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Hydronic Heat Pump Versus Boiler – What’s the Best Bet?

You’ve made the wise choice to invest in a hydronic climate control system for your home and are aware of the many benefits of hydronic heating you have to look forward to. But now you might be tossing up between which heat source you want to run your system on.

The two main contenders on the market are the:

Hydronic heat pump, hydronic heating systems Australia Both provide the same outcomes efficiently, but that’s where the similarities end.

In this article we are taking a look at both options so you can decide which might be the best fit for your hydronic home heating and cooling set-up.

Let’s start with the basics:

Then we can jump into:

Hydronic boiler piping, radiant heating

What is a Heat Pump?

Essentially, heat pumps draw energy in from the atmosphere outside of your home, either from the ground, water, or most commonly the air, and transfer it into the sealed pipe system of the hydronic set-up. With the air to water heat pumps, the water is heated and then circulated to either cool or warm your home, depending on the setting. It works similarly to the system you might find within an air conditioner or refrigerator.

What is a Hydronic Boiler?

Boilers warm water via a range of heat sources, depending on which type of hydronic boiler you select, with natural gas being the most common, and then distribute it through the sealed pipe system. They generate a high volume of heat in a relatively short period of time and work well across all hydronic products, such as:

How Much Do They Cost to Install and Run?

Let’s look at costs first. The initial purchase and installation of your condensing boiler is quite a bit less compared to buying and installing a heat pump (it can be as much as 2-3 times cheaper). However – the running cost of your hydronic system running on a gas boiler is very likely going to be higher than if it were being fueled via heat pump. Compared to a gas boiler, heat pumps can cost up to 40% less to run.

From the installation aspect, boilers are quick and relatively easy to install when using a trusted professional to do the installation. They don’t take up a lot of room and they are whisper quiet. They’re also straightforward to retrofit into existing properties.

Heat pumps can sometimes be costly to retrofit, so can be more worthwhile if you’re doing a new build and can be even better if you the have capacity to team it up with solar panels to keep ongoing costs to a minimum. Heat pumps also require a lot more space to install and can be a bit noisier (comparable to a reverse cycle unit), but on average will have twice the lifespan of a boiler.  We’re still talking 15 years plus for a boiler mind you, but chances are you wouldn’t have to replace a heat pump during your time at the property.

Hydronic heating and cooling, underfloor heating

Which Option is More Efficient?

When it comes to choosing a hydronic boiler, the most efficient is what is known as a condensing boiler. They have an extra heat recovery compared to a standard boiler, which means more energy is retained and used to warm your home instead of going to waste. All up a quality condensing boiler can be over 90% energy efficient.

So how about heat pumps? Electricity is needed to run heat pumps, but the amount needed to run them is far outweighed by the quantity of heat generated and pushed into the home – according to the Energy Efficiency Council ‘Residential heat pumps can deliver heat at 600% efficiency’. Pair this set up with solar power to offset and you’re onto a good thing, with your hot water and home heating for a fraction of the price!

heat pump hydronic heating, heating and cool

When is it Better to Choose a Boiler Over a Heat Pump?

A hydronic boiler is definitely the way to go if you don’t know whether you will stay in your property longer term. As outlined, it’s a cheaper purchase and install and will deliver consistent and reliable heating for your home.

The Wrap Up

It’s clear that there are a number of factors to take into account when selecting the best heat source for your hydronic climate control system. Your budget, available space and likelihood of residing in your home longer term, or not, are all key to which product to commit to.

Hunt Heating has been providing expert advice and installation of hydronic heating solutions for residential and commercial properties since 1982. Contact the team today to discuss which heat source option would be the best fit for your needs.

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