Air Source Heat Pumps: Cost, Efficiency & How They Work

Find out how ASHPs work and if they are a cost effective solution for you. Air source heat pumps are a great solution for many homes in the UK. They are environmentally friendly and operate converting solar energy from the air into energy used to heat your house.

Domestic air heat pumps gaining popularity due to their affordability and eco-friendly qualities. The prices usually range from £9,000 to £13,000 including the installation costs. There are several factors that can influence the cost, such as the size of the house, level of insulation, brand and size of the pump as well as the efficiency of performance.

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How Air Source Heat Pumps Work

ASHPs, operate using air as the heat source. To produce energy, they use the warmth from the outside air and convert it into heat.

There are two types of ASHPs: air-to-air and air-to-water heat pumps. Depending on the type, the produced heat can be used for an underfloor system, radiators, to warm air heaters and to heat water. An air source heat pump can also serve as an air conditioner.

An air-to-water heat pump uses the central heating system to circulate heat via the radiators around your house. With this type of a heat pump, you will be able to heat your living area as well as water.

Air source pumps are more energy-efficient in temperate and warmer climates. Although, they are also cost-effective in areas with a colder climate. They can absorb heat from the air even if the temperature outside is down to -20 degrees Celsius below zero, similar to a thermodynamic water heating system.

ASHPs run on electricity and they do affect the environment. However, the heat that is being absorbed from the air is renewable. For this reason, this type of heat pump is a reasonably environmentally friendly solution.

Air source heat pumps are an efficient solution if you are looking for a heating system that will help you reduce your running costs as well as reduce your impact on mother nature. It is possible to combine your heat pump with a solar panel which will generate the electricity for the pump’s operation.

The Advantages

If you are considering installation of an air source heat pump, you can benefit from its multiple advantages:

  • ASHPs are affordable and easy to install.
  • They are environmentally friendly since they produce a low level of carbon emissions.
  • They are very efficient  as they can produce three times more heat from every watt used.
  • The running costs of air based heat pumps is very reasonable.
  • The SEAI has grants that you can avail of to significantly reduce purchasing and installation costs.

The Disadvantages

With all the benefits of this type of heat pumps, there are also some disadvantages to them that you should keep in mind:

  • The water produced from the condensed air can sometimes freeze and form ice at low temperatures. It can interrupt the flow of the heat.
  • The outside fan can produce some noise. Although, the level of noise can be reduced with pumps of higher quality.
  • Compared to regular heating systems, the water temperature produced by the heat pumps can be a little lower.
  • It is essential to install a heat pump of the right size which suits the requirements of your household. Otherwise, the efficiency can be lower.

However, you can easily avoid these problems if you use professional help while planning and installing an air-source heat pump. It is also essential to maintain the device properly. With proper maintenance, you can receive up to 25% more energy savings. Maintaining the heat pumps can be time-consuming and expensive, but in the long run, it will fully pay for itself since your energy costs and operating expenses will be significantly reduced.

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The Cost of ASHPs

The average prices for a new installation can vary between £9,000 and £13,000. The price range is so wide because of the variety of factors that influence it. There are different brands and types of air based heat pumps and the size of the system and its efficiency can also influence the price.

If you are planning to invest in a new heating system, you should remember that the installation can be expensive and you may need to upgrade your home insulation to make it worthwhile.

The installation and operating expenses can be difficult to anticipate. Such factors as the household size, home insulation, and the desired temperature can influence the price.

ASHPs are highly beneficial due to their efficiency and at the same time affordable. Compared to condensing boilers, they are a little more expensive but compared to ground source heat pumps they are far cheaper coming in at around 50% of the price.

The Savings

Due to the efficient nature of the system, you can save a substantial amount on your yearly bill, depending on your current heating system of course.

The Higher the Efficiency Is, the More Money Saved

The coefficient of performance or COP is used to measure efficiency of heat pumps. It represents the maximum level of efficiency which can be produced and the COP of air-source heat-pumps comes in somewhere between 2 and 4. But in more modern systems, a COP of 5 can be reached.

The COP indicates the number of kilowatts of heat produced by one kilowatt of electricity. If the COP is four, it means that it can produce four kilowatts of heat. It implies that you will get four times more heat out of the system than you would while using an electrical heating system.

The typical COP of a new system is 3.2 provided the outside temperature is around 7 degrees Celsius. The average temperature in most parts of the UK is between 5 and 8 degrees, from November to April. So, the official estimates are a pretty good guide.

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Some Considerations Before Buying Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are a good investment. However, if you are planning on buying one, there are a few factors that you’ll have to take into consideration.

First thing you should keep in mind is space. For this system, it is necessary that there is good flow of air around the outside unit. A sunny wall is probably the best place to install an ASHP.

You’ll also have to make sure that your house is well insulated. A good building seal with ample roof insulation will ensure that no heat is wasted.

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Get A Quote

If your decision is final and you are sure that an air source heat pump is a great and eco-friendly solution for your house, you will need to get the right offer that will meet your requirements.