Air Source Heat-Pumps
Heat pumps are one of the most Eco friendly ways to heat your home.
The cost of running an air source heat pump to heat your home is much less than the cost of doing so using oil, LPG, or conventional electric heating.
Heat pumps are fairly new to the UK but they have been utilised in Scandinavian countries for years. They offer a very effective way of reducing your heating costs, every 1kW that you spend on electricity, the pump can generate between 2 to 5kW of heat (essentially it is 200-500% efficient). This is impressive given that most modern high-efficiency boilers have an efficiency of around 95%
Where do air source heat pumps work best?
Heat pumps make the most financial sense in properties which are off the gas grid and which therefore use expensive fuels like electricity, oil, LPG or coal for space heating.
If you’re connected to mains gas, then you’ll probably be better off with gas central heating.
A well insulated home with high standards of air-tightness is also preferable. This is because heat pumps are most effective in homes which warm up quickly and are good at keeping heat in.
Heating systems powered by heat pumps operate at a lower temperature than traditional heating systems, so they need a distribution system that delivers heat over a larger surface area.
Radiators connected to heat-pump systems tend to be big, but not very hot whilst Underfloor heating systems work particularly well with a heat pump.
In all cases, improving the eneregy efficiency of your home first will help you reduce your heating needs and in turn enable you to run a smaller and cheaper heat pump.
If you are heating the hot water by an air source heat pump then a hot water cylinder designed for heat pumps will be needed which will be located inside the building.
Finally, bear in mind that whilst the outside unit itself doesn’t take up a lot of space, they need to be positioned somewhere with adequate air flow.
How does an air source heatpump work?
To Produce heat and hot water for your home, Air Source Heat Pumps work on the same principles as a household refrigerator but the technology is used in the opposite way.
Air source heat pumps use a fan to draw the outside air across an evaporator. The refrigeration liquid in the evaporator boils into a gas which is then compressed to produce a higher temperature typically between 35 – 60ºC .
This heat is used to heat your property and provide hot water. Once the useful heat has been extracted through a heat exchanger the refrigeration gas condenses back into a liquid to start the cycle again.
This might sound impossible during the winter months, but the refrigerant in a heat pump boils at between -15ºC and -30ºC there is always energy to be extracted from the air regardless of the weather!
The benefits of air source heat pumps
Lower fuel bills, especially if you are replacing conventional electric heating
potential income through the UK government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) - More information
lower home carbon emissions, depending on which fuel you are replacing
no fuel deliveries needed
minimal maintenance required
Integration with other energy sources
As with most renewable technologies, air source heat pumps are able to integrate with other technologies:
Solar Thermal - Solar Thermal may provide all your domestic hot water needs during summer removing the need to run the heat pump at all, and so saving yourself the cost of the electricity.
Hybrid System - A hybrid heat pump system integrates with your existing heating system working in tandem with a traditional gas or oil boiler to create a dual fuel system.
Solar PV - Solar PV is the perfect combination for a Heat Pump as the electric generated from the PV Panels will help to power the Heat Pump.