How Air Source Heat Pump Installations Work
Heating your home is an essential aspect of maintaining a comfortable living environment, especially during the cold winter months. With the increasing focus on energy efficiency and reducing carbon footprint, air source heat pumps are becoming a popular alternative to traditional boilers. Especially with the rising cost of gas in the UK.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore everything you need to know about air source heat pump installations, including how they work, the benefits of using them, the UK Government's decarbonisation agenda, and just what exactly an Air Source Heat Pump Installation entails.
How do Air Source Heat Pumps Work?
An air source heat pump (ASHP) is a renewable energy system that works by extracting heat from the outside air and using it to heat your home. It works similarly to a refrigerator in reverse, absorbing heat from air and compressing it to raise the temperature before distributing it to your home. This renewable energy source is incredibly efficient and can reduce your carbon footprint and energy bills.
ASHPs use a refrigerant to absorb heat from the air outside and transfer it to the inside of your home. This process is facilitated by a compressor, which quite literally compresses the refrigerant, increasing its temperature. The heated refrigerant is then passed through a heat exchanger. This heat is transferred to the water used for heating your home. The cooled refrigerant is then returned to the compressor to start the cycle again.
A highly effective reverse refrigerator
Therefore this process can be repeated without any materials needing to be topped up, such as gas, oil or LPG. Making it a renewable energy source.
ASHPs are designed to be highly efficient, with some models boasting efficiencies of up to 400%. While this might seem like a ridiculous figure. This means that for every 1kW of electricity used to power the compressor, 4kW of heat energy is produced.
Finally, Ground Source Heat Pumps, operate in a very similar way except they take heat from deep underground instead of from the air.
Air Source Heat Pumps in Europe
Air source heat pumps have become increasingly popular in Europe, especially in countries such as Germany and Sweden. Here they are more common than traditional boilers and have been for a few years. This is because the German and Swedish governments set targets to achieve net-zero carbon in new builds by 2021.
This popularity can be attributed to their efficiency and sustainability, as well as the various incentives offered by governments to encourage the adoption of renewable energy systems.
The UK Government is now following suite, trying to achieve net-zero carbon by 2050 in all sectors.
UK Government Decarbonisation Agenda and Boiler Installations
The UK government has set a target to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. As part of this goal, they encourage homeowners to switch to more energy-efficient heating systems, such as air-source heat pumps, instead of traditional boilers.
In 2020 the government introduced the Boiler Scrappage Scheme to encourage homeowners to switch to more efficient heating systems.
The scheme offered funding to eligible households to cover the cost of installing a new, more efficient heating system. This funding can be used to cover the cost of installing an ASHP, making it a more affordable option for homeowners who want to reduce their carbon footprint and energy bills.
This scheme has now been replaced with the boiler upgrade scheme as of 2022, which you can find more detail about here.
This promotion of renewable heating solutions by the UK government is likely to increase the popularity of these heating units in much the same way as it has for the rest of Europe. Until they overtake conventional Gas boilers in popularity.
Comparing Air Source Heat Pumps to Boilers
Firstly when it comes to efficiency, as discussed earlier air-source heat pumps are significantly more efficient than traditional boilers.
Regular boilers have an efficiency rating of around 80%, meaning that 20% of the energy used to heat the building is wasted. In comparison, air source heat pumps have an efficiency rating of 300% to 400%, making them a more cost-effective and energy-efficient option in the long run.
Secondly the advantage of air-source heat pumps is that they are better suited to low-temperature heating systems. Traditional boilers are designed to work at high temperatures, which can result in rapid heat loss through the building's insulation. Air source heat pumps, on the other hand, work at low temperatures and provide a more consistent heat distribution throughout the building.
Finally they also have the advantage of working without a gas supply so they can be installed in properties that are off the main grid. This is especially useful in Norfolk where just under 50% off homes are off-grid.
Cost & Savings of an Air Source Heat Pump
Air source heat pump installations may initially be more expensive compared to installing a traditional boiler.
The average cost of an ASHP installation is around £10,000. However, over time, the energy savings you'll make will more than offset the upfront cost. On average, homeowners can save up to £600 per year on their energy bills by switching to an air-source heat pump.
Additionally, the government's Boiler Upgrade Scheme can help cover the cost of installing an ASHP, making it a more affordable option for homeowners who want to reduce their carbon footprint and energy bills.
Integrating Air Source Heat Pumps with Other Renewables
Air source heat pumps can be integrated with other renewables, such as solar panels, to further reduce your carbon footprint and energy bills. By combining these two technologies, you can maximise the use of renewable energy in your home and reduce your reliance on fossil fuels.
For example, if you have solar panels installed, the ASHP can use the excess energy generated by the panels to power its compressor, reducing your reliance on the grid for energy. This not only reduces your energy bills but also helps to reduce your carbon footprint as you are using clean, renewable energy instead of fossil fuels.
Impact on Environment
One of the biggest benefits of air source heat pumps is their low impact on the environment. Unlike traditional boilers, which rely on burning fossil fuels, air source heat pumps use renewable energy from the air.
This means that they produce significantly less carbon emissions compared to traditional boilers, helping to reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to the global effort to combat climate change.
As discussed above they can also be tied to other renewable technology such as solar panels to reduce cost and impact further.
The Boiler Upgrade Scheme
The Boiler upgrade scheme is designed to help homeowners in England and Wales make the initial costs of low-carbon heating systems more affordable. For example biomass boilers, air-source heat pumps and ground-source heat pumps.
This will allow homeowners to replace their fossil fuel boiler with a renewable alternative.
These three systems are covered by the scheme in different ways and have different levels of funding allocated to them.
- Air Source Heat Pumps: £5000 off costs and installation.
- Biomass Boilers: £5000 off costs and installation.
- Ground Source Heat Pumps: £6000 off costs and installation.
You can find further requirements for taking part in this scheme as well as other details here.
What is the Boiler Upgrade Scheme?
How Air Source Heat Pump Installations Work
Air source heat pump installations are typically carried out by a qualified and experienced technician. Such as our experienced Gasway Engineers.
The installation process typically involves the following steps:
- Site survey - A site survey is carried out to assess the suitability of your property for an air source heat pump installation. This will include an assessment of the size of your property, the insulation levels, and the location of the ASHP. (You can Book your free site survey here)
- Design and planning - Based on the results of the site survey, the technician will design the installation to ensure that the ASHP is optimally placed and sized to meet your heating requirements.
- Installation - The actual installation process involves installing the ASHP unit, connecting it to your heating system, and commissioning the system. The installation process typically takes several days to complete, depending on the size and complexity of the installation.
- Maintenance - To ensure that your air source heat pump continues to operate efficiently, it is important to have it serviced and maintained on a regular basis. This will ensure that the system is operating at peak efficiency and that any issues are identified and addressed before they become major problems that may result in a breakdown. (You can book your annual Air Source Heat Pump Service here)
Should I get an Air Source Heat Pump Installed?
In 2023 it is now more affordable than ever to get an Air Source Heat Pump System installed on your property. They are a great option for any homeowner in Norwich & Norfolk who want to reduce the impact of their carbon footprint and potentially save a bit of money on their heating bills.
If you're considering an air source heat pump installation, you can start the process by booking your free home survey today, or perhaps if you would like more information you can contact one of our experienced renewable engineers today.
Looking for more information and advice?
We have a whole heap of article on everything you could possibly want to know about heating systems and your home. How Hydrogen Boilers Work, How Boiler Installations work, What to do if your boiler breaks down, How to deal with damp and mould and so much more.