Can You Have a Hybrid Heat System with an Existing Boiler?

There is much speculation as to whether a hybrid heat pump can be installed with an existing boiler, and the simple answer is yes. 

In fact, there is no hybrid aspect without a boiler in place. What they do exactly is switch between a heat pump and boiler to heat the home at the right times.

Installing one with an existing boiler is known as a ‘bivalent system’ and would mean the heat pump and boiler are connected through a buffer tank.

Bivalent Systems

In this case, a heat pump would be installed and combined with an oil or gas boiler that is from the same manufacturer. This gives the opportunity to potentially integrate it with the boiler you already have, providing it is in good working order.

The heat pump will run as much as it can to meet your needs and when the temperature outside dips and becomes cold enough, the heat pump will stop and transfer duties over to the oil boiler, never running at the same time.

Is a Hybrid Heat Pump Worth it?

You may still be on the fence at this point, but there are several reasons that you may have one installed:

High Heat Home

You may find that your home has a high heat demand, therefore a single heat pump or boiler may not suffice when it comes to keeping your property comfortable.

Insulation can keep the heat demand of your property low but can be quite expensive or impractical if you live in a bigger-than-average home.

In this case, a hybrid heat pump could be your best choice. 

Heat Pump Needs Back Up

If you replace your boiler with a heat pump, you can begin to see lower heating bills. However, this depends on the kind of fuel being replaced and the efficiency of the boiler.

A new gas boiler would deliver heat cheaply compared to heat pumps when gas prices are low.

With Hybrid heating systems, controls can be automated to determine the time and how the heat pump works. To determine this the system considers a number of different factors such as time of day, fossil fuel supply costs, electricity costs, and finally whether the property has a solar panel system that is generating energy.

If the system is made to behave in conjunction with fuel prices, then the boiler will only fire up when it costs less to do so.

Are You Considering a Hybrid Heat System?

If you are thinking that a hybrid heating system is right for you because of its ability to react to energy prices, you should research more about what assumptions are used by the installer to decide when the heat pump will work and when the boiler will.

You should figure out with your installer what the heat pump configuration will be and ask them to discuss their running cost calculations.

Two Options For Hybrid Systems

  1. Top-Up System: this configuration is for those periods when the heat pump needs a helping hand in cold weather.
  2. Separate Systems: the boiler will supply hot water and the heat pump will heat the home. If the boiler in question is a combi or instant water heater, there is no longer any need for a hot water cylinder with the heat pump.
Billy Strickland
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