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Last updated: 24 February 2020

Pros and Cons of Air Source Heat Pumps

Is an Air Source Heat Pump Right for You?

Do you own a gas or electric heating system? Do you receive high energy bills? Have you considered switching to a more eco-friendly source, such as an air source or ground source heat pump? Here you will find information about the real advantages and disadvantages of such a transition.

What Is an Air Source Heat Pump?

An air source heat pump (ASHP) works by transferring heat absorbed from the outside air to an indoor space such as a home or an office via the wet central heating systems to heat radiators and provide domestic hot water. Heat pumps work similarly to a refrigerator: they absorb heat and transfer it to another medium.

Certain air source heat pumps can also work as a cooling system in the summer months. Air source heat pumps are placed outside of a building where there is adequate space.

There are two main types of air source heat pump systems:

  • Air-to-air heat pumps absorb heat from the outside air and then transfer it directly into your home via a fan system to heat a room.
  • Air-to-water heat pumps absorb heat from the outside air and then transfer it via your central heating system to provide both hot water heating and radiator or underfloor heating for an indoor space.

Advantages of Air Source Heat Pumps

The most important advantages of purchasing an air source heat pump are the following:

  • Heat pumps have a low carbon footprint
  • Air source heat pumps can be powered by wind or solar energy instead of electricity from the grid
  • An air source heat pump can extract heat from the ambient air even at a lower temperatures, down to -20°C. What is more, heat pumps are known to work efficiently in severely cold countries such as Canada. Success stories reveal an air-to-air heat pump can generate 40°C heat in outside temperatures as low as -30°C.
  • You could receive payments by generating your own heat through the Renewable Heat Incentive
  • ASHP systems can heat hot water for immediate or later use
  • Save more on your next energy bill
  • They have a long lifespan with proper care they can be operational for up to 20 years
  • It only requires a few days to install air source heat pump
  • They should be cleaned every few months and serviced by a technician only once a year
  • They can provide cooling in the summer and heating in the winter, depending on the model
  • No fuel storage is needed
  • Efficient both in winter and summer thanks to ASHP's outstanding SCOP (seasonal coefficient of performance)

Pros and Cons of Air Source Heat Pumps

Disadvantages of Air Source Heat Pumps

The main air source heat pumps disadvantages are as follows:

  • This type of heating lowers the heat supply compared to oil and gas boilers, so larger radiators might be needed
  • They perform better with underfloor heating or warm air heating
  • If you have access to low-price mains gas, the savings might be lower than compared to oil or electric boilers
  • They need electricity to run the energy-efficient fan and compressor
  • You would need a well-insulated home to reap the highest energy savings benefits
  • Air source heat pumps can be somewhat noisy when they are running, comparable to a regular air conditioner or light to heavy rain.
  • They are less efficient in winter than at temperatures above 0°C

What to Take Into Account Before Installing an ASHP

When thinking about installing air source heat pumps, one must consider two main factors:

  • Costs: The cost of installing an air source heat pump is usually between £3,000- £11,000. Additional costs may be incurred depending on the chosen system type (air-to-air or air-to-water), the size of your property, your specific requirements.
  • Insulation: To have a high returns in terms of saving, it is important to have a well-insulated home, particularly with loft insulation. This ensures that the heat generated within the home does not escape, thus allowing for a consistently warm home during the winter.

If an air source heat pump sounds interesting to you and you are considering buying one, simply fill in the form above to get up to 4 personalised, no-obligation quotes, leading you a step closer to becoming a future owner of an air source heat pump.

Written by Attila Tamas Vekony UX Manager Attila is the UX Manager at GreenMatch. He holds a degree in international business with four years of coordination experience in marketing, user experience, and content creation. Attila likes to write about solar energy, heating technology, environmental protection and sustainability. His and his team's articles appeared in well-known sites like the The Conversation, EcoWatch, and Gizmodo.
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