Heating by boiler or heat pump – what’s worth more?

It is not so long ago that boilers were among the most widespread heat sources in buildings. Alternative heating source, such as heat pumps, are, however, getting more and more to the forefront. We have looked with the Technical Director of the company SunnyCold, Ing. Petr Rubeš, at advantages and disadvantages of both solutions. Find out if you it is worth for you to invest in a heat pump or whether to prefer a gas boiler.

You probably know that before you choose a boiler, or a heat pump, you need to grab the calculator and calculate everything thoroughly. Entry costs, service costs and monthly energy costs. If you get numbers with the specific offer, you can easily calculate, which variant is better for you. From a purely mathematical point of view, it’s a matter of minutes.

However, life in a certain space is not just about numbers. You need to take your needs, the needs of other members of the household and the overall comfort and lifestyle into account. This cannot be quantified easily. Therefore, we focused on practical aspects as well.  

Main advantages and disadvantages of boilers

Current trends are relentless. Dark clouds are gathering over solid fuel boilers more and more. Tightening legislation and the assessing these boilers into emission classes is the reason why this heat source is being dropped increasingly. Even though the operation costs of such boiler are relatively low, it does not look favourable for them in terms of ecology and overall comfort of heating. Additionally, with this boiler type you need to prepare space for storage of the fuel itself.

If you are considering investment into a heat pump, the change from solid fuel boiler makes the most sense. How is it in case of gas or electric boilers?

If we compare a gas boiler and a heat pump, it will be quite equal. A modern gas condensing boiler offers energy savings at a very similar level. If you already have this boiler type, if it works and does not require significant maintenance investments, it does not make sense to change it to a heat pump.

Similarly, this is also the case for an electric boiler. It is an efficient, comfortable and reliable heat source. However, the major disadvantage for this type of heating are the relatively high costs, as the boiler uses electricity. Compared to electric boilers, the heat pump can boast itself with one-third operating costs.

Heat pumps bring many benefits with them

From a previous comparison, it may seem that heat pumps are the perfect source of heat and that they have practically no disadvantages. However, each coin has two sides, and it is not different in case of heat pumps as well. Certainly, however, many benefits cannot be denied, thanks to which very few alternative sources are able to cope with them.

Heat pumps are very efficient, when working correctly they bring low monthly operating cost. It is a reliable and comfortable source of heat, which will be appreciated by ecologically-minded people as well.

In addition, heat pumps bring two nice benefits. When operating a heat pump, it is possible to negotiate a more advantageous tariff with the electricity provider. Not only will you save on operating the pump, but you also save on electricity used by ordinary appliances. The second benefit is, that the heat pump can work “in reverse” as well. Therefore, in winter you use it for heating and in the summer for cooling.

Now you’re probably expecting some famous “but”. Exactly, the disadvantage of heat pumps is their acquisition costs, which are really higher in comparison to other heat sources. The average return on investment in a heat pump (without any subsidies) in an ordinary family home is estimated at approximately 5-7 years. Input costs are therefore an obvious disadvantage. The other one may be a more complex installation (in case of drills) and in some cases even higher space requirements.

Each technology has certain advantages and disadvantages, in this respect there simply does not exist a universal solution for everyone. It’s also a good thing, because thanks to the varied offer, you can choose exactly what suits you best.

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