Heat you Home from Thin Air
It sounds too good to be true, yet that is precisely what Air Source heat pumps do. Air contains thermal energy, even in winter. By blowing this air through a heat exchanger, heat is absorbed by a special liquid refrigerant, which becomes a gas even at very low temperatures. A heat pump compresses this gas to raise its temperature to 100'C before it passes through another heat exchanger to heat water for the house. There's nothing mysterious about the concept, which is based on the same principle as household refrigerators. Fridges capture heat from food placed inside them, turning a liquid refrigerant into gas that is compressed then passed through a heat exchanger on the back, allowing the heat to escape into the air (which is why fridges always feel warm at the back!)
Heat pumps, including Ground Source versions that capture heat from boreholes or pipes buried near the surface, are growing in popularity because of their environmental benefits and low running costs. True, they use electricity to power the heat pumps, but the amount of heat obtained is three to four times the amount of electricity put in. In other words, they are up to four times more efficient than an electric bar fire or immersion heater.
Recognising the benefits, the Government is helping homeowners invest in heat pumps by offering cash incentives of up to £1,250. An additional subsidy scheme, the Renewable Heat Incentive, commences in October 2012.