid heat pumps, analysing the cost and system of such a system.

The report also shared the annual heat demand met by heat pump and boiler components of hybrid systems.

According to the findings of the report the share of heat met by a heat pump component of a hybrid system can be as low as 30%, or as high as 96%, with various values in between.

The variation in the results suggests that house type, which impacts the total heat demand of a building, is likely to be a factor influencing the heat pump share of the annual demand and thus the emissions savings.

You can find the full government report on hybrid heating system here.

Maintenance of Hybrid Heating System:

The maintenance of hybrid heating system can easily be divided into two categories i.e., boiler and heating pump.

A heating pump doesn’t require much of the maintenance. A professional check after 3-5 years will be enough to keep it running efficiently.

A boiler requires annual servicing by professional like we all having traditional boiler do to keep it running efficiently and safely.

Benefits of Hybrid heating system

Besides offering an eco-friendly alternative to traditional means of heating and hot water supply, the hybrid heating system comes with many other advantages that include reduced annual energy bills and greater autonomy over your home’s heating controls.  

Let’s have a look at some of the main benefits of hybrid pump:

An eco-friendly option

Since hybrid heating system is a combination of your traditional boilers generated by fossil fuels and renewable energy sources, it significantly helps to decrease the carbon footprints of your house by not completely relying on fossil fuels.

In a long run, it is going to help UK government to achieve its goal to become carbon neutral by 2050

Saving on fuel bills

The system helps to save money on your fuel bills as it doesn’t fully rely on the fossil fuels being used by your traditional boiler.

Logically speaking, the most efficient gas or oil boilers operate at an efficiency around 92%. This means that for every £1 you spend on heating your home only 8p is wasted.

A heat pump runs on electricity, but for every kilowatt it uses it generates about 3 kilowatts which makes it up to 300% efficient.

Reliability

The hybrid heating system is reliable and will provide efficient heating and hot water supply through out the year. Its converts to the suitable heating system without any disruption.

For Example, when the temperature drops and your heat pump is having to work too hard to produce enough heat for your home, the boiler will kick in to sort it out without you having to lift a finger.

When it warms up again, the boiler will cut out and the heat pump will take over to prevent you using unnecessary gas or oil.

Longevity

The average life expectancy for a boiler heating your home by itself is 10-15 years. While incorporating a hybrid system to a traditional boiler tends to longer its life span since the load of heating work is divided between the two systems.

Helps you to earn money

Hybrid heating qualifies you to receive quarterly payments, every year, for seven years. Known as the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), the Government scheme which gives you payment which are based on the amount of renewable heat made by your heating system.

Disadvantages of Hybrid heating system

While there are many benefits of switching to hybrid heating system, few disadvantages should also be taken into consideration before deciding.

Costly to install

A hybrid system has a higher upfront cost than a standard boiler replacement. The initial cost of installing a hybrid heating system can range from 5,000 to 10,000 while a traditional boiler replacement is likely to be cheaper costing between £2,500 – £4,000 on average.

However, you should keep in mind the longer-term benefit in the form of energy savings with a hybrid. Also, your hybrid heating system tends to last longer than a standard boiler.

Reliance on fossil fuels

Although the hybrid heating system mainly rely on renewable energy sources, it uses traditional boiler that relies on fossil fuels to function.

However, currently there is no option available in the market the totally uses renewable energy to heat average homes.

Solar Thermal heating

There is another system that uses heat from the sun to produce hot water for your heating, taps and bath called solar thermal heating.  

Currently there is no all-in-one system available in the market that integrates solar energy with traditional boiler. These two technologies, however, can work side by side to lower the energy cost.

According to an estimate solar thermal systems cant generate enough hot water due to the UK climate but, according to an estimate, can meet 40 percent to 70 percent of an average household need.

While the cost of Solar thermal heating depends on the type of property and usage, but a standard price is about 3000 for a three-square meter while a larger six square meter costs 4,500.

Solar PV: Solar PV generate electricity than heat. It uses cells containing a semi-conductor material to capture the sun’s energy and convert radiation into electricity.  

The amount you save in your bills with the installation of PV totally depends on system size, electricity uses and time of electricity use.

Based on the Energy Saving Trust estimates, a typical household with 4.2 Kilowatt-peak system can knock between 165 pounds per year to 405 pounds per year off bills

Is Hybrid Heating system the right choice?

A hybrid heating system is a right choice for you if want a greener option to cut down the energy cost in a longer run.

The high installation cost might put you off from going for this option, but you will not only be saving money in your energy bills but also earning through Government’s RHI scheme.

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