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Air source heat pumps work by absorbing heat from the air outside your home. This heat energy can be used to heat your water and provide this to your radiators, underfloor heating systems and warm air convectors in your home.

Air source heat pumps extract heat from the outside air in the exact same that a refrigerator will extract heat from its interior and can even pull heat from the air with temperatures as low as -15­°C. Although they aren’t as eco-friendly as other renewable energy sources due to the fact they require electricity to run, but the heat that they gather is constantly being renewed naturally.

LG ThermaV Air Source Heat Pump

What are the benefits of air source heat pumps?

  • Reduce your fuel bills, especially if you are planning on replacing a conventional method like electric heating
  • Receive income through the governments Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
  • Low your carbon emissions (dependent on the type of fuel that you are replacing)
  • No fuel deliveries are required
  • Can be used to heat your home as well as heating your water
  • Very little maintenance is required
  • Often much easier to install and maintain than a ground source heat pump
  • Delivers heat at a much lower temperature over longer periods of time unlike traditional gas and oil boilers

During the winter they may require being on constantly to effectively heat your home due to needing to pull heat from a lower temperature. Sometimes you will also notice that your radiators aren’t as hot to touch as they are with a traditional boiler and central heating system.

How do air source heat pumps work?

Air source heat pumps work by absorbing heat at lower temperatures and condensing or cooling it to its liquid form. The liquid then passes through a compressor where the temperature is raised to be transferred around the house via the heating system and hot water circuits already in place.

Air source heat pumps come in two main types;

Air to Water Systems

Air to water systems distribute heat via your central heating system. These work much more efficiently than traditional boiler systems would at their lower operating systems and makes them much more suitable for underfloor heating systems and larger radiators.

Air to Air Systems

Air to air systems produce heated air which is then recirculated using fans to heat your home. While these can operate as an adequate source of heating for your home, they’re incredibly unlikely to be able to provide you with hot water in addition to heating.

System maintenance

Air source heat pump systems usually come with a warranty of two or three years, with workmanship warranties extending this up to 10 years (although many manufacturers also offer warranty extension options for an additional fee). With regular maintenance, you can expect your ASHP to operate for around 20 years and in some cases even longer. A routine check by yourself on a yearly basis and a more thorough and in depth check by a professional every 3 to 5 years should suffice for this.

Your installer should keep and leave written details of any maintenance checks that you should be taking to ensure that everything is working correctly. On a yearly basis, you will be advised to carry out a yearly check on the air inlets and evaporator to make sure that they are free of leaves and other debris, as well as removing any plants that have started or continued to grow near the pump. You may also be advised to check you central heating pressure gauge from time to time and to use anti-freeze to prevent the ASHP from freezing over during winter.

How much can you save?

How much you are likely to save will be fully dependent on the system that you currently use, as well as the system that you plan on replacing it with. This will be affected by factors such as;

  • Your heat distribution system: If you can manage to be able to install it, underfloor heating can be much more efficient than radiators are due the water not requiring as much heat, however if this isn’t possible then it is advisable to use the largest radiators that you can.
  • Cost for fuel: Because an air source heat pump still uses electricity to run, you will still need to pay fuel bills, however you will save money on the fuel that you are replacing.
  • Your current heating system: If your current heating system is older than it may be inefficient and you will be likely to see lower running costs with a newer heat pump.
  • Water heating: If your heat pump is being used to provide hot water, this could limit its overall efficiency levels. You may want to consider solar water heating as am additional option to provide hot water during the summer months and keep your ASHP efficiency high.

Air Source Heat Pumps

Air source heat pump retrofit on cottage renovation
Stylish air source heat pump
Air source heat pump matching building aesthetic

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