MVHR (Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery)
These systems recycle heat – and not any smells! – from the stale air that is leaving your home. As the stale air leaves it passes through a heat exchanger that uses the heat from the outgoing air to warm fresh, incoming air.
Your home will need to be fairly airtight so that you can control when the air enters or leaves and therefore this system is typically used in newer or smaller homes.
The typical cost is around £6,000, including installation, but this will depend on your particular circumstances. The Energy Saving Trust suggests that the cost of installation for a 3 bed semi -detached house could start from £1,800, dependent on the size of the system and ease of installation of the ductwork.
MVHR also requires ducting to be installed, which might present problems when retrofitting a house rather than incorporating it into a new build.
There is some maintenance required, mainly cleaning and balancing of the system. Filters that clean the incoming air may need to be changed as often as every 3 months. The life time for the fan unit should be about 15 years.
Single Room Option
It is possible to use this system in a single room. In this case it is called a Single Room Heat Recovery Ventilator (SRHRV).
Benefits & Savings
The benefits are numerous:
- Increased energy efficiency; manufactures of systems claim that they can save up to 90% of the heat that leaves a building during winter
- The air is cleaned reducing general dust in your home – Kitchen smells and steam are quickly removed
- Moisture is quickly removed from the shower and bathrooms, reducing condensation in wet rooms and lowering humidity so that towels etc can dry
- Significantly better air quality which is thought to reduced frequency of asthma attacks
- Use can extend the time before it is necessary to turn on the central heating
- 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.
- Will an air source heat pump provide enough hot water for heating and hot water?
- If you do not heat your water beyond 55°C and your system has been correctly scaled and fitted for your needs there is no reason why all your domestic hot water requirements shouldn't be provided by the air source heat pump throughout the year. It should be noted that heat pumps produce water at a lower temperature than boiler systems, meaning that you will need larger radiators or an underfloor heating system or the pump to heat your house effectively.
- 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.
- Will I need a new boiler to install an air source heat pump?
- An air source heat pump can provide all your hot water and heating requirements without the need for top-up from a boiler. However, a boiler can be used alongside the pump system as a top up to meet demand in colder weather. This will depend on your current heating system's design.
- How much hot water is produced each day by an air source heat pump?
- This will depend on the make and model of air source heat pump that you're planning to use, but a well chosen pump should be able to meet all of your heating needs. You should aim to get advice from at least one well accredited installer when choosing a model.
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