Can Air Source Heat Pumps improve your quality of life?


You’ve probably already heard that the UK is aiming to reach net-zero by 2050. Although three decades is a long time, there is a lot of work to be done.

Upgrading the UK’s heating will be central to making net-zero happen. Air-source heat pumps look set to play a key role in this. Here, Dominic Little, Director of Chill Air Conditioning shares his insight into some of their advantages.

ASHPs provide heating and hot water

In the UK, the term air-source heat-pumps generally means air-to-water heat-pumps. With this form of the technology, heat from the air is used to heat water. This is then fed into a standard central heating system to provide space heating and/or hot water. The space heating can be by means of radiators or underfloor heating (or a combination of both).

Some ASHPs can also be used for cooling. As a result, they can be a cost-effective alternative to air-conditioning. This can be particularly useful in a country like the UK where air-conditioning is usually only needed for a few months of the year.

Reduced carbon footprint

From the government’s perspective, this is the headline advantage of ASHPs. It’s also important to a lot of homeowners. At the end of the day, climate change is bad news for everyone. Lowering the UK’s carbon footprint is, therefore, literally a matter of survival. As such, it concerns everyone.

For clarity ASHPs, themselves are not, technically, fully renewable. This is because they rely on electricity to power the pumps. This electricity can, however, come from renewable or clean sources (e.g. potentially hydrogen power). If it does, they effectively, become a renewable heating source.

Very cost-effective

In order to encourage the adoption of ASHPs, the government has made air-to-water heat pumps eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive. This scheme has definitely been extended to 31st March 2022. It will then be replaced by the Clean Heat Grant. Full details of this scheme are yet to be announced but it is expected to include air-to-water heat pumps.

Both the RHI and the CHG are intended to assist (or even cover) the upfront costs of switching to renewable energy sources. Once these are covered, homeowners will see extra financial rewards in the form of lower household bills.

One key point to note is that modern ASHPs are effective all year round. The level of efficiency does vary according to the seasons (more specifically the temperature). They do, however, most definitely cope with the UK’s winters. Furthermore, you can improve their efficiency by siting them strategically. Ideally, put them in a place where they get plenty of direct sunlight.

Minimal storage requirements

The size of the ASHP you will need depends on the size of the building you want to heat. As a guideline, on a like-for-like basis, ASHPs are about the same size as air-conditioning units.

The ASHP is, however, all you need (plus an electrical connection). You don’t need to store any extra fuel. This reduces your storage requirements, eliminates the need for fuel deliveries and improves safety. Harsh as this may sound, it also makes your property less of a target for criminals.

“Set-and-forget” operation

If you’ve ever had to live through your regular central heating being updated then you’ll definitely appreciate the low-hassle installation of ASHPs. Once they’re installed, there’s really no maintenance. What’s more, if they do need any maintenance or repairs, the work is typically done outside. This minimizes the disruption to the running of your home.

As a bonus ASHPs have extremely long life cycles. This is due to a combination of improved build quality (as the technology has developed) and the fact that they’re actually fairly low-tech. Essentially, the concept behind them is so simple that there’s very little wear and tear and very little to go wrong with them.

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