Last updated: August 11, 2021

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The heating pump is an essential part of any heating system because it transports the heating water through the pipes. In this way, the heating pump or circulation pump ensures that the radiators in your house are filled with the heating fluid and that you are pleasantly warm. With the right heating pump, you can save a lot of energy. This is not only good for the environment, but also saves you money through lower electricity costs. With our large heating pump test 2021 we would like to help you find the optimal heating pump for you. To do this, we have compared uncontrolled heating pumps with controlled heating pumps and high-efficiency pumps and compiled the respective advantages and disadvantages for you. This should make your purchase decision much easier.




The most important facts

  • The heating pump is also called a circulation pump and is an important component of every heating system, as it moves the heating water from the boiler to the radiators.
  • A distinction is made between the uncontrolled heating pump, the (electronically) controlled heating pump and the high-efficiency pump. In the case of uncontrolled models, there are also those with several stages.
  • Replacing an old heating pump with a new and more efficient one can help to consume significantly less energy and thus also save considerably on electricity costs.

The Best heating Pump: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a heating pump

What is a heating pump?

A heating pump - sometimes also called a circulation pump or heating circulating pump - is an important element of the heating system. The device can best be compared to the human heart. The heart pumps the blood through the veins in our body and thus ensures the required blood flow to every part of the body.

Heizungspumpe-1

The heating pump is as important for the heating system as our heart is for us humans. Both pump needed fluid through a system.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Robina Weermeijer)

The heating pump has a similar purpose and works as the heart of the heating system. It transports the hot water or the heat transfer medium from the boiler through the heating pipes to the radiator or the connection station in the house where it is needed. At the same time, it transports the cold water from there back to the boiler.

How does a circulating pump for the heating system work?

The circulation pump for the heating system is driven by electricity, which is transformed into pumping power. The exact mode of operation depends on the respective type of heating pump. For example, there are uncontrolled heating pumps that run constantly with the same energy. In contrast, there are heating pumps that only consume energy and heat as needed.

Heizungspumpe-2

The heating pump ensures that the warm heating fluid reaches the radiator. Thus, thanks to it, the radiator gives off a pleasant warmth.
(Image source: unsplash.com / he gong)

Basically, however, the function of the circulation pump is to form a closed heating circuit and to allow the heat transfer medium to flow to the radiators as well as back through the pumping power generated by means of electricity.

What does a heating pump consume?

The consumption of a heating pump varies depending on the type of device. Old devices in particular can be real power guzzlers. Many households still have uncontrolled heating pumps that do not adjust their consumption to the actual demand. They use their maximum power all the time and thus transport the water for up to 6,000 hours a year. This results in enormous electricity consumption, which often exceeds the consumption of all other appliances.

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You can save a lot of electricity costs with a modern and efficient heating pump. This way you can easily put money aside for other desires.
(Image source: pixabay.com / USA-Reiseblogger)

Newer models, on the other hand, which adjust their power consumption to the current demand, use significantly less energy. With them, a large amount of electricity costs can be saved. However, the exact costs naturally depend on the current electricity price. In the following table you can see the approximate consumption and the annual costs of an old and a new heating pump (source: www.co2online.de).

Appliance electricity consumption electricity costs
new heating pump 50-100 kWh 15-29 €
TV 190 kWh 56 €
Washing machine 200 kWh 58 €
Lighting 330 kWh 96 €
Refrigerator 330 kWh 96 €
Electric cooker 445 kWh 130 €
old heating pump 400-600 kWh up to 175 €

The figures are based on an assumed electricity price of 29.2 cents per kilowatt hour.

When should I replace a heating pump?

In general, you should replace the heating pump when it is broken. But even before that, it can make sense to replace an old heating pump with a newer model.
If you have an old heating pump, it may make sense to replace it with a modern device.

Depending on what kind of heating pump is currently installed, you can save more or less energy by replacing it. Especially if your house has an uncontrolled circulating pump, you should replace it with a modern and more economical device. Besides higher electricity costs, there are other reasons for replacing an old heating pump. Often the pressure and thus also the flow rate of the heating water fluctuates. In addition, these devices are usually much louder than newer pumps. Nevertheless, you should always check individually whether replacing the heating pump really makes sense for you. Therefore, check whether the replacement will contribute to a more efficient heating system.

What alternatives are there to the heating pump?

If you want an efficient heating system, there is no way around a heating pump. Although you can choose between the different types, there is no alternative to the circulation pump for the operation of a modern heating system. If you do not want to heat with heating water and a heating system including pump, you can use a wood stove or fireplace as an alternative. An alternative heating source is also a solar system, which usually requires a special solar pump.

Decision: What types of heating pumps are there and which is the right one for you?

