Do heat pumps work with radiators? 

Heat pumps can work with radiators or underfloor heating. The right type of radiator for you will depend on your home and current setup.  

Find out below which radiators work with heat pumps and what you need to consider when deciding the best way to heat your home. 

Do heat pumps work with existing radiators? 

When installing a new heat pump you will need to think about how to make your home heating system as efficient as possible to work effectively with your heat pump.

Heat pumps will generally work with whatever type of radiator you currently have in your home. However, that does not mean your current system will be the most effective option and you may get better results by installing a new heating system. 

If you only have normal or small-sized radiators, the heat pump will have to work harder to heat your home and therefore be less efficient, so it may be worth considering upgrading to large radiators to get the most from your heat pump. 

If you already have oversized radiators in your property, then you should be able to use your heat pump with them and get good efficiency from it. 

If you are looking to get the best radiator for air source heat pumps then it may be worth considering upgrading your system to either underfloor heating or oversized radiators. 

How do heat pumps work with radiators?

Heat pumps fitted to work with a water based heating system work in the same way as a gas boiler or conventional heating system with radiators would.

Water, heated by the heating system, either a gas boiler or, in this case a, heat pump is pushed through your heating system which accumulates in radiators and emits heat into rooms in your home via convection.

This is why heat pumps can easily replace gas boilers because they can slot in to your heating system in place of a gas boiler.

However, because heat pumps operate at lower flow temperatures the water flowing through your heating system may not get as warm as water heated by a gas boiler. To help to keep temperatures consistent you may need to consider;

  • improving the insulation in your home to help prevent unnecessary heat loss
  • installing larger radiators to help efficiently distribute heat throughout your home
  • installing underfloor heating if you are fully renovating a property

Do ground source heat pumps work with radiators?

Ground source heat pumps do work with radiators. Ground source heat pumps will work with existing radiators that you have in your property. However, It is common to use oversized radiators or underfloor heating to get the most out of your heat pump.

Do heat pumps need bigger radiators? 

It will depend on your current heating system whether you need to get new radiators, in a larger size fitted when installing a heat pump. 

If you have existing radiators that were installed to be used with a gas boiler, you may need to upgrade your radiators. This is because radiators designed to be used with gas boilers are meant to be used with higher heat than with an air source or ground source heat pump. 

Gas boilers generally have a “high flow temperature”, whereas heat pumps have a “low flow temperature”. This means, that to heat a room, a heat pump doesn’t need to work as hard as a gas boiler. The low-temperature flow is what makes heat pumps more efficient. 

Traditional radiators are designed for large heat outputs. They can cope with high flow temperatures from a boiler of between 65 – 70°C. 

Heat pumps have a much lower flow temperature which generally sits between 35 – 50°C. This means that to heat your room, you are going to need more surface area to reach the same temperatures. 

Lower flow temperature require larger radiators because they will increase the surface area able to distribute heat into your home (through convection) and so will help to raise the temperature of your home more quickly even though they won’t get as hot as they would with a gas boiler. 

This may mean upgrading to larger radiators to ensure they emit enough heat to warm your room thoroughly. 

There may also be benefits in moving some of your old radiators to different locations in your house to avoid having to buy a whole new heating system. For example, if the lounge is much bigger than one of the bedrooms, you could move the radiator that would now be too small for the lounge up to the bedroom to heat that.

If you aren’t sure whether you need to upgrade your radiators, talk with a heat pump installer who will be able to advise you. 

Do you have to get underfloor heating with a heat pump? 

You don’t have to get underfloor heating when installing a heat pump system. Many people are happy using radiators rather than going to the effort and cost of lifting flooring to install underfloor heating. 

However, underfloor heating is considered a very effective option when installing a heat pump. Underfloor heating works well due to covering a large surface area, this means that the heat pump can run efficiently. 

Typically, having underfloor heating means that a heat pump doesn’t have to work as hard to get the room up to temperature due to the large area that is being heated which will save you money.

If you are planning a renovation project, or are a self-builder, it may be a good idea to consider underfloor heating at the design stage of your project.

Do you have to get new radiators when installing a heat pump? 

It depends on the current radiator set up in the property. It is recommended to get large radiators to distribute enough heat evenly to warm a room. 

Oversized radiators help to keep a heat pump running efficiently due to heating a room quicker than smaller radiators. Having big radiators means that the heat pump won’t have to work as hard to get a room to the desired temperature. 

Do you need fan assisted radiators with a heat pump? 

Getting fan assisted radiators is not a necessity when installing a heat pump, however, they can help to distribute the air more evenly through a room. 

Traditional radiators are generally designed to be used with gas boilers, however, fan-assisted radiators can help heat a room faster and more efficiently when using a heat pump. 

What is a fan assisted radiator? 

A fan assisted radiator continually heats the air around the radiator. The fans increase airflow around the heat exchanger, resulting in much better heat distribution. 

You can see up to three times more heat output from a fan-assisted radiator than from a traditional radiator. Hence, they are worth considering if you are upgrading your heating system. 

Fan assisted radiators need to be connected to electricity, however, they only use 2-3 watts so are very efficient. They are known for being quick to react to temperature changes and often come with boost functions which can help to quickly heat cold rooms. 

How much are fan assisted radiators? 

Fan assisted radiators range in price from budget models of under £100 to up to £500 for top-end brands. 

You can expect to pay between £200-£300 for a mid-range, well-reviewed fan-assisted radiator.