Air to air heat pumps - explained!
There are a range of heat pump options available, however, in this article, we delve deeper into air to air heat pumps specifically. An air to air heat pump falls under the umbrella for an air source heat pump and are used to provide both cooling and heating to your home. Air to air is one of the most affordable heating and cooling solutions on the market and can help to cut your monthly bills by up to 75% - a significant saving.
What is a heat pump?
Renewable energy sources are starting to enter the mainstream heating market, challenging the traditional oil and gas boilers both from an efficiency and sustainability point of view. We all want to reduce the monthly cost to live in our homes just as much as the government wants to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint. This need has given rise to technological advancements in heat pump technology. Heat pumps have been around for many years, but are starting to becoming a viable option for low cost energy.
How does an air to air heat pump work?
If you’ve ever used an air conditioning unit, you’ll be somewhat familiar with the technology already as they use similar technology but in reverse. Air to air heat pumps extract the air from outside, absorbing heat from one place and sending it via a compressor to your central heating system via a process called vapour compression refrigeration.
Air to air heat pump advantages
- You can achieve up to 3 times higher heating efficiency. This means that air to air heat pumps are three times more efficient than a traditional boiler, with much less energy wastage.
- You can switch between heating and cooling very easily, something that is quite unique to this type of heat pump. You’ll have an air conditioning unit in the summer months and an efficient central heating system in the winter.
- Air to air heat pumps have a much longer life span than the traditional boiler. You can expect to keep a unit for up to 15 years!
- Having tested an Air to air heat pumps, they have been found to be the most effective in terms of heat energy output per kWh of electricity they consume (generating 4.5 times the energy it uses).
Air to air heat pump prices
It’s best to review the prices in relation to the size of your home. The average size of a home in the UK is 96.8 square metres, housing an average of 2.3 people per home. The installation cost itself may cost no more than £1,500 but can rise to £3,100 in some cases. The installation is cheaper than most people think, however, the cost of the pump is often a tripping point for most consumers. The unit itself can cost up to £6,000 (or more depending on the size of your house).
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In terms of ongoing running costs, there are many factors that will affect this such as
- The size, shape and arrangement of your rooms
- How frequently you use the heat pump
- How well your home in insulated
- How well insulated your windows are (you may have to upgrade)
- The climate that you live in
Will the government contribute to my air to air heat pump installation?
Unfortunately, air to air heat pumps are not covered under the renewable heat incentive or the RHI scheme, however, during the lifespan of your heat pump you’re very likely to more than cover the cost due to reduced energy bills. Air to air heat pumps should be seen as a great long term investment, saving you money in the long run.
Further advantages of air to air heat pumps:
- Easy installation - Installation can be complete in a single day provided there are no complications or access issues. They’re very easy to install.
- Can be used with existing systems - Air to air heat pumps can installed alongside conventional heating systems so you do need any additional apparatus to reap the benefits.
- Low maintenance - You won’t need to maintain the heat pump. You should get it checked once a year and many installers offer this as a service. Other than this, you can expect your heat pump to reliably work throughout the year.
- A safe source of fuel - you won’t need any harmful gas, or carbon dioxide producing fuel so you can safely heat or cool your home without any safety concerns. This reduces the chances of accidents.
Disadvantages of air to air heat pumps:
- Dependant on climate - since the air is pulled from outdoors, you may not get the full efficiency of the system if you’re outside of the ideal temperature range. Ideally, the outdoor temperature should be between 0 to 10 degrees for the heat pump to effectively. Problems arise when the temperature drops below minus 10.
- Reduced supply of electricity - compared to boilers, you can expect a lower supply of electricity meaning you’ll need to install larger units to get the same amount of heat/power. However, because the unit is placed outside this is rarely a problem.