The Cost of Air Source Heat Pumps
An air source heat pump is a cheap and competitive alternative for space and water heating at your home. Its running costs are considerably lower than those of conventional heating technologies. In addition to that, the UK Government has created schemes aimed at fostering the use of renewable energy by homeowners, such as the Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) scheme, or the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The owners of dwellings equipped with air source heat pumps have the possibility of benefiting from those schemes.
For a UK’s average dwelling, these would be the costs of installing and using an air source heat pump:
- Installation cost: £8,000-18,000
- Annual running cost: £400-500
- Annual RHI grant: £935-1,445
The values above are based on a specific case. If you want to know how we got them, as well as more in-depth information about air source heat pump costs, read the paragraphs below.
If you're already considering the installation of an air source heat pump, GreenMatch provides you with a free of charge and with no obligation service that allows you to request quotes and compare different systems, so that you can find the most suitable for you. Just fill in the form on the right to request offers.
Benefits of Air Source Heat Pumps
But if, on the other hand, you’d like to know if installing an air source heat pump is really worth it, take a look at the following list of benefits of air source heat pump when compared to more conventional domestic heating systems in the UK, such as gas, oil, coal or electric boilers:
- Lower heating expenses, with up to 70% compared to direct electricity.
- Can work in cooling mode during summer, so that an additional air conditioner system is not needed.
- Minimal maintenance required when compared to combustion systems.
- May allow the homeowner to benefit from the Renewable Heat Incentive.
Other important benefits of air source heat pumps are that there’s no fuel usage required in their operation, so they’re a safer option than gas and oil boilers and have lower carbon emissions; and that they have a lifespan of 20 years.
Read More: Air Source Heat Pump Prices
Air Source Heat Pump Cost: Case Study
With the purpose of better illustrating the economic benefits of air source heat pumps for the domestic sector, a specific case has being designed. Based on the heating needs of an average UK home, we’ve calculated the different costs that the installation and use of an air source heat pump would imply. These are the specific parts of this case study:
The first step regarding the computation of the costs of an air source heat pump is defining the energy needs of the building, in this case, domestic property. There are many factors that influence those energy needs, space and water heating needs, in particular. We’ve defined the main features as regards to heating for an average UK dwelling as follows:
- Dwelling type: semi-detached house
- Year when the property was built: from 1950 to 1980
- Heated floor area: 90 m²
- Number of stories: 2
- Number of bedrooms: 3
- Walls: insulated cavity walls
- Windows: double glazed
- Location: Midlands
When calculating the costs of buying an air source heat pump equipment and installing it in the dwelling, it’s a common practice to combine them into a more general cost: the air source heat pump installed cost. For the specific example of this page, in which the required heating capacity of the air source heat pump ranges between 4 to 6 kW, according to the features of the dwelling, the air source heat pump cost has an approximate value of £8,000-18,000.
Installation cost (air source heat pump + installation): £8,000-18,000
The installation cost includes, as stated above, the purchase of the heating system and its installation in the dwelling. The first of these expenses depends on the manufacturer. In the UK’s air source heat pump market, there’s a varied range of manufacturers/ suppliers, from Japanese and Korean big conglomerates to European companies. Even when heat pump technologies are less developed in the UK, there are some UK heat pump manufacturers.
When it comes to the installation, the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) developed a set of standards for installers based on international and European ones. The possession of the MSC by an air source heat pump installer guarantees the higher quality of installation to customers. Many of the installers of air source heat pumps in the UK are accredited by one or more of the manufacturers as official installers of their products.
From a financial point of view, what makes air source heat pumps very appealing heating systems, aside from the RHI scheme, that is be explained below, is the considerable running saving they produced when replacing any conventional space and water heating technology, and even many relatively new ones. These low running costs are a consequence of the high efficiency of air source heat pumps. Unlike most energy systems, heat pumps have an efficiency rate higher than 100%.
When working in heating mode, that efficiency rate is called Coefficient of Performance (COP), with typical values of 2.5-3 for air source heat pumps. In cooling mode, the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) normally varies from 12 to 15. If we take the heating mode, for example, 1 kW of electricity consumed by the air source heat pump could generate 3 kW of space heat.
For our specific case study, the fulfilment of space and heating needs of the average dwelling would result in a cost of £400-500 per year.
Annual running cost: £400-500
Households equipped with an air source heat pump may be eligible to receive the Renewable Heat Incentive, a UK Government grant aimed at encouraging not only householders but also businesses and communities to use renewable heat technologies. If the requirements for eligibility were met, quarterly payments would be received over a period of 7 years. The amount of these payments depends on a number of factors. In the example, the features of the house and the technology employed allow for a grant of £935-1,445 from the Government per year.
Annual Renewable Heat Incentive Payment: £935-1,445
More Info about Air Source Heat Pumps
During the last decades, the energy market has been experiencing a rapid and constant increase in the demand for sustainable solutions. That has led to the proliferation of many green options and companies. Among them, heat pumps constitute a well-established industry in Central and Northern Europe and in North America. Consequently, the state of the art of heat pump technology, and, particularly, air source heat pump technology, is considerably advanced.
If we add the effort by governments to make these systems more accessible for consumers, it’s easy to explain why installing an air source heat pump for space and water heating is a viable and even attractive alternative to the conventional solutions.