AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMPS

If you are looking for a renewable way to heat your home and produce hot water, you might want to consider installing an air source heat pump. In some cases, these can completely replace your existing central heating system on a like for like basis, or they can form part of a wider remodelling or retrofitting process.

They are also a popular consideration for new-build properties, especially as the government and homeowners are becoming more conscious about reducing carbon emissions and the impact of heating on the environment.

Essentially, an air source heat pump transfers heat from air outside the property to the water in a central heating system. This is a method of providing heating and hot water that does not rely on burning fossil fuels, and when powered by renewable electricity, it can reduce your carbon footprint as well as your energy bills.

How Does an Air Source Heat Pump Work?

The heat pump unit resembles an air conditioning unit and is positioned on the outside of the property. This collects warmth from the air outside, and heats up a liquid refrigerant, which is further heated through compression using electricity. This liquid is passed through radiators and underfloor heating systems to release the heat stored, and the excess is sent to be stored in a hot water cylinder to provide hot water for taps, showers, and baths.

While the external unit needs a little bit of space around it for air to properly circulate, it can be placed around the home in the most appropriate position. You can have a monobloc system, which is the typical set up that you might recognize, where the unit outside resembles an air con unit; this sends hot water to the property, and you just need to add a hot water cylinder.

Some homeowners might choose a split system, which works best if there is some distance between the external unit and the property. With this system you will also need an internal heat exchanger as well as a hot water cylinder.

Are Air Source Heat Pumps better than Ground Source Heat Pumps?

While both air source and ground source heat pumps are broadly similar in the way they heat your home (the only difference is where the heat comes from in the first place), for most people air source heat pumps are the most appropriate renewable energy solution.

Ground source heat pumps are very costly to install, and they need a lot of space to work effectively. For a 3–4-bedroom house, you will need two trenches at least 30-40m long – which is just not feasible for most people.

However, the external (and even internal) units used in an air source heat pump installation are considerably smaller. They are also much less disruptive to install; no digging required, and you do not need to worry about allowing access for digging machinery.

The other difference is the cost of the installation. Most air source heat pump set ups cost about £14,000 to complete – and you might be eligible for a £7,500 grant towards the cost of installation thanks to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) from the government.

The reason that people do still choose the ground source heat pump, however, is that it is more reliable in producing consistent amounts of heat without any of the fluctuations that you can get with an air source heat pump, especially in the winter. Remember, however, that the air source heat pump is designed to work with the great British weather.

How much does it cost to install an Air Source Heat Pump?

The other difference is the cost of the installation. Most air source heat pump set ups cost about £14,000 to complete – and you might be eligible for a £7,500 grant towards the cost of installation thanks to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) from the government.

This cost will be offset by the savings you might make on your energy bills, although the exact figures will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • How well insulated your home is
  • Whether you are sending the heated fluid to radiators or underfloor heating systems

All things considered, for many people installing an air source heat pump is a good replacement for outdated gas boilers and is a more economical option than a ground source heat pump. If you are still unsure or you would like to discuss your options, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Renewables team on 01280 822111 or by email on [email protected].