Q. I am just starting my self-build in Newbridge, do you need an MVHR (mechanical ventilation heat recovery) with a heat pump or is it a personal preference?
A. Heat pumps are great in that they are a very efficient source of heat with electricity being the only fuel input, but the downside is that they run at quite a low running temperature compared to a gas- or oil-fired system.
Because of the lower running temperature you need to ensure you have very efficient radiators (generally aluminium) and/or underfloor heating (where the large area compensates for the lower temperature heat source) and a very efficient building fabric. So, let’s consider the fabric in more detail as it relates to your question.
As the heat created by the system is lower, you need to ensure your building is very efficient in capturing the heat created and keeping it inside your building so you don’t need to keep producing it. This is where the external fabric of your building comes in. It’s like a warm coat on a cold day. As we are warm-blooded, our bodies emit energy in the form of heat, which keeps us warm.
When the outside temperature is cold, we need to wear a warm jumper and jacket to keep the heat that we generate close to our bodies to keep us warm. A jacket that is too thin or left unzipped will not keep enough heat in on a very cold day and your house is no different. A modern home keeps heat in through a combination of insulation and airtightness. So let’s look at each of these in turn.
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