An air source heat pump absorbs heat from the outside air, even when outside temperatures are as low as minus 15ºC. Heat from the air is absorbed into a fluid which is pumped through a heat exchanger in the heat pump. This heat is used to heat radiators, underfloor heating systems and hot water in your home.
There are two types of air source heat pumps;
- 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.
The benefits of air source heat pumps
- Can lower fuel bills, especially if you are using conventional electric heating.
- Can reduce your carbon footprint: heat pumps can lower your home’s carbon emissions, depending on which fuel you are replacing.
- Can provide space heating and hot water
- It’s often classed as a ‘fit and forget’ technology because it needs little maintenance.
- Can be easier to install than a ground source heat pump, but efficiencies can be lower.
Costs and Savings
Costs for installing a system suitable for a detached house range from £6,000 to £ 10,000 including installations and running cost will depend on the size of your home and how well insulated it is.
Savings are hard to specify it all depends on the previous system that was installed, how high your temperature settings are and the fuel that is used to power the pump. There are grater savings if a heat source pump is used for underfloor heating than radiators as the water does not have to be heated to such high temperatures, also if using it to heat water as well as heating this can lower the system efficiency.
To see how efficient these systems are there is a report on the Energy Savings Trust that tested the systems in a range of environments, Getting warmer: a field trial of heat pumps.