Air Source Heat Pump Heating System: Pros, Cons & Costs

Air Source Heat Pump Heating System: Pros, Cons & Costs

It’s almost hard to believe that heat can be extracted from temperatures as low as -20°C but with an air source heat pump, you can be efficiently heating your home even in the depths of winter.

In this guide, we’ll explain the advantages that an air source heat pump could bring to your home, what you’ll need to consider and how much one is likely to cost.

What are the benefits of an air source heat pump system?

Air source heat pumps are a renewable technology that can make your home more efficient and help to reduce your energy bills. Let’s take a look at many of the benefits ASHPs have to offer:

Reduced Energy Bills

Air source heat pumps are highly efficient heating systems that have the potential to lower your energy bills depending on your current system.

Earn money through the RHI

The Renewable Heat Incentive pays homeowners that have invested in renewable technologies. You could be paid quarterly over 7 years which could potentially see you earn back the initial costs. It’s worth noting that only air-to-water heat pumps are eligible, not air-to-air heat pumps.

Highly efficient

An air source heat pump is capable of generating less CO2 than more conventional heating systems.

Not as warm

The heat produced by ASHPs is at a lower temperature than with boilers which is why it’s recommended to use it them with underfloor heating rather than radiators.

Operate all year

You can make use of your air source heat pump all year round thanks to many models being able to operate in very low temperatures. During the summer, an air-to-air heat pump can be used to circulate cold air through the home to help cool everyone down.

Easily maintained

Heat pumps are often referred to as ‘fit and forget’ technology as they require very little maintenance and can be left alone to heat your home. It’s recommended to have the appliance serviced annually to make sure it’s operating well.

Lengthy lifetime

The operating life of an air source heat pump varies depending on the model you have installed but many can last for up to 20 years, with some even stretching as far as 25 years.

How much could an air source heat pump save you?

You could potentially be saving up to £900 on your energy bills each year by replacing your current heating system with an ASHP. Use the table below to find out just how much you could be saving by replacing your current heating system:

Existing Heating System Possible Annual Energy Savings
Old G rated Gas Boiler £400 – £465
New A rated Gas Boiler Increase of £35 – £55
Old G rated Oil Boiler £460 – £545
New A rated Oil Boiler Increase of £45 – £55
Old Electric Storage Heaters £800 – £900
New Electric Storage Heaters £465 – £545
Coal £425 – £525

From the table you can see that if you have a new gas or oil boiler with an ErP A rating installed, then you’re better off sticking with what you’ve got. However, if you have an older boiler or one that runs on electricity or coal then you could be making considerable savings each year.

Even the most efficient boilers waste energy, often somewhere between 6-12% of the energy they use, while an ASHP produces 3 times as much energy as it uses.

As ASHPs are powered by electricity, ensure that you’re on the best energy tariff available by taking a look at our guide to Energy Switching.

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What should you consider before installing an air source heat pump?

While an air source heat pump could be saving you a large amount of money each year through reduced energy bills, it’s important to consider the possible downsides before having one installed:

  • Retrofit installation could be difficult
  • Some operating noise
  • Cost more to run than A rated boilers
  • Reduced efficiency in winter
  • Home needs to be well insulated
  • Not suitable for homes with no outdoor space for the unit

It’s also worth noting that while the system itself won’t take up too much space, it needs a good air flow to be able to operate. For this reason, you’ll need to make sure that there’s plenty of room around the unit and if that’s where the sun shines most of the time then the ASHP won’t have to work as hard to heat the air.

How much do air source heat pumps cost?

Having an air source heat pump installed in a typical home can cost between £4,000 – £11,000. This may sound like a big price tag but when you consider that it could be efficiently heating your home for around 20 years with reduced heating bills, it will soon start paying for itself.

Different air source heat pumps will have different prices attached to them, we’ve compared the most popular ASHPs on the market so that you can find the right one for your home.

Do the pros outweigh the cons?

Homeowners that have installed the latest A rated boilers can rest assured that they already have an efficient heating system that will be able to heat their home at high temperatures. As efficient as they might be, the homeowners won’t be able to benefit from potential RHI payments or a system that might not have as long of a life.

If you’re moving into a new build or live in an off-grid home that’s well insulated then an air source heat pump would be a long term investment that when partnered with underfloor heating could see your energy bills reach a new low.

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