If you want to buy a heating pump, you can choose between three types:

  • unregulated heating pump
  • controlled heating pump
  • High-efficiency pump

In the case of the uncontrolled heating pump, a further distinction is made between single-stage, uncontrolled devices and multi-stage, uncontrolled devices. While single-stage models cannot be adjusted and thus always provide the same output, multi-stage models have a controller for usually three output levels. The functioning of the three types of heating pumps looks different. Depending on what you particularly value, one may be more suitable for you than the other. Therefore, in the following section we will present all three in more detail and show you their respective advantages and disadvantages.

What distinguishes an uncontrolled heating pump and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The uncontrolled heating pump is either single-stage or can be manually adjusted to different stages. It is therefore very simple to use. This type is not only the simplest, but also the oldest among heating pumps. For this reason, it can be found in many buildings, although single-stage, uncontrolled pumps may no longer be sold today.

Advantages
  • Already present in many buildings
  • Cheap to buy
  • Easy to use
Disadvantages
  • Cannot be adjusted at all or only roughly in stages
  • Consumes energy continuously
  • High electricity costs
  • Higher CO2 emissions

Since it cannot be adjusted at all or only very roughly, it usually consumes much more energy than is actually needed. The uncontrolled heating pump thus causes high electricity costs and higher CO2 emissions.

What are the characteristics of a controlled heating pump and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

With an electronically controlled heating pump, the pump capacity adjusts automatically to the current demand. Today, these pumps have long been standard. Due to the automatic regulation, they are significantly more environmentally friendly and efficient than the uncontrolled models.

Advantages
  • Output is electronically regulated
  • More efficient than unregulated models
  • Low electricity costs compared to unregulated models
Disadvantages
  • Often more expensive to buy
  • Not as economical as high-efficiency pumps

You can save a lot of electricity costs with them. This means that the higher purchase price is quickly offset.

What distinguishes a high-efficiency pump and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The high-efficiency pump is an even more efficient and energy-saving variant. It optimally adjusts the output based on recorded data such as the water pressure. Even though they are more expensive to buy, these models pay for themselves through the particularly low electricity costs. In addition, a subsidy of 30 % can be applied for from the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control.

Advantages
  • Particularly efficient and energy-saving
  • Lower electricity costs
  • Eligible for subsidies from the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control
Disadvantages
  • More expensive to purchase
  • Hydraulic balancing is recommended

When a high-efficiency pump is installed, hydraulic balancing, i.e. optimising the water flow in the individual parts of the heating system, should be carried out. However, this should be done regularly anyway to ensure efficient heating.

Purchase criteria: You can compare and evaluate heating pumps based on these factors

In the following section we will show you which factors you should consider when buying a heating pump. We have compiled an overview of these purchase criteria so that you can see them all at a glance.

Purchase criterion Description
Energy efficiency To buy a model that is as energy-saving and environmentally friendly as possible, you should pay attention to the energy efficiency. It is divided into classes between A and G, whereby there are now also the additional labels A+, A++ and A+++ for particularly economical appliances.
Delivery head The delivery head is usually given in metres, but is not an indication of length. It indicates the pressure with which the heating pump transports the water.
Power The max. electrical power is given in watts. The required value depends on how many radiators you have in your house. Modern devices adjust their output to the current demand.
Temperature range This value indicates the water temperature that the heating water may have in order to be transported by the heating pump.
Installation length The installation length describes the entire length of the pump. Lengths of 130 and 180 mm are common.
Connection thread The pump is screwed to the pipes via the connection thread. The size of the pump thread and the size for the intended pipe are specified here.

In the following, we explain to you exactly what is important for the respective criteria. On this basis, you can compare and evaluate the different heating pumps when buying. In the following, we will explain to you exactly what is important for the respective criteria. On this basis, you can compare and evaluate the different heating pumps when buying. In the following, we will explain to you exactly what is important for the respective criteria. On this basis, you can compare and evaluate the different heating pumps when buying.

Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency is one of the most important purchase criteria, because when buying a new heating pump you should make sure to buy an energy-saving model.

Especially if you want to apply for a subsidy from the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control, you must pay special attention to energy efficiency when buying.

Although the energy consumption labels are only compulsory for large electrical appliances, many manufacturers also give these values for heating pumps. The information classifies the appliances according to certain criteria with the letters A to G. The A stands for an energy-efficient appliance. A stands for an energy-efficient appliance. In the meantime, there are also other labels up to A+++ for particularly economical appliances. For some years now, according to the European Ecodesign Directive, no heating pump with insufficient energy efficiency may be sold. This directive refers to an energy efficiency index that must not exceed a value of 0.23.

Subsidy level

Another important factor when buying a heating pump is the maximum delivery head. It is usually specified in metres or metres of water column. This value does not indicate how large the house or the height between the boiler and the radiator may be. The delivery head describes the pressure with which the heating water is moved through the pump. The delivery head of your heating pump depends on the size of your heating system. For example, if you want to transport the heating water over a height of 10 metres, a pressure of approximately one bar is required. However, if you are unsure about the actual delivery height you need for your house, it is best to consult a heating specialist.

