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Last updated: 25 March 2021

The Pros and Cons of an Air to Air Heat Pump

Heat Pumps and the Boom of Renewable Energy Sources

The use of renewable energy sources has been in the limelight of the world community for a few years now. Today, these alternative energy technologies have become an integral part of our everyday life, ceasing to be just scientific know-how of the future.

Due to the increasing popularity of renewable energy sources, manufacturers offer a wide variety of environmentally friendly energy solutions such as heat pumps which is a great alternative source for heating your home. Air source heat pumps hold a massive share of 87% of all heat pumps installed in the UK. They're the most popular choice as they are very suitable for new builds and retrofits.

From solar panels and photovoltaics to condensing boilers and heat pumps, one has the freedom to decide which of these renewable technologies will better meet his/her household’s energy needs and will not place additional strains on the foreseen budget. 

If you are curious to know how much any of these renewable energy solutions will cost you, you are welcome to submit a contact form with your preferences. We will get in touch with you as soon as possible for further information and will connect you with our qualified suppliers, for free. The service is without obligation.

Information About Air to Air Heat Pumps

Most of the major corporations that are engaged in the production and development of air ventilation and air conditioning systems are also producing devices capable of operating in a heating mode, devices that became known as air source heat pumps. Among these, the air to air heat pumps enjoy special interest, mainly due to the ease of operation, and relatively low operational as well as installation costs. Namely, this is the appliance we chose to focus our attention on in the following lines, by addressing the advantages and disadvantages one shall be aware of when looking for an air to air heating system.

How Air to Air Heat Pumps Work

In short, air to air heat pumps operate under the same principle the air conditioners do, the only difference, and a decisive one is that the former function the other way around in comparison to the latter. The air source heat pumps extract the heat from the outside masses of air and transfer it to the pump’s indoor unit compressor. This process is entirely based on the principle of heat transfer, which is supported by the pump’s refrigerant property to lower the temperature of the air that is passed through the device. Thus, the thermal value of the incoming air is below the ambient temperature level, which leads to the thermal isolation of the air heat. 

The interactive graphic below illustrates how the process works. You can click each point to read about the steps in more detail:

1 1: An outdoor unit draws in heat from the ambient air with fans, and then blows it over a heat exchanger coil. 2 2: The heat is transferred to a cold coolant flowing in the coil. Due to its very low boiling point, the heat only turns the coolant into a slightly warm vapour. 3 3: The slightly warm coolant vapour passes through a compressor that increases its temperature and compresses it to a denser vapour. 4 4: This hot coolant vapour is then transferred to the indoor unit(s) through internal piping systems. 5 5: The indoor unit blows out the heat from the coolant to the indoor air with fans, thereby warming up the room. 6 6: Once the coolant has transferred some of its heat to the air, it cools back into a liquid. 7 7: The liquid coolant passes through an expansion valve, which forces it to let go of more of its heat and mix with air, thereby creating a liquid vapour mixture. 8 8: The cold liquid vapour coolant mixture is then circulated back to the outdoor unit, to be heated again.
ASHP for Heating

The result of the subsequent compression is a rapid rise in the coolant (refrigerant) temperature, thereby creating ideal conditions for transferring the generated heat energy to the room. A cyclical repetition of the above-described process is carried out, which ensures that the heat coming from the outside air is transferred to the room that requires heating, thus providing a cost-efficient and an environmentally friendly way to warm up your property.

Pros and Cons of Using an Air to Air Heat Pump

Like every universal air heating or air conditioning system, the air to air heat pump has its advantages and disadvantages that we will be covering next.

Pros and Cons of Air Source Heat Pumps

Advantages of an Air to Air Heat Pump

  • Air to air heat pumps are universal in terms of providing heating during the cold season and air cooling during the hot days of the summer.
  • Low installation costs. There is no need to drill boreholes or use expensive equipment in order to install an air to air heat pump.
  • These pumps possess a significant heat transfer capacity.
  • There is no need to install complex heat distribution systems, like radiators or underfloor heating.
  • The ease of use is ensured by autonomous climate control thermostats, that automatically monitor the pump’s functioning parameters.
  • The pump’s overall costs (installation and operational costs) shall not exceed the levels a person with an average income would be comfortable with.
  • Air to air heat pumps are highly efficient, with their seasonal efficiency rating (SCOP) reaching 3.0-4.0, meaning that for every 1 kW of electricity 3 to 4 kW of heat is generated.
  • The pump’s background noise is insignificant and thus does not represent an annoyance factor for people who will find themselves in the same room with the pump’s indoor unit.
  • Air to air heat pumps has no impact on the room’s indoor climate.
  • Heating your property by means of an air source heat pump is environmentally friendly. The heat pump does not release any harmful gases or components into the atmosphere.
  • Any air source heat pump is great for retrofits.

Further Considerations Regarding Heat Pumps

Despite the impressive list of benefits, air to air heat pumps bear a number of disadvantages as well:

  • The air to air heat pump performance is dependent on the outside air temperatures.
  • When the ambient temperature levels are down to -10 degrees Celsius and below, the pump’s electric power consumption rate increases, in order to ensure the optimal operation of the heat pump.
  • Due to the constant movement of air from one medium to another, the pump also moves the dust contained in the air.

Get Quotes on Air to Air Heat Pumps!

If you have decided to purchase an air source heat pump, but you are not sure which type you would like, we are ready to help you. Fill out the form on this page with your personal preferences and information, and we will provide you with up to four different suppliers of heat pumps. You are free to choose the offer that best suits your needs. The service is free, without obligation, and takes only a few minutes.

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Aris Vourvoulias
Written by Aris Vourvoulias, Head of Content

Aris Vourvoulias is the Head of Content in GreenMatch. Aris is a passionate author and marketer with an educational background in journalism. He continuously writes, reviews, and educates himself in the areas of business, finance, and renewable energy. He has managerial experience in many European markets, including UK, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. He and his content team have been featured on reputable sites like GreenPeace, Guardian, iNews, Gizmodo, and more