An air source heat pump (ASHP) warms up a refrigerant gas using a fan to extract the heat of the outside air. The refrigerant is then compressed. This is the same principles used in a standard fridge or freezer, just in reverse.
This process rapidly raises the refrigerant to a temperature that is suitable for use within the home. The heat is transferred into the water which is then used to heat radiators, underfloor or warm air heating systems and hot water.
Air source heat pumps usually sits outside your property, although models are available which can be installed internally and ducted to outside. Air source heat pumps can extract heat from the outside air even at temperatures as low as -20°C. In fact, there is still energy in the air down to as low as −273.15 °C, which is the definition of absolute zero ( 0°K). Thankfully, the climate in the UK means we do not need to test this theory out, but you can rest assured that an air source heat pump will work all year round.
The Benefits of an Air Source Heat Pump
Low Running Costs
Air source heat pumps are very efficient, anywhere between 280-400%, so for every £1 spent on electricity, you’ll receive up to £4 worth of heat energy back.
Lower Carbon Emissions
The energy absorbed from the air is 100% renewable and carbon free, meaning you could lower your carbon footprint by over 75%
No Fuel Deliveries
Unlike oil or LPG, there are no fuel deliveries required, and no ugly tanks or bottle to hide. You’ll never have to worry about running out of fuel again.
Heat Your Home & Hot Water
Correctly specified air source heat pumps can provide 100% of your heating and hot water needs, all year round. For larger buildings you can also use them in conjunction with a traditional boiler.
Eligible for Financial Support
Most air source heat pump installations are eligible for Renewable Heat Incentive payments, currently 10.02p per kWh of renewable heat production. This is only available to installations completed by an MCS accredited installer once an MCS certificate has been issued.
There is very little maintenance required for air source heat pumps although an annual inspection is required in order to meet the RHI requirements.
Things to Consider
Siting your heat pump
Air source heat pumps sit outside and need a clear space without obstruction. Whilst the heat pumps we specify are some of the quietest available today, you may need to consider its proximity to any neighbouring properties to avoid it becoming a nuisance.
Underfloor heating is an ideal combination due to the lower operating temperatures associated with heat pumps. Although heat pumps also work very well with radiators, you may need to replace some for larger ones in order for the system to operate as efficiently as possible.
Heat pumps require DNO approval to ensure that the electricity grid is capable of providing the electricity you need to run a heat pump. This is rarely a problem but if you have a large house in a remote location, it is worth considering at an early stage.
The typical cost of an air source heat pump installation using high-quality products a new hot water cylinder and all associated equipment, including installation is between £7,000 – £12,000.