In this article

1. What is a hybrid heat pump?

2. How does a hybrid heating system work?

3. What’s the difference between hybrid heating and standalone air source heat pumps?

4. What are the benefits of hybrid heating?

5. Is a hybrid heat pump suitable for my house?

Hybrid heating is a smarter and more energy-efficient way to heat your home by using your existing boiler in combination with an air source heat pump to heat your home using renewable energy - the air outside. With a hybrid heating system, you can reduce your annual bills, your reduce carbon footprint, and earn up to seven years of payments from the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). In this article, we’ll take you through the benefits of hybrid heating in more detail, explain how a hybrid heating system works and break down the key differences between a standalone air source heat pump and a hybrid heat pump.

1. What is a hybrid heat pump? 

Hybrid heat pumps heat your home through a combination of traditional fossil fuels (such as gas, oil or LPG) and green, renewable energy by extracting heat from the outside air. It’s made up of two main components:  

  1. An air source heat pump which will be positioned on the outside of your property

  2. An existing fossil fuel powered boiler, which will work in tandem to provide heating and hot water in your home. 

Unlike standalone air source heat pumps, which replace your existing boiler entirely, a hybrid heating system intuitively switches between fuel sources using intelligent controls. This means your home’s heating is predominantly powered by green, renewable energy, and your traditional boiler will only be engaged to give a boost when it’s necessary. 

2. How does a hybrid heating system work?

A hybrid heat pump system provides heat and hot water to your home in a more efficient and cost-effective way than a traditional boiler.1

Instead of being solely reliant on fossil fuels such as gas or oil, a hybrid home makes primary use of green energy, generated from the heat found in the outside air by the air source heat pump itself, even when outdoor temperatures fall below zero

With hybrid heating installed, you can control your home’s temperature and hot water as you need it, so practically nothing in your home will feel any different, just the mechanics of how your home is heated change. 

Diagram explaining how hybrid heating works in the home

3. What’s the difference between hybrid heating and standalone air source heat pumps? 

The main difference between heating your home using a standalone air source heat pump versus a hybrid heating system is that with a hybrid heating system you keep your existing boiler. This, coupled with your heat pump, essentially creates a new hybrid system, which switches between the air source heat pump’s green energy and the boiler’s fossil fuels. In contrast, homes that opt for a standalone air source heat pump, are not reliant on fossil fuels as a backup fuel source and are therefore even better for the environment.  

The other difference between having your existing boiler replaced by an air source heat pump, versus a hybrid heating system, is how your hot water gets heated.  

In homes with a hybrid air source heat pump, a fossil fuel fired boiler continues to heat hot water, while the air source heat pump takes the lead in heating your home’s radiators (with a little help from your existing boiler if needed). This is because standalone heat pump systems require a hot water tank, so in homes without one (or where it’s not possible to have a tank installed), hybrid heating is a great way to heat your home more sustainably.  

If you prefer the greenest solution for your home and you’re looking to put in a new heating system, then a standalone air source heat pump is the preferable option

4. What are the benefits of hybrid heating? 

The benefits of upgrading your existing central heating to a hybrid heating system include greater autonomy over your home’s heating controls, reduced annual heating bills and the chance to get paid for the heat your home generates. Let's have a look at some of the core benefits of hybrid heat pumps in more detail: 

A hybrid heating system reduces your reliance on fossil fuels:

A home powered by hybrid heating uses a combination of green energy, generated by the heat pump, and traditional fossil fuels from your boiler. This means that hybrid heating replaces some of your gas and oil usage, helping to reduce your home’s reliance on these fossil fuels.  

A hybrid heat pump system costs less to run – lowering your fuel bills:

The air source heat pump is powered by electricity and uses the outside air to generate heat for your home. When used for a hybrid heating system this works in conjunction with your current boiler to heat your home and reduces your need to purchase fossil fuels to heat your home – reducing your fuel bills. Homeowners using LPG and Oil will typically find they will make the largest savings on their fuel bills.2

Hybrid heating is better for environment:

In a bid to decrease Britain’s environmental footprint, the UK government has set a goal for Britain to become carbon neutral by 2050. Switching to a hybrid heating system is just one step you can take now to reduce your homes reliance on fossil fuels. This will help you to cut your carbon emissions and help towards carbon neutrality. 

Hybrid heating earns you a guaranteed income for seven years:

Hybrid heating qualifies you to receive quarterly payments, every year, for seven years. Known as the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), the Government scheme pays homeowners for the units of energy their heat pump produces

You can manage your hybrid heating system using smart energy controls:

Another benefit of switching to a hybrid heating system is being able to control your home’s heating from a tablet, smartphone or laptop, using smart controls. This allows you to set your home’s temperature to your liking and get up-to-the-minute information about how well your system is performing. These smart controls also give you the convenience of being able to manage your home’s heating from anywhere you have Wi-Fi connectivity.

5. Is a hybrid heat pump suitable for my house?

If you’re considering switching to a hybrid heating system, then there’s a few things to consider first to determine if your home is suitable.

As the air source heat pump unit needs to be fitted at ground level to the outside of your home, many flats are unable to accommodate hybrid heating, while listed properties may need to seek permission before moving forward with hybrid heating. Those living in rented accommodation will also need to seek permission from the landlord to upgrade to a hybrid heating system.

You’ll also need to use an approved installer. Companies that qualify must be registered with Trustmark and a member of the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), both of which apply to Igloo who are fully accredited, with our expert team of engineers able to install a hybrid heating system in suitable properties.

To that end, if you’re interested in switching your home’s heating to a hybrid heating system, the first thing our team will do is ask you a few quick questions over the phone to determine your suitability. Questions range from the type of home you live in, to how well your home is insulated to your radiators’ size.

This no-obligation chat will assess whether hybrid heating is right for your home, or whether a standalone heat pump may be the smarter option, and we’ll give you an estimate of how much you can expect to earn through the Renewable Heat Incentive too.

To get started with hybrid heating – or for more information about the benefits of hybrid heat pumps versus standalone air source heat pumps – click below contact us and receive a call back from a friendly Igloo Works expert.

1 Depends on system design and usage.

2 Depends on system design and usage.