Air Source Heat Pumps
You can use heat absorbed from the air to heat your home – even in winter!
Air source heat pumps absorb heat from the outside air, like a fridge in reverse, and this heat can be concentrated and used to heat your home or hot water. It is usually used in radiators, under-floor heating systems, or warm air convectors, saving you money in the process.
Heat can be extracted from the air even when the outside temperature is as low as minus 15°C, although heat pumps are more efficient at higher temperatures.
Currently they qualify for the government’s Renewable Heat Premium Payments scheme, which gives a voucher for £850 towards the cost of installation, but even without this they can produce valuable energy savings.
In a similar way, heat can be extracted from exhaust air being ventilated from your home and transferred to the incoming air via a heat exchanger. These systems are called MVHR (Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery).
They do require some electricity to circulate the heat that they extract, but this heat is constantly renewed so they will capture more energy than they expend.
The savings that can be made vary depending on the type of fuel that you are replacing, however the Energy Saving Trust trials suggest that a 3 bedroom semi currently using oil or solid fuel for heating and hot water could save around £300, with homes using electricity saving as much as £610.
- How do air source heat pumps work?
- A box on the outside of your house called the air handling unit takes in outside air and then transfers the heat energy from the air to a fluid through large heat exchangers . The fluid is then compressed in a heat pump to raise the temperature to a level that means it can be used in your home as heating and hot water.
- Where in my house should an air source heat pump be installed?
- The bulkiest component of an air source heat pump is the air handling unit, which must be fitted outside. The unit can be fitted on an outside wall, but some designs allow this to be fitted some way away from the home, as far as 20-30 meters. The heat pump needs to be in or on the house and typically this is where the essential components are housed.
- What properties are not suitable for an air source heat pump installation?
- Air source heat pumps are not suitable for use in houses where the levels of insulation are not known and where the age and type of the heating distribution system (radiators and pipes) is unknown. Because they produce hot water at a lower temperature than conventional boilers they are particularly suited to house with under-floor heating.
- How many air source heat pumps would I need for a large building?
- This depends on the model that you choose, however if you home is well insulated you will need fewer heat pumps to maintain the same temperature level. Your installer will be able to advise you on exactly how many you will need.
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