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Witten by Bernard Morgan (Engineer) & Adam Apperley (Marketing). Published: November 16, 2023. Updated: November 16, 2023

The Alpha E-Tec Hybrid Heating System

Are you considering upgrading your existing heating system to an air source heat pump? Have you received a quote and, even with the £7,500 grant from the government, feel that it’s a bit too much right now?

Look no further than the Alpha E-Tec Hybrid Heating System. This innovative system offers the best of both heat pump and gas boiler worlds by combining the reliability of a gas boiler with the sustainability of a heat pump. Not only is it up to 70% cheaper to install compared to a full heat pump system, but it also promises significant savings on your gas energy consumption—up to 60%.

These savings equate to an approximately 5-6 year payback and £52 per month saving in energy costs.

Designed for modern living, the Alpha E-Tec Hybrid requires no additional indoor space and comes equipped with cutting-edge features like a 4kW monobloc heat pump and a Smartech WiFi controller. Plus, it’s 20% hydrogen blend ready, making it a future-proof investment for your home. Ideal for properties without airing cupboards, this system is a cost-effective and practical first step towards home decarbonisation.

In this initial review, we’ll delve deeper into the product features that make the Alpha E-Tec Hybrid a game-changer in home heating solutions.

Alpha ETec Hybrid Heating System

Highlights

  • Save up to 70% on installation costs compared to a full heat pump solution
  • Average savings of 60% of gas usage, maximum savings of up to 80%
  • ~£52 a month saving
  • Logic system will choose the most efficient fuel at the time of operation
  • Payback in approximately 5 years based on savings
  • 1 day install
  • Ready for 20% hydrogen mix
  • Wall or floor mounted heat pump
  • No need for additional space inside
  • No need to replace existing radiators or pipework
  • Designed as the perfect system to replace a 30kW combi boiler (UK average)
  • No requirement to apply to DNO or wait for local electricity grid upgrades
  • Compatible with natural gas or LPG
  • The cheaper electricity becomes, the cheaper heating your home will get
  • Combined modulation range of 500w to 30kW
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How The Hybrid System Works

The heat pump is activated when the system detects that it can meet your heating needs more efficiently than the combi boiler. It extracts heat from the outside air, even in temperatures as low as -15°C, and uses it to warm your home. During extremely cold conditions, the combi boiler can kick in to supplement the heat pump, ensuring consistent heating.

Hot water is provided by the combi boiler, removing the requirement for a hot water tank in the home; a tried and tested system most people are familiar with.

Hybrid Systems vs. Full Heat Pump Systems

Alpha have created this system to help transition homes from traditional fuels over to electricity-based heat pump solutions. Air source heat pumps require homes to be super insulated and run radiators at a low temperature to keep the efficiency of the system high. These systems also require a hot water tank to store hot water before use.

A hybrid system won’t require as much additional work (pipes and radiators) as it will run at a higher temperature than a full heat pump system. Also, it will only take up as much room inside your home as a traditional combi boiler making installation quick and easy with an average installation time of 1 day.

Alpha’s E-Tec Hybrid system is a great product to save money on bills, not pay as much upfront (compared to a full heat pump), reduce your emissions and give you time to upgrade your homes insulation and heating efficiency so in 15 or 20 years a full heat pump could be a more realistic and affordable option.

Another benefit of this system is that you have a backup for your heating. In the very unlikely event that one part of the system stopped working, heating would still be available through the other until you could arrange a visit from an expert.

Full heat pump system installations can be pretty complicated. They start with surveys of your home heating efficiency and ability to run the system. If this is all possible then an application needs to be made to the DNO, the organisation who looks after electricity networks as not all neighbourhoods or homes have the right infrastructure in place to support the heat pump. The E-Tec Hybrid is DNO-approved, meaning that anyone can install one.

Benefits Of The Hybrid System

Optimal Performance – The heat pump and combi boiler work together to provide efficient heating, automatically switching between the two based on which is most efficient at the time.

Reduced Energy Bills – The heat pump’s high efficiency can lead to significant savings on your energy bills. It does this through a smart tariff algorithm. During install, and at anytime, your current gas and electricity prices can be added to the system through the control panel, app or online portal. This allows the Alpha E-Tec Hybrid system to intelligently choose which fuel source to use, gas or electricity.

Cost-Effectiveness – The system is up to 70% cheaper to install than a full heat pump system, making it a very economical choice.

Future-Ready – As the UK moves towards more sustainable energy solutions, having a heat pump integrated into your heating system makes it future-proof. The combi boiler part of the system is also 20% hydrogen ready.

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What Are The Cons Of A Hybrid System

Initial Costs – While cheaper than a full heat pump system, the initial investment is still higher than installing a traditional boiler alone.

Complexity – The system is slightly more complex to install than a single boiler or heat pump, leading to additional installation costs.

