Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP)
Air source heat pumps are positioned outside, adjacent to the building, and have a fan that draws in outdoor air over a large heat exchanger which harnesses the heat energy in the air, even at temperatures below zero degrees, and transfers it to the refrigerant, triggering the refrigeration cycle. Air source heat pumps (ASHP) usually consist of the external unit and an internal unit where hot water is stored and the controller and circulation pumps are housed.
Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) Benefits
In addition to the advantages of heat pumps in general, air source offers:
- Significant energy saving due to efficiency
- Convenient and reliable
- Minimal disruption during installation
- Easy to retro-fit and cost effective
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There are a number of different types of air source heat pump:
Outdoor Air Source Heat Pump
The refrigeration cycle takes place inside the outdoor heat pump unit with a hot water flow and return into and from the building via insulated pipes delivering heating via a wet system and domestic hot water. There is also a fully integrated air source heat pump which is designed to be located indoors. Outdoor air is collected via a large duct through an external wall.
Split System Air Source Heat Pump
The refrigerant is heated across the heat exchanger in the outdoor fan unit and then passes inside the building where it is compressed in an indoor heat pump unit transferring heat to water for space heating and domestic hot water.
Air to Air Heat Pump
The refrigeration cycle takes place in the outdoor heat pump unit and hot gas (or cold gas when cooling) is passed inside to a fan convector mounted on the wall or in the ceiling. Hot or cold air is distributed into the room via the fan convector. Air to air heat pumps do not heat water and are not eligible for the RHI.
During operation, the fan contained within the external unit does omit some noise, therefore the location of the heat pump needs consideration – not located near bedrooms, for example. Having said that, higher quality units tend to be quieter. Also, when the heat has been extracted from the ambient air, cold air is expelled, which again requires some consideration in terms of locating the unit. Also, drainage needs to be considered under the external unit to take care of condensation from the heat exchanger. An air source heat pump is more efficient when ambient temperatures are higher, but it is important to look at the energy performance calculation for the year when doing comparisons with other systems.
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Savings, Incentives and Earnings
An air source heat pump is dimensioned to meet all your heating and hot water needs which for the average UK home accounts for 82% of your total final energy use according to the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) 2013 statistics. When you heat your property using a heat pump, your running costs are reduced to the amount of electricity required to run the heat pump, and because a heat pump is designed to produce at least 2.5 units of heat for 1 unit of input electricity, this can mean considerable savings to your energy bill if it is replacing oil, LPG or all-electric heating.
The Renewable Heat Incentive is now available and rewards householders investing in air source heat pumps with regular payments received in respect of the amount of heat energy produced by the heat pump. Unfortunately, the RHI does not cover Air to Air heat pumps.
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Investment and Funding
Installing an air source heat pump in a domestic property is likely to require an investment of between £6,000 and £10,000 depending on the size of property and energy demand. The amount saved on heating bills depends on the particular characteristics of the property and how warm you like to heat your home but many customers save between £600 and £1,000 a year when converting from an oil boiler to an air source heat pump. Ecoliving provides an energy calculation showing how much energy can be saved and anticipated running costs. The Renewable Heat Incentive provides an income to add to the comfort and lower running cost benefits. Additionally, Interest Free Loans are available to householders in Scotland.
The Ecoliving Approach
An air source heat pump (ASHP) may or may not be the most appropriate solution for your property. Ecoliving's approach is to assess the needs of your property and to advise you on the best options for reducing your energy bills. We offer a free, no-obligation site visit where we will collect the information and discuss the options with you. If an air source heat pump is not appropriate we will tell you why and suggest an alternative renewable heating solution. Ecoliving designs, installs and maintains air source heat pump systems across the UK. We are independent of any one supplier and offer a very broad range of heat pumps from a number of manufacturers.
Read about Ecoliving's exemplar Domestic scale, air source heat pump installation here.
Find out if an air source heat pump is the most appropriate primary heating source for your new build or existing home now or Call us on 0845 301 3121.