Hybrid Heat Pumps – What Are the Advantages of Keeping your Combi Boiler?

Hybrid Heat Pumps – What Are the Advantages of Keeping your Combi Boiler?

Posted on January 4, 2022

It’s fairly obvious that the renewable heating market is about to go boom. More and more people are wanting to take steps towards being more environmentally friendly and relying less on fossil fuels.

Not only are people keen to reduce their carbon footprint, but they also want to keep their heating bills as low as possible. Especially with recent issues with energy companies.

Perhaps you want to completely replace your boiler with a heat pump alternative. Or maybe that seems a bit extreme and you’re looking for a slower way into a more sustainable heating system.

Whichever it is, don’t forget that every home is different, and each will work better with slightly different solutions.

With that in mind, this week we’re going to take a look at hybrid heating systems and what the advantages are of keeping your combi boiler.

What is a hybrid heating system?

We’ve written hybrid heating systems before – Have a read of some of our previous blogs for more information on this.

A hybrid heating system allows you to take a step towards renewable technology as a part of your heating system, whilst still keeping your combi boiler.

A hybrid heating system will usually combine a heat pump (sometimes a ground source heat pump, but more often an air source heat pump) with your current boiler.

A heat pump takes heat from the air or ground outside your home and uses this to heat the water for your radiators, taps and showers.

Why would I need both a heat pump and a boiler?

Although heat pumps are able to extract heat from the air or ground all year round in the UK, they do tend to be less effective in colder temperatures. Despite a heat pump having low carbon emissions, during particularly cold weather a combi boiler would be better equipped to heat your water quicker.

Smart technology monitors the weather and can assess which of the 2 systems – Heat pump or combi boiler – Would be the most efficient way to heat your home. This smart management can use information about your energy tariff and automatically switch to the most energy efficient system to use to heat your home at that time – Without you having to do anything!

What are the benefits of a hybrid heating system and keeping your combi boiler alongside a heat pump?

There are a number of benefits to opting for a hybrid heating system and keeping your combi boiler alongside a heat pump.

  • A heat pump is a more sustainable way of heating your home, reducing your carbon emissions compared with combi boilers. Heat pumps have small running costs, using a small amount of electricity to run, and produce 3 times as much energy as they use. However, in colder temperatures it will have to work harder in order to keep your home warm, which is where your trusty old combi boiler could come in very handy. Your combi boiler can provide that extra boost you need and get hot water to your radiators and taps quicker than a heat pump could in cold weather conditions. With this hybrid heating system, you get the best of both worlds – A more sustainable way of heating your home for most of the year, with the combi to back you up when you really need it.
  • It is possible to use a hybrid heating system with a regular boiler, but here at Aura Heating we think the combi gives the most benefits. A hybrid with a regular boiler and heat pump would need a hot water system with a cylinder to store the hot water. The boiler would provide heat to run the legionella cycles instead of using an additional electrical heating element. The hybrid method that we are looking at here at Aura Heating uses a heat pump and combination boiler. This would result in all of the hot water demands in the house being satisfied by the boiler on a demand flow basis. The heat pump would not contribute to providing hot water. The heating would be provided by the heat pump, until the heating demand exceeds the output of the heat pump and the boiler would then provide additional heat to keep the house warm.
  • Whilst it can be a large expense to install a heat pump, it’s likely to be a worthwhile investment over time due to reduced energy bills. As above, a heat pump uses a small amount of electricity to run. Only needing to use your combi boiler during particularly cold snaps means that your gas bills would be significantly reduced.
  • You could even earn money if eligible for RHI payments. The heat pump part of a hybrid heating system could qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme. What does this mean? Well, it could mean that you would earn money per unit of energy your heat pump produces. If you’re familiar with the solar panels then it’s not quite the same – In that scenario, you would get paid for the energy your solar panels fed back into the grid. With heat pumps, the RHI is instead awarded via paying slightly less for the electricity that the heat pump uses. A small meter is installed in the consumer unit which measures the electricity used by the pump.
  • Ensuring your home is well-insulated so that there is the minimum heat loss through windows, walls and roof will help your heat pump work to its optimum as well as providing more opportunity for you to earn RHI payments. Pair excellent insulation with larger radiators and underfloor heating and your heat pump will work even better.
  • Using both systems simultaneously means that they are likely to last longer. Heat pumps are generally very reliable and last a long time. Using your combi boiler only when you really need it would also increase its lifespan, giving you a more reliable heating system for a longer period of time.

Investing in a Hybrid Heating System

Installing a hybrid heating system will cost more than just replacing a boiler – Even if you are keeping your combi boiler to go alongside the new heat pump. Therefore, if you are planning to move house then it may not be the best choice for you.

To install a hybrid heating system, you would likely be looking at a cost of £5K – £10K.

For this reason, it’s important to look at the best options for your home and heating needs. From the type of heat pump to the brands you choose – Always speak to the experts and discuss your options.

Here at Aura Heating we are ready to install hybrid heating systems across the South Coast of England.

If you are interested in installing a heat pump to work alongside your combi boiler then please give us a call. We can help identify the right heating system for you and your home from your property and lifestyle. We’ll work with you to find the perfect hybrid heating solution.