Can you have a heat pump in a terraced house?


Absolutely! Heat pumps are a viable and efficient heating solution for terraced houses, providing eco-friendly warmth while maximizing space and reducing energy costs.

Heat pumps hard to install in terraced houses due to wall type. Few have space for Ground Source Heat Pump, while Air Source needs open area away from trees. Lower water temperatures require underfloor heating, bigger radiators, and electric boost in winter.

Want to know if you can have a heat pump in a terraced house? Read on to find out more!

Heat pumps

Heat pumps are an economical and effective technique for producing hot water to heat your house. They function by collecting heat from the surrounding environment and transmitting it to a fluid, which is squeezed to raise its temperature. The heat from the compressed fluid is then transported to the central heating system, where it is used for both heating and hot water.

The primary distinction between the two types of heat pumps is where they absorb heat: air source heat pumps (ASHPs) take heat from the air, whereas ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) absorb heat from the earth.

Heat pumps for terraced houses and flats

Many terraced homes or flat dwellers don’t have enough outside space. Ground source heat pumps require some room for a borehole or a horizontal trench, whereas air source heat pumps are ideally put where their noise would not disturb individuals who sleep with their windows open.

However, there have been numerous case studies that advocate the suitability of heat pumps for all types of housing including terraced houses. The Electrification of Heat (EoH) project, financed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in the UK, successfully installed heat pumps in Victorian mid-terrace dwellings, pre-WWII semi-detached houses, and a 1960s block of flats.

Between June 2020 and October 2021, 742 heat pumps were installed in three districts across the UK. Air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, and hybrid heat pumps were placed in a variety of dwelling types and socioeconomic categories, along with some solar batteries.

This research showed that low-carbon heating systems are an effective choice for homes of all sorts and ages. Heat pumps will become the obvious, cheap alternative for customers as technology improves and costs fall over the next decade.

Shared ground heat exchange- a ground source heating alternative for terraced housing

Another heating technology you may not have heard of is shared ground heat exchange, although according to one research study, it may be suitable for 80% of UK households. A shared ground heat exchange, like ground source heat pumps, uses electricity to convert low-grade heat from boreholes into a cozy residence with lots of hot water. A neighborhood with a freshly built shared ground heat exchange would have little visible evidence of it, but each home would be linked to a network of shared boreholes that pull heat from the earth.

Ground source heat pumps can be positioned far distant from the residences and connected to them through a conduit running beneath the pavement. This avoids the requirement for each home to have outdoor space. Instead, each home would require a tiny heat pump the size of a standard gas boiler, which would fit neatly under most stairs or in an airing closet.

Shared ground heat exchangers can also return heat to the ground in the summer, where it can be retrieved later in the year, reducing installation size and expense.

Using an air source heat pump in flats and terraced houses

An air source heat pump may be installed in almost any home, while a ground source device requires more space. However, not all flats will be suitable with air source heat pumps because the devices must be installed on the ground outdoors to function. This might be a problem for individuals who live in flats with limited outside space.

Small apartments may also lack the necessary internal space for the equipment, as huge hot water cylinders are required. They can be placed on a wall in some circumstances, but they must be accessible so that settings can be changed. When functioning, air source heat pumps make some noise, especially in cold weather. However, that noise is still less than your traditional gas boiler.

For terraced houses, placing an outdoor unit of air source heat pump might be a less hassle as you can place it in your backyard easily

Two air source heat pump units installed on a modern house

Are heat pumps noisy?

Heat pumps, on average, are quieter than fossil fuel boilers. A ground source heat pump may reach 42 decibels, whereas an air source heat pump can reach 40 to 60 decibels, depending on the brand and installation.

The noise levels of heat pumps are a significant source of worry, particularly among homeowners in dense suburbs like terraced houses. While there have been instances of bothersome systems, these are the result of poor planning and subpar installation.

Ground source heat pumps

A ground source heat pump has a maximum decibel level of 42 dB when measured one meter away in the plant room. This is comparable to a standard residential refrigerator. This is far quieter than any fossil fuel boiler, and the noisiest portions are inside your home, so your neighbors will notice no difference in the external environment.

Air source heat pumps

Air source heat pump noise is subject to official planning requirements. ASHPs shall be less than 42 decibels when measured from a distance equivalent to the distance between the unit and the next-door property. From a meter away, the noise may be between 40 and 60 dB (probably much quieter in reality), and the levels drop substantially as you walk away.

In fact, this implies that the only way an ASHP might be a nuisance to neighbors is if installation planning was lax and the heat pump was installed wrongly.

Pros and cons of heat pumps in a terraced house setting

ProsCons
A great option if the shared ground heat exchange option is adoptedNoise issues in case of air source heat pump used in small closely located flats
Air source heat pumps are a better alternative for terraced houses with backyards to install out door unitsGround source heat pumps require more space, which is not available in the case of terraced housing
 Usually, most terraced houses are from the Victorian era and lack good insulation. Heat pumps do not produce much amount of heat so secondary heating sources would also be required.

Conclusion – Summarize key points – choose a method that best illustrates them (eg tables, lists, comparisons)

  • Ground source heat pumps require more ground space so using them in terraced housing is not suitable.
  • A superior approach is shared ground heat exchange. Ground source heat pumps can be installed distance from homes and connected to them by a pipe running beneath the pavement. This removes the demand for each home to have outside space.
  • The noise levels of heat pumps are a major cause of concern, particularly among homeowners of small flats. While there have been reports of inconvenient systems, these have been the result of poor planning and installation. If properly installed, the noise of heat pumps is still less than the of traditional gas boilers.
  • Air source heat pumps are a great alternative for terraced housing if they have sufficient space in their backyard. Alternatively, they can also mount it on the walls. For flats, air source heat pumps may not have the desired space for out door unit installation
https://www.regen.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/HeatPumpReport_Final_04PDF.pdf
https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0360544221027304
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electrification-of-heat-demonstration-project-successful-bids#:~:text=The%20Electrification%20of%20Heat%20Demonstration,of%20the%20barriers%20to%20deployment.
https://tomkiss.net/life/going_fossil_free_in_a_terraced_victorian_house
https://tomkiss.net/life/one_year_with_an_air-source_heat-pump

Alex

Alex is fascinated by engineering and how things work. He had to learn all he could about installing Underfloor heating in his new home, gaining so much new information that he decided to make it into a website answering all your questions about heating systems in the home.

Recent Posts