Air Source Heat Pumps to Keep You Warm

Keep warm this winter with a Heat Pump Do you spend thousands of pounds every winter on LPG, oil or electric for heating? An air source heat pump (ASHP) could have the perfect solution to save you money while keeping you warm. ASHP's work by drawing in the cold air from outside via a quiet…

Keep warm this winter with a Heat Pump

Do you spend thousands of pounds every winter on LPG, oil or electric for heating? An air source heat pump (ASHP) could have the perfect solution to save you money while keeping you warm.

ASHP's work by drawing in the cold air from outside via a quiet fan. Energy is extracted from the air by the system's heat exchanger. It will then convert this energy to heat your home. Due to their short, straight forward installation, this type of heat pump can be used with existing heating system in your home as well as for new build housing. What's more, they will generate energy all year round and do not rely on light or wind to work.

A typical ASHP is 300% efficient. This means for every one kilowatt (kW) of electricity it uses, it will generate 3kW of energy. With a solar PV installation, this will become even more efficient as you are generating free electricity for the heat pump to use to convert air into heat.

Renewable heat premium payment (RHPP)

If you have your ASHP installed before the 31st March 2013, you will receive a grant from the government to help towards the cost for the system. The grant depends on your current fuel for heating, if you do not have mains gas you can apply for a grant of £ 850 towards your system. The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is similar to the solar Feed-in Tariff (FiT) and in its consultation period, any system installed after 15th July 2009 is eligible for this incentive, we will update you on this as soon as further information is released.

Is an air source heat pump right for me?

It is important to consider the following when deciding to install an ASHP to ensure it is the right solution for your home and will bring you more benefits than expenses.

  • You will need a place outside your home for the heat pump to be fitted to a wall or placed on the ground. Ideally the unit will be placed in a sunny area.
  • It is essential that your home is well insulated and draft-proofed for the heat pump to be effective as they work best when producing heat at a lower temperature compared to traditional boilers.
  • If you are replacing an electricity, coal, oil or LPG heating system, you will achieve a faster return on investment on your air source heat pump. Although if you are connected to mains gas, it will take significantly longer for the system to pay for itself, and therefore may not be the best option.
  • If you have an underfloor heating system or warm air heating, your air source heat pump will perform better because of the lower water temperatures required.
  • If you combine the heat pump installation with other building work such as a new build property or an extension on your existing property, this can reduce the cost of installing the system .

Alternatives to Air Source Heat Pumps

If an ASHP is not the correct solution for your home there are several alternatives for you to provide heating, hot water, generate electricity, earn an additional income or to become more environmentally friendly.

Solar Thermal

Solar thermal or solar hot water provides up to 60% of your annual hot water usage. It requires a solar thermal collector to be installed on your roof; the size of the system will vary depending on the number of people living at your home. This system is less expensive than a heat pump but it only provides hot water and will not heat your home.

Solar Panels (Solar PV)

The most popular form of renewable energy, this will generate “free” clean electricity from daylight and earn an income from the feed-in tariff, currently this is 15.44 pence per kilowatt hour (kWh) generated and an additional 4.5 pence per kWh that you export back to the national grid, these payments are guaranteed for 20 years and increase with inflation. The cost of Solar PV systems has significantly dropped over the last year making it an affordable option and should be considered to be installed in conjunction to an air source heat pump to make it even more efficient.

Wind Turbines

Wind turbines are significantly more expensive compared to other renewable energy systems; they require large areas of land and are subject to planning permission. If you have the land and capital of the initial outlay, a wind turbine is definitely worth consideration as a small wind turbine can generate enough electricity to cover your annual usage. You will also receive 21 pence per kWh of electricity that you generate.

Ground Source Heat Pump

This is the same concept as an air source heat pump to heat your home from natural resources, although this solution is significantly more expensive as it requires pipes to be laid on a large area of ​​land horizontally or for a well to be extracted for the pipe vertically. This will extract heat from the ground and achieves even higher efficiencies than the air source heat pump.