Air source heat pumps absorb heat from the outside air. This heat can then be used to heat radiators, underfloor heating systems, or warm air convectors and hot water in your home.
An air source heat pump extracts heat from the outside air in the same way that a fridge extracts heat from its inside. It can get heat from the air even when the temperature is as low as -15° C. Heat pumps have some impact on the environment as they need electricity to run, but the heat they extract from the ground, air, or water is constantly being renewed naturally.
No fuel deliveries needed.
Minimal maintenance required.
Can heat your home and your water.
Lower fuel bills, especially if you are replacing conventional electric heating.
Potential income through the UK government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
Lower home carbon emissions, depending on which fuel you are replacing.
Can be easier to install than a Ground Source Heat Pump.
Because heat pumps are so much more efficient, they cost only around a third as much to run as electric heating and about half as much as oil.
You will still have to pay some fuel costs because the pump is powered by electricity. These costs are small compared to the savings.
Heat pumps produce more energy as heat than they use as electricity, so their efficiency is more than 100%.
How They Work
Heat from the air is absorbed at low temperature into a fluid. This fluid then passes through a compressor where its temperature is increased, and transfers its higher temperature heat to the heating and hot water circuits of the house. There are two main types of air source heat pump system:
- An air-to-water system distributes heat via your wet central heating system. Heat pumps work much more efficiently at a lower temperature than a standard boiler system would. So they are more suitable for under-floor heating systems or larger radiators, which give out heat at lower temperatures over longer periods of time.
- An air-to-air system produces warm air which is circulated by fans to heat your home. They are unlikely to provide you with hot water as well.
There is no need for regular servicing, and because the technology works on similar principles to a fridge, you don’t have the safety issues associated with fossil fuel boilers and there is no need for an annual safety check.
A space of around 1m2 on an external wall. You will also want some space between you and any neighbouring properties.
The closer the source is to where you need the heat, the more efficient your system will be.
Water tank and buffer cylinder
Water-heating systems need space for a water tank, and usually for a small additional buffer cylinder.
As part of our no-obligation review of your site, we provide a plan that makes the best and most cost-effective use of the space you have available, and also takes into account any existing underground piping and cabling.
Is my property suitable?
Heat pump systems don’t rely on any particular weather conditions, so it doesn’t matter where you live. The type of house and heating system are more important.
Heat pumps heat water to a lower temperature than fossil fuel boilers. That makes them particularly suitable for heating well-insulated homes with under-floor heating, or where there are large radiators that work at low temperatures. We can sometimes install systems successfully in buildings without these. We’ll discuss with you what’s possible and, if there is potential, we will carry out a technical survey and tell you what we can do.
What proportion of my heating needs will a heat pump contribute?
100% for a new system in a purpose-designed property. Around 50-60% in an existing building.
Can I use a heat pump with a combi boiler?
Not usually. Call us for advice.
How green are heat pumps?
Heat pumps can reduce carbon emissions compared to gas central heating systems by approximately 50%. These savings are even greater when compared to using oil or electricity. The small carbon cost of using the electrical pump is compensated for many times over by the carbon savings.
Will I need planning permission?
In Wales and Northern Ireland, you need planning permission. In England and Scotland, air source heat pumps now usually count as permitted development and don’t need permission unless the building is listed, or is in a conservation area, area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or national park.
You should always confirm details with your local planning department, just to make sure. We can help you with any planning requirements.
How long will the system last?
An air source system should last 20 years.
Manufacturers’ warranties are typically for five-ten years.
Is there any noise?
Air source units - yes, the external fan does make a small noise. It’s unlikely to be loud enough to cause a problem, assuming the building is double-glazed in line with recommendations for getting the most out of any heat pump system.
How long does it take to install a heat pump?
We can install an air source pump and connect it to your plumbing system within 1-2 days.