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With many in the sector considering Heat Pumps, BNE spoke with Neil Hopkinson, National Heating Sales Distribution Manager from HVAC specialist LG to find out more about the company’s latest Therma V R32 Monobloc S air source heat pump.
Q. How efficient is an Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP)?
Today’s Air to Water Heat Pump (AWHP) systems – monoblocs or splits – are hugely energy efficient when you compare them to traditional fossil fuel driven heating systems. The highest efficiency boiler you can buy is something like 95% efficient. An AWHP like LG’s new Monobloc has a seasonal coefficient of performance of up to 4.67 and an A+++ rating – and presents a variety of energy-saving options for a home’s heating and hot water system. By replacing a traditional gas, oil, or solid fuel system, an AWHP can significantly reduce carbon emissions and energy usage. These device’s absorption of natural energy from external air makes them consume less energy than conventional heating systems. And they can operate successfully at low temperatures – the LG Therma V range has 100% capacity at temperatures as low as -7°C – and it’s very rare for temperatures in the UK to go that low even for a day each year.
Q. What is the difference between a Monobloc and a split system? And how does a monobloc work?
The terms ‘Split’ and ‘Monobloc’ refer to how the system is required to be set up in a home. A Monobloc is a bit like a combi boiler and is literally a ‘single block’ system, where the heat pump has all of its components – apart from the hot water cylinder which is installed inside the property – located inside a heat pump unit situated outside the home. Because a monobloc does not require someone with F Gas qualifications to get involved in the use of refrigerants, they are an excellent additional string to the bow of most professional heating installers who after attending a relevant training course will be well placed to join the growing band of installers that will be required to swell the numbers of people capable of installing these excellent heating systems here in our home market.
A Split heat pump unit has both an outside unit which incorporates the heat exchanger and refrigerant and an internal unit which sits inside the property, usually in a utility or boiler room.
Most homes in the UK are ideal for a Monobloc air to water heat pump but some will require upgrades to their level of insulation. A Split system is an option generally for more complex installations and it can be installed up to 50m away from the home, which gives far more installation flexibility.
Q. Do installers need an F-gas qualification to fit ASHPs?
Installers only need an F-Gas qualification if they are installing equipment that requires them to work with refrigerants. This is the joy of installing monobloc systems where the system comes ready primed with the refrigerant – in the case of the LG Therma V Monobloc it’s R32, which has a low Global Warming Potential of just 675 – 70% lower than R410A which was widely used in recent years. With monoblocs like the LG one, the only pipework to install is the water pipe between the external unit and the internal hot water tank.
Q. What are the features on the new Therma V R32 Monobloc S?
The original LG Therma V Monobloc has already seen enormous success in the UK marketplace as heat pump sales in 2021 trebled over sales in the previous year. But this new ‘S’ version is set to make unparalleled sales figures in 2022 as more and more housebuilders and developers, local authorities and social housing providers move to use renewable options in their new build homes and begin the process of replacing older and inefficient gas boilers with an option that future proofs their existing homes in the years ahead.
This new model combines the indoor and outdoor features in one module. Hydronic components like the improved plate heat exchanger, the expansion tank, water pump, flow sensor, pressure sensor, air vent valve and safety valve are all built in – inside the outdoor unit – pre-installed and ready to run. And the R32 Monobloc ‘S’ provides excellent heating performance especially at low ambient temperatures whilst lowering its carbon emissions even more with the use of R32.
The innovative design and technology in this new unit sees built in water flow and pressure sensors to monitor the water circuit in real time, advanced water pump control, enhanced second circuit logic, energy monitoring of estimated power consumption via the remote controller and advanced control for the domestic hot water recirculation pump.
Installers will love the new Monobloc ‘S’ – the all-in-one concept and reduced weight of the unit makes for easier and quicker installations. The new version requires lower amounts of refrigerant compared to the existing model – 16.7% less in fact – reducing emissions and lessening its environmental impact still further. The new version features LG’s revolutionary R1 Compressor technology which offers advanced efficiency, reliability and operational range due in part to the enhanced tilting motion of the scroll. It offers enhanced operational range – up to 135Hz, a shaft-through structure and support at both ends of the shaft which ensures higher durability and offers bottom compression and simple structure that offers lower noise and vibration, less weight and superior reliability.
Within the outdoor unit the new version of the LG Monobloc offers a new compressor noise shield, a new Black Fin coated heat exchanger, a new water flow sensor and a new water pressure sensor.
The unit comes with a Seasonal Coefficient of Performance of up to 4.67 (Average climate/Low temperature application) and a A+++ rating. The COP rises to 4.9 (Outdoor air 7°C/Leaving water temperature 35°C) and can deliver leaving water temperature of 65°C if required.
Q. One concern relating to ASHPs is the level of noise they emit. How has LG tackled this issue?
This is a bit of a red herring today. ASHPs are in general very quiet and do not cause any issues for owners or their neighbours. The original LG Therma V Monobloc version was extremely quiet, but the new ‘S’ version is even quieter and up to 9kW units can be installed at the minimum of 4 metres away, and up to 16kW units – up to 5 metres away from neighbouring houses complying with international noise regulations.
Q. What controls can be used with the Therma V R32 Monobloc S?
LG equipment is justly renowned in the industry for its controllers and the new Monobloc ‘S’ is equipped with a new advanced remote controller which supports a number of functions. It comes with a premium design 4.3-inch colour LCD monitor, user friendly interface that uses simple graphic, icon and text controls, easy schedule and installer settings and energy monitoring without meter interface to provide estimated power consumption figures. It is possible to monitor not only the temperature of the water circuit but also the flow rate and the pressure. This information provides installers with more reliable information for installation and maintenance.