More people are looking for greener alternatives for their energy sources.
Air source heat pumps are becoming a popular way for households to heat their home and hot water whilst lowering their carbon emissions and their energy bills. However, as always, there is a cost involved to this.
Although it may be slightly eye watering, the advantages may well offset the initial outlay.
You may be able to earn a passive income from your new air source heat pump. Which in turn will help you to speed up your payback period.
What is an air source heat pump?
An air source heat pump allows you to heat your home and hot water with one of the most renewable sources that we have; air.
A compressor unit is fitted outside of your home, normally against a wall but it can also be placed in the ground. The unit does require some space around it to ensure adequate air flow.
This unit takes the heat from the air as a fluid. During the process this is then turned into a gas. The pump then heats the gas where it is then transferred to the heating and hot water circuits within your home.
This external unit is connected to an internal unit that contains the circulation pumps. Which is typically smaller than your average boiler.
There are two types of heat pumps
- Air to Air
This model will not be able to provide you with any hot water and require a warm air circulation system to be able to move the heat around your home.
- Air to Water
This is the most popular model within the UK and is a part of the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme. Once the heat is absorbed from the outside this is then transferred from heat to water. It is then distributed via your wet central heating system.
This system works best with underfloor heating or large radiators.
We don’t have a lot of sunny weather in the UK. Is a heat pump worth it?
Whilst it is true that your air source heat pump will be at its most efficient during the warmer weather it can extract heat with temperatures as low as minus fifteen degrees.
In the colder months your system will use more electricity but the temperature of the heat provided to your home will not be affected.
How much does an air source heat pump cost?
According to The Energy Savings Trust a heat pump will cost between £9,000 and £11,000 and the cost will depend on the size of the system that you need to adequately supply energy within your home.
If you are thinking of installing a heat pump system you may want to look at some of the other costs that could be involved within the initial set up.
- You may wish to insulate your home to improve the efficiency of your system. Poorly insulated homes will lose heat just as quickly as it is being made.
- An air source heat pump works best with underfloor heating as it is designed to produce lower temperatures over a longer period of time. If underfloor heating is not possible then you may want to look at installing larger radiators.
- It may be required to change your hot water cylinder to a heat pump compatible one. A conventional boiler is not as effective with the lower heat temperatures.
- It is worth factoring in the cost of any garden work that you will need to carry out before your external unit can be installed.
Will I save money if I install an air source heat pump?
A heat pump is considered to be a semi-renewable source of energy. The main thing that it needs to work is air, making it a greener option. However for the system to work it does need electricity, therefore making it semi-renewable, although it does use electricity more efficiently than regular electric heating units.
There is no doubt that you will save money when switching to a heat pump although the savings will be different for each household and will depend on several factors. It could take many years for you to recoup your costs.
Factors to consider when thinking of installing an air source heat pump
- How large your home is
The larger your home the more power you will need to heat it.
- How well insulated your home is
Poorly insulated homes will not gain the same amount of benefits than a well insulated home.
- Your heat distribution system
Underfloor heating is the most efficient way to use your heat pump system.
- Your current energy bills
If you are replacing gas you will find that your gas bill is lower, however your electric bill may increase.
Renewable Heat Incentive
During colder weather your heat pump will use more electricity to achieve the same levels of heat.
It is also worth noting. You may be able to earn a passive income from your new air source heat pump. Which in turn will help you to speed up your payback period. If you are able to take part in the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.
This scheme was created to help with their promise to reach net zero emissions by 2050. As part of this scheme you could receive quarterly payments for seven years for every kilowatt hour of renewable heat that you produce.
This scheme is only available to those with an air-to-water system. To apply you will need to go though the energy regulator Ofgem.
All things considered
As you can see the initial cost of installing an air source heat pump can be quite high. However, the long term maintenance is very little.
It is advised to have your system serviced every one to two years to ensure that it continues running smoothly. You are also advised to regularly check that the air inlet grill is free from leaves and debris and to remove any plants or weeds that start to grow around your unit.
With this small bit of maintenance. You can expect your heat pump to provide you with heat, hot water and monetary savings for at least twenty years. If not longer.