Is a Hybrid Heating System Right For You?
The renewable heating market is really taking off with more and more heating brands developing their own solutions all the time. If you're interested in reducing your heating bills and carbon emissions with a renewable heating system, it's important to remember that there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution.
First things first…
What is a hybrid heating system?
A hybrid heating system is combination of a renewable technology (usually an air-to-water heat pump) and a traditional boiler.
The heat pump is installed outside your home where it can extract latent heat from the air (even at temperatures as low as -15°) and use it to heat water for your radiators and taps and showers. The air source heat pump has very low running costs and carbon emissions; aside from the small amount of electricity is needs to run, it uses 'free' energy from the air and produces 3 times as much energy as it uses. Although they can extract heat all year round, heat pumps are less effective when temperatures drop. That's when a traditional boiler is better equipped to provide the extra boost needed and heat your water quicker.
The hybrid system is managed by intelligent technology which can monitor the weather outside and assess which of the 2 systems will heat your home most efficiently based on your energy tariff. It will automatically switch to whichever system is the most energy efficient at the time without you needing to lift a finger.
Benefits of hybrid heating
There are 3 big benefits to a hybrid heating system:
- Reduced energy bills
- Lower carbon emissions
- Longer lasting and reliable heating system
- Potential to earn money through RHI payments.
Your hybrid system will use your heat pump rather than your boiler as long as it is efficient to do so. This means you'll be using your boiler less which means you'll need to spend less on expensive fossil fuels and your home's carbon emissions (which are produced whenever you burn oil or gas) will be reduced. And because the heat pump is taking the bulk of the strain and the boiler doesn't need to work as much, it should last far longer.
Finally, the heat pump element of a hybrid heating system should be eligible for the government's Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme; this means you'll earn money for every unit of energy your heat pump produces.
Things to consider
- If you're looking for a completely renewable solution a hybrid is not the best choice for you as the boiler element in your system will still use fossil fuels and produce some carbon emissions.
- A hybrid system costs more to install than a standard boiler and while should get this money back in lower energy bills and RHI earnings over time, if you plan to move home in the next few years it might not be the best financial choice. The initial cost of installing a hybrid heating system can range from around £5,000 to £10,000.
- You'll need enough outside space on your property to accommodate the heat pump fan unit with enough space (clearance) around it so it can work effectively.
- Heat pumps do make some noise while they are operating.
- Your home will need to be adequately insulated with minimal heat losses through walls, windows, roof etc. for the heat pump to be able to work at optimum efficiency and to benefit from the RHI scheme.
- Heat pumps most particularly effective when paired with underfloor heating or larger radiators so you may need to consider this in the cost of installation.
Need a new heating system?
Right hybrid heating system for your home
Daikin and Vaillant are 2 of the biggest brands offering hybrid heating systems. They are both high quality products with excellent reviews and advantages, but there are key differences between them when it comes to the type of installation they are suited for.
- If you're replacing the entire heating system (for example, as part of a renovation) you could consider either a Daikin Altherma Hybrid System which includes both a new gas boiler and an external heat pump or purchase a Vaillant aroTHERM hybrid heat pump alongside a new boiler.
- If you'd like to benefit from the energy savings and reduced carbon emissions of a heat pump but keep your existing condensing boiler, you can install a Vaillant aroTHERM hybrid pump without having to replace your boiler.
Daikin Altherma: Key features
The Daikin Altherma hybrid system includes an air-to-water heat pump and condensing boiler unit. It is best suited for homes looking to replace their entire heating system or for new build properties starting from scratch as you need to purchase the boiler and heat pump together.
- The boiler unit is installed and up and running before the heat pump so your home needn't be without heating while the rest of the installation takes place.
- If you're interested in an air conditioning unit this may be the ideal choice for your home as you can combine it with Daikin's Hybrid Multi for an all-in-one solution for cooling, heating and hot water all year round.
- The Altherma has a user-friendly, backlit controller or you can use your smart device to control it via the Daikin app. With this app you can adjust the room and hot water temperatures, activate time schedules to suit your lifestyle, switch between heating and cooling modes, set holiday periods and more.
Find out more about the Daikin Altherma Hybrid.
Vaillant aroTHERM: Key features
The Vaillant aroTHERM hybrid heat pump can either be purchased by itself and incorporated alongside your existing (relatively new) condensing boiler or a new boiler if you want to replace this at the same time.
- The aroTHERM is compatible with gas, oil and LPG boilers from most manufacturers.
- Larger homes with a high demand for hot water can install multiple heat pumps (up to a maximum of 7) and the system can cascade over time. This means that if you extend your home (or family) and need more in the future you can simply add to the system.
- The intelligent VRC 700 control can be programmed with up to 3 energy tariffs (e.g. one for electricity, one for gas) and uses weather compensation technology to assess which is the more energy efficient way to heat your home. It will automatically switch to the best system or you can manually override it from the app or central control unit.
- The VRC 700 control is also compatible with Vaillant's ambiSENSE thermostatic radiator valves; this means you can individually programme radiators to different temperatures and control them from the app.
Find out more about the Vaillant aroTHERM Hybrid.
Choosing the best hybrid system
If you're investing in a hybrid heating system you need to be confident in the quality and reliability of the brand and both Daikin and Vaillant tick these boxes. Both Daikin Altherma and Vaillant aroTHERM deliver an ErP efficiency rating between A+ to A++ and are MCS accredited; this means they should be eligible for the government's RHI payments (assuming other criteria is met).
The best way to ensure you're getting the right heating system for your home is to get quotes from several different companies. They can assess your home and lifestyle and work with you to find a solution that fits your budget.
Need a new heating system?
What is a Hybrid Heating System?
Everything you need to know about this alternative heating system.
Hybrid Heating: Pros, Cons and Costs
See how soon you could make back installation costs in bill savings & RHI payments.
Daikin Hybrid Heating System
Replace your heating system with Daikin's complete hybrid heat pump and boiler.
Vaillant Hybrid Heating System
Combine the energy savings of a heat pump with your current boiler.