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Air Source Heat Pumps provide renewable energy for your home

Air Source Heat Pump installation can save you money on energy bills

Unlike gas and oil boilers, heat pumps deliver heat at lower temperatures over much longer periods. During the winter they may need to be on constantly to heat your home efficiently. You will also notice that radiators won't feel as hot to the touch as they might do when you are using a gas or oil boiler.

How do air source heat pumps 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 underfloor 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.

Is an air source heat pump suitable for me?

To tell if an air source heat pumpis right for you, there are a few key questions to consider:

  • Do you have somewhere to put it? You'll need a place outside your home where a unit can be fitted to a wall or placed on the ground. It will need plenty of space around it to get a good flow of air. A sunny wall is ideal.
  • Is your home well insulated? Since air source heat pumps work best when producing heat at a lower temperature than traditional boilers, it's essential that your home is insulated and draught-proofed well for the heating system to be effective.
  • What fuel will you be replacing? The system will pay for itself much more quickly if it's replacing an electricity or coal heating system. Heat pumps may not be the best option for homes using mains gas.
  • What type of heating system will you use? Air source heat pumps can perform better with underfloor heating systems or warm air heating than with radiator-based systems because of the lower water temperatures required.
  • Is the system intended for a new development? Combining the installation with other building work can reduce the cost of installing the system.
You may also want to consider ground source heat pumps, which use pipes buried in the garden to extract heat from the ground. Or use our Home Energy Generation Selector to find out which means of generating energy might work best for you.

Costs, savings and earnings

Costs

Installing a typical system costs around £6,000 to £10,000. Running costs will vary depending on a number of factors - including the size of your home, and how well insulated it is, and what room temperatures you are aiming to achieve.

Savings

How much you can save will depend on what system you use now, as well as what you are replacing it with. Your savings will be affected by:

  • Your heat distribution system
    If you have the opportunity, underfloor heating can be more efficient than radiators because the water doesn't need to be so hot. If underfloor heating isn't possible, use the largest radiators you can. Your installer should be able to advise on this.
  • Your fuel costs
    You will still have to pay fuel bills with a heat pump because it is powered by electricity, but you will save on the fuel you are replacing. If the fuel you are replacing is expensive you are more likely to make a saving.
  • Your old heating system
    If your old heating system was inefficient, you are more likely to see lower running costs with a new heat pump.
  • Water heating
    If the heat pump is providing hot water then this could limit the overall efficiency. You might want to consider solar water heating to provide hot water in the summer and help keep your heat pump efficiency up.
  • Using the controls
    Learn how to control the system so you can get the most out of it. You will probably need to set the heating to come on for longer hours, but you might be able to set the thermostat lower and still feel comfortable. Your installer should explain to you how to control the system so you can use it most effectively.

Benefits of air source heat pumps

Air source heat pumps (also known as ASHPs):

  • Could lower your fuel bills, especially if you are replacing conventional electric heating
  • Could provide you with an income through the government's Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
  • Could lower your home's carbon emissions, depending on which fuel you are replacing
  • Don't need fuel deliveries
  • Can heat your home and provide and hot water
  • Need little maintenance - they're called 'fit and forget' technology
  • Can be easier to install than a ground source heat pump, though efficiencies may be lower.

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