How do Air Source Heat Pumps Work

Heat from the air is absorbed at low temperature into a fluid. This fluid then passes through a compressor where its temperature is increased, and transfers its higher temperature heat to the heating and hot water circuits of the house. There are two main types of air source heat pump system:

  • An air-to-water system distributes heat via your wet central heating system. Heat pumps work much more efficiently at a lower temperature than a standard boiler system would. So they are more suitable for underfloor heating systems or larger radiators, which give out heat at lower temperatures over longer periods of time.
  • An air-to-air system produces warm air which is circulated by fans to heat your home. They are unlikely to provide you with hot water as well.

Is an air source heat pump suitable for me?

To tell if an air source heat pump is right for you, there are a few key questions to consider:

  • Do you have somewhere to put it? You’ll need a place outside your home where a unit can be fitted to a wall or placed on the ground. It will need plenty of space around it to get a good flow of air. A sunny wall is ideal.
  • Is your home well insulated? Since air source heat pumps work best when producing heat at a lower temperature than traditional boilers, it’s essential that your home is insulated and draught-proofed well for the heating system to be effective.
  • What fuel will you be replacing? The system will pay for itself much more quickly if it’s replacing an electricity, oil or coal heating system. Heat pumps may not be the best option for homes using mains gas.
  • What type of heating system will you use? Air source heat pumps can perform better with underfloor heating systems or warm air heating than with radiator-based systems because of the lower water temperatures required.
  • Is the system intended for a new development? Combining the installation with other building work can reduce the cost of installing the system.

Costs, Savings and Earnings

For approximate costs and savings why not try our Heat Pump Calculator and see how a Heat Pump could benefit you. Heat Pumps are one of the most energy efficient ways in which you can heat your home, by harnessing natural warmth from outside (even on cold days) the system can create heat up to 4 times more efficiently that other forms of heating such as Gas, Oil or electric storage heaters. The process is so efficient that it has been recognised by the UK government as a way to reduce carbon emissions and fuel bills and to persuade people to change they have introduced a new incentive scheme called the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which will pay you a lump sum each year for 7 years.