Q:Does a Heat Pump make much noise?

Air Source & Ground Source Heat Pumps have an insulated internal lining which keeps noise levels at a minimum. They are also designed and constructed to minimise vibration levels. In houses with 150mm cavity walls (for example), the heat pump will not be heard outside. The Ground Source Heat Pumps are designed to be installed in the dwelling and not in the garage.

Q:My house is going to be well insulated, why should I pay more for a heat pump compared to an oil boiler?

Heat Pumps are a perfect fit for low energy dwellings which have a lower than normal heat load. Compared to an oil fired system, the maintenance is minimal and the low temperature system means there is no blending of the heated water down to 35 degrees. Underfloor Heating fed from an oil fired system requires blending of the water at the manifold with cooler water, which makes it inefficient.

Q:Would you install underfloor heating upstairs in the bedrooms and can heat pumps heat radiators?

Yes we would encourage underfloor heating throughout the house as it is the most efficient emitter of heat with heat pumps. However it is possible to install underfloor downstairs and radiators upstairs. It is also possible to use a heat pump to heat radiators in an existing house and we will assess the size of the radiators to see if they are suitable.

Q:How often do heat pumps and solar systems need servicing?

A full service every 5 years is recommended. Visual checks can be carried out once a year on the system and our Maintenance Manual will highlight the items to keep an eye on with each system we install.

Q:What is the lifespan of a heat pump, a solar thermal and solar PV system?

The lifespan is 20-25 years for each technology. Nutherm will set up your system to ensure it runs at its most efficient, giving you the comfort levels you require without putting undue pressure on the compressor. We will advise you on how best to manage your system and we can be called upon after commissioning to ensure it is running at its optimum.

Q:Is there a particular soil type that works best with ground source heat pumps?

Natural earth clay is ideal. Rocky ground or sandy soil is not great and the collector would need to be oversized to compensate. We conduct a ground investigation with the latest software to determine suitability of your soil at the initial consultation.

Q:How much ground will I need for ground source heat pump piping?

An average sized property will typically require 600 square metres of ground. It is best installing the pipe in 3 x 100 metre long trenches, 1.2 metre deep. Each circuit is 200 metres and travels out 100 metres and back again. It is also possible to dig a square pit and install the pipe in a linear fashion. The proper sizing of loops is critical. The ground type and the heat loss of the property are the two main determining factors when sizing the ground collector.

Q:What about use of ground after laying of ground source heat pump loops?

Light planting is best.

Q:What type of floor is best with underfloor heating?

Tiles is best, otherwise, engineered wood or carpet with TOG below 1.8 when combined with underlay.

Q:Do I need a Mechanical Heat Recovery System?

With modern houses now a lot better insulated and more airtight, the importance of air quality becomes more critical. Having a Controlled Ventilation System guarantees filtered fresh quality air into each habitable room which is very hard to achieve with trickle vents or a Positive Input Ventilation System.

Q:Do you have your own plumber or can we use ours?

We can work in whichever way suits you best. We can work in tandem with your plumber advising them of the specifications we require in relation to domestic plumbing, with our plumbers installing the full heating system.

Q:What about hot water? Will I have enough of it?

Heat pumps provide ample hot water to a high enough temperature to avoid the need of using immersion heater devices to top it up. We will size your pump to suit both your property and your lifestyle ensuring it provides all your heating needs, including hot water. Solar hot water can be installed as an additional luxury.

Q:Will I be warm enough and will I need a backup heat source?

We set our systems to run at 21°C throughout the house, with bedrooms at 18°C. Intelligent technology means that the systems are weather compensated, meaning that they adjust to variations in the weather throughout the day. The systems flow in harmony with the outside temperature.

We strongly discourage the use of thermometers in every room – they upset the balance, affect the performance and reduce the lifespan of the compressor.

A backup heat source is not required on a New Build. We will design the heat pump system to provide 100% of the heating & hot water requirements all year round.

Q:I am not convinced about underfloor heating. I have heard some horror stories.

There are a number of critical design and installation factors which have not been understood by all installers in the infancy of underfloor heating in the UK and Ireland.

The quality of pipe, floor covering and understanding of the most efficient way to manage underfloor heating is key to its success. Underfloor heating does not give out the intense heat we are used to with conventional radiators but rather emits a more ambient heat over a longer period of time.

It is ideally suited to heat pump technology as it is ‘on’ all the time, with the intelligent technology adjusting temperatures as necessary. Larger heat-radiating areas produce effective and efficient heating. Room temperatures are generally 1 ºC to 2 ºC lower than with conventional radiators, but the flow temperature is constant and produces an energy saving of 6 to 12%.

Underfloor heating has the added bonus of creating a healthy living environment, reducing dust mites as the dryness of the heat deprives mites of the moisture they need to thrive. This not only reduces housekeeping chores but frees up wall space.

Q:What about biomass?

We don’t install biomass as the costs are too volatile and there is a lot more maintenance with these systems. However, they can be a good retrofit option for older houses.

Q:Can Renewable Technologies be fitted to an existing house?

Depending on your energy consumption, we can advise on which is the most suitable renewable technology to install to help you cut down on your energy bills. All of the technologies we install can be retrofitted and we will conduct a detailed site survey to assess the suitability of the house for a potential renewable energy system. By retrofitting renewable energy systems, we aim to reduce your energy consumption by 30-70%.

Q:What are typical annual RHI / ROC payments?

It depends on your system but, typically:

  • Ground Source Heat Pumps £1100 for 7 years
  • Air Source Heat Pumps £500 for 7 years
  • Solar PV (4Kw) £625 for 20 years
  • Solar Thermal £150 for 7 years

Get in the know about RHI in Northern Ireland by clicking here.

Get in the know about RHI in Scotland by clicking here

Click here to view Government Incentive Payments RHI & ROCS available in Northern Ireland

Click here to view Government Incentive Payments RHI & ROCS available in Scotland

Q:What is the typical period for return on investment?

Again it depends, but typically:

  • Ground Source Heat Pumps – 6 years and 3 years with RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive)
  • Air Source Heat Pumps – 7 years and 4 years with RHI payments
  • Solar PV (4Kw) 6 years
  • Solar Thermal 12 years and 8 with RHI payments

Click here to view Government Incentive Payments RHI & ROCS available in Northern Ireland

Click here to view Government Incentive Payments RHI & ROCS available in Scotland

Q:What happens if there is a power cut?

We advise installing a surge protector device to protect your system.

Q:When is RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) payment due to come in?

The Renewable Heat Incentive payments were launched in October 2014. More details are available from DETI.

Check out the DETI link below for more information on RHI payments


Q:Is the RHI payment retrospective?


Q:What about boreholes? Are they more efficient?

Drilling boreholes increases the capital cost significantly of a domestic Ground Source Heat Pump System. When a horizontal collector system is designed and installed correctly, it is every bit as efficient as a borehole system. If your ground is not suitable for a horizontal collector system, we would advise installing an Air Source Heat Pump System instead.

Q:Do I need planning permission?

Since March 2014 planning for air source heat pumps is not required in Northern Ireland. For Scotland and Republic of Ireland markets, it is best for client’s to consult their local planning authority.

In general, planning permission is not required for the installation for any of the technologies that we specialise in, except in exceptional circumstances such as listed buildings, which we will advise you on.

Possible planning considerations is another reason to think about your heating solutions early in the planning process for your new build or retrofit. Nutherm will be able to advise you, but the following link provides fairly straightforward guidance.