Space Requirement – You’ll need some outdoor space for the heat pump unit, which could be a limitation for some properties. The unit can be floor or wall mounted.

Variable Efficiency – While the heat pump is efficient, its performance can drop in extremely cold conditions, requiring the boiler to kick in and increasing gas consumption at that specific time.

Focus: The Combi Boiler

The Alpha E-Tec Hybrid Heating System incorporates a combination boiler, commonly known as a “combi boiler,” as part of its innovative design.

A combi boiler is a high-efficiency water heater and a central heating boiler combined within one compact unit. This eliminates the need for a separate hot water cylinder or cold-water storage tank, which is required with a full heat pump solution, saving valuable space in your home.

The combi boiler serves as a familiar and trusted heat source, especially useful during extremely cold conditions when the efficiency of a heat pump might decrease. It also ensures immediate hot water supply for your domestic needs, like showers and taps, directly from the mains, without any waiting time.

Focus: The Heat Pump

The heat pump component of the Alpha E-Tec Hybrid Heating System is a 4kW unit designed to offer an energy-efficient and environmentally friendly heating solution. Heat pumps work by extracting heat from the outside air and using it to warm your home. The best way to think of them is like a large, reverse fridge.

Here’s a closer look at the heat pump’s role in the system:

Energy Efficiency – Heat pumps are known for their high energy efficiency, converting all the electricity they consume into heat with efficiencies that range from 100% to 400%. In the Alpha E-Tec Hybrid system, the heat pump works in tandem with the combi boiler to provide optimal efficiency by using the most cost-efficient fuel at any one time.

Sustainability – The heat pump is a green alternative to traditional heating systems that rely on fossil fuels. It produces zero carbon emissions, making it an eco-friendly choice. The hybrid system will still produce carbon emissions over a year, but reduced by 60%.

Low Operating Costs – Heat pumps require minimal maintenance and can last up to 20 years, making them a cost-effective long-term investment.

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Conclusion

The Alpha E-Tec Hybrid system offers a balanced approach to home heating, combining the reliability of a gas boiler with the efficiency of a heat pump. While the initial costs can be higher than a traditional combi boiler alone, it is much lower than the full heat pump solution. Potential government grants and long-term energy savings make it a worthy investment for those looking to reduce both their carbon footprint and energy bills.

Link to show Hybrid video from Alpha

Frequently asked questions

Full system needs a cylinder in an airing cupboard for hot water. You also need to run it at lower temperatures meaning potential upgrades to pipework and radiators. No major changes required inside homes to fit an E-Tec Hybrid.

The logic in the system takes your gas and electricity prices and it will always choose the most economic fuel at any given time. This will help future-proof the system against large changes in prices.

Yes. The combi boiler and air pump has a combined output of 30kW which will heat most properties. The only limitation may be the hot water. This system will easily provide hot water for 2 showers or hot water taps at once but may struggle with more.

Servicing and maintenance is exactly the same as a normal combi boiler. This would be an annual service with a gas safe engineer. The maintenance of the heat pump is much simpler, a clean and visual check is all that is normally required.

Yes. They have superior modulation ranges to gas boilers and this Alpha will use the cheapest fuel at any one time. An added benefit is that you won’t need to upgrade your radiators or pipework and you don’t need a hot water tank installed.

They’re no more noisy that a normal combi boiler. And the Alpha external unit is also very quiet whilst in operaion. Call us on 029 2009 9898 to learn more.

That depends, but in general, yes. They’re comparable or only slightly more expensive that a gas combi boiler of the same power. They will require outside space for the external unit which isn’t always possible – but they can go on the wall.

Alpha say theirs will reduce gas usage by between 60% and 80%. So if you think it’s worth it for you, contact us, or run through some quick questions here >

A hybrid heat pump is a heating system that combines a heat pump with an additional heat source. Generally, this involves installing a heat pump in conjunction with a combi boiler powered by fossil fuels such as gas, oil, or LPG.

Want a quote? Contact us, or run through some quick questions here >

Briefly, a full air source heat pump requires space outside and a hot water tank inside the property. A hybrid system, like the Alpha E-Tec doesn’t need as much space outside or a hot water tank.

The external unit in both setups will require enough space around them to be able to function properly but they can also go on a wall. External units will need to be close to the property to ensure there isn’t too much heat loss on the way through to the home.

The main considerations between the two systems is that a full system requires sign-off from the distribution networks to ensure your electricity network can handle the power required. A hybris system doesn’t require this sign-off.

Want a quote? Contact us, or run through some quick questions here >

A heat pump operates using principles similar to those in a refrigerator or air conditioning unit. It gathers heat from an external source, in this case the air. The heat pump then intensifies this heat through expansion and compression of gases and redistributes it to the desired location through water pipes.

Want a quote? Contact us, or run through some quick questions here >

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