Output

The maximum output of the unit is given in watts. The output of your heating pump depends entirely on how great the demand is in your house - i.e. how many radiators need to be supplied with heating water. Approximately, you can calculate a power of one to two watts per radiator. Modern devices, such as controlled heating pumps and high-efficiency pumps, always adjust their output to the current demand.

Temperature range

In most cases, the range in which the temperature of the heating water may be is indicated on the devices. As a rule, this temperature range does not differ or differs only slightly between the individual pumps. By default, most heating pumps can transport heating water between 2 and 95 degrees Celsius. However, some modern devices can also transport hotter liquids, although this is rarely needed.

Installation length

The installation length is the length of the pump. If you want to replace your existing heating pump with a new model without any problems, the installation length of the devices should not differ greatly. Most models have an installation length of 130 or 180 mm. So it should not be difficult for you to find the right device for your needs.

Connection thread

The connection thread connects the pump to the pipes of the heating system. Two values are given here:

  • Size of the pump thread: This indicates how large the thread of the pump itself is.
  • Thread size for the pipe: This value indicates how large the connection is for the intended pipe. This is the nominal size.

You should therefore pay particular attention to the second value so that your new heating pump also fits your pipes.

Facts worth knowing about the topic of heating pumps

Where and how do I install a heating pump?

To ensure that the heating pump runs efficiently, you should install it safely and correctly. There are a few things and steps you need to take into account. First of all, it is important where the heating pump is installed. This can be either in the flow or in the return of your heating system. However, it is common to install the pump in the flow. In addition, the suction side of the unit should be placed close to the expansion tank of the heating system.

It is best to have the new pump installed by a specialist. For one thing, they know exactly what is important when working with power lines. For another, installation by a professional is a prerequisite for receiving funding from the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control.

If an old pump is to be replaced with a new unit, the following must first be observed:

  • Switch off the power and remove the electrical cables
  • Check activity of the pump
  • Close water pipes in both directions
  • Loosen the screws of the old pump and remove the pump
  • clean the thread of the pipes if necessary

The actual installation of the heating pump can then begin. This should proceed as follows:

  1. Grease: The threads can each be prepared with water grease before inserting the pump so that the screw connection can also be easily loosened again later.
  2. Insert: The new pump is inserted into the free space between the pipes.
  3. Screwing: The threaded screws are screwed tight at both ends.
  4. Connect the power: When the pump is mounted, the electrical cables can be connected. This supplies the heating pump with power.
  5. Opening the flow and return: The water pipes can be turned back on in both directions.
  6. insulate if necessary: With some models, insulation shells are already included in the purchase. These can be fitted around the pump.

Although these steps do not sound very difficult and can certainly be carried out by non-professionals, you should still hire a professional installer. He can also carry out a hydraulic balancing at the same time, so that your heating system works as efficiently as possible. To give you a better insight into how a professional installs or replaces a heating pump, we have selected a suitable video for you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPmV2kWD2dY

How do I set the heating pump correctly?

The heating pump should be set appropriately so that it does not consume an unnecessary amount of electricity. Controlled pumps and modern high-efficiency pumps automatically adjust their output according to current demand. They do not have to be set to a specific level. Multi-stage heating pumps can usually be easily set to three output levels with a lever or a small disc. The level to which you should set the pump depends entirely on your individual needs and the heating system. For normal consumption in a single-family house, the second stage should be sufficient. In addition, the setting can also be adjusted in summer and at night. Since you probably don't heat much or at all in summer, when temperatures are usually higher, the heating pump can be switched off here. On nights that are not too cold, the output can be set lower and the pump can also be switched off. Of course, you can also ask a professional to help you adjust your heating pump. They can, for example, also carry out a hydraulic balancing and adjust the pump optimally based on this.

How do I bleed a heating pump?

Since no heating system is absolutely airtight, air can get in over time and reduce the performance. This also affects the heating pump, which is why it must be bled occasionally.

It is best to get the help of a professional, especially for bleeding older pumps, because hot water can come out! So you can easily injure yourself as a layman.

Modern high-efficiency pumps usually have an automatic bleeding programme. Here you can simply follow the steps in the operating instructions of the unit to carry out the bleeding. Older pumps usually have a screw on the front that can be loosened with an appropriate screwdriver. However, the screw should not be turned completely out of the thread and absolute care must be taken not to scald yourself. Some water should come out and the air should escape.

What should I do if my heating pump makes loud noises?

It is not unusual for the heating pump to make some noise, especially with older units. A slight humming noise is usually no cause for concern. However, if the heating pump makes loud noises, this can be an indication of a problem. You should definitely investigate this. If the built-in pump is larger than needed or has too much power, this can cause noises. Solutions to this problem are hydraulic balancing or a new pump. However, you should check individually what the reason for the noises is and ask a professional for advice if necessary.

Image source: Emevil/ 123rf.com

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