Which radiators work with heat pumps?

Which radiators work with heat pumps?

The benefits of heat pumps are widely known and, as such, they are increasingly being factored into future energy efficiency plans. For maximum benefit, heat pumps must be paired with complementary products to form an efficient and cohesive system. Here’s how to make the most of the technology.  

Heating accounts for around a third of UK greenhouse gas emissions, and is widely regarded as one of the harder areas of the economy to decarbonise. Heat pumps are seen by some as a potential solution; using heat from the ground, air or bodies of water, they work in the opposite way to a fridge, expelling cold air and pumping warm air through pipes into buildings for heating.

Historically, low temperature systems such as ground or air source heat pumps have been partnered almost exclusively with underfloor heating, as standard steel panel radiators struggle to provide the wide surface area necessary for effective heat distribution.

Underfloor heating

Despite its popularity, underfloor heating does have significant limitations. Underfloor heating needs a wide surface area to get up to temperature, and therefore requires a large amount of water. For a standard low temperature 10kW wet underfloor system, with a 45/35/20°C temperature profile, an average of 29 litres of water needs to be heated, which means spaces that utilise this technology can take up to four hours to reach optimum temperature.

Underfloor systems also take hours to cool back down, meaning they cannot respond effectively to the occupants’ needs.

Low water content radiators

Low water content radiators such as Jaga’s Low-H₂O models are ideally suited to low temperature systems like heat pumps. Studies conducted by BRE have shown that Jaga’s Low-H₂O radiators are up to 15 per cent more economical compared to standard steel-panel radiators, as they are able to achieve the desired temperature more rapidly, and less heat is wasted through unnecessary over-heating. 

By utilising fan assisted DBE (Dynamic Boost Effect) technology, air flow and heat output levels are boosted to easily meet occupants’ temperature needs quickly and efficiently. This means that there is no need to compensate for the low water temperature system by radiator oversizing, making Low-H₂O  with DBE the perfect partner for heat pumps.

Case study

A working example of a system incorporating heat pumps and Low-H₂O radiators is Brindley Lodge designed and owned by Churchill Retirement Living.  Here and in all Churchill developments, heat pumps were used to provide warmth – with the Strada DBE was recommended as the optimal heat emitting solution because of its high output and responsiveness, safe to touch panelling, and low carbon footprint.

Heat pumps are set to play an increasingly central role in the UK’s heating strategy, and the use of the right heat emitters can elevate their effectiveness to new heights.