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How much do air source heat pumps cost to install?

For a 3 bedroom house erected in the last 60 years, the cost of an air source heat pump installation is likely to total around £1,500-£3,000 depending on a number of factors such as the size of your home, how well insulated your home is, the era in which the house was purchased and the difficulty of installation. The heat pump itself may cost around £3000-£6,000 but this depends on how much heat is required. It’s estimated that you’re likely to spend £1,000 for each kW that’s is required to heat your home. However, you can save 75% of your energy bills and even claim money back from the government to cover the cost of installation.

An air-source heat pump is a system that absorbs heat from outside to distribute it inside a domestic home or a building. Air source heat pumps use a refrigerant system combined with a compressor and a condenser to extract heat from one area and to transfer it to another.

You’ll need to factor in the cost of the installation which could be between £1,500 - £3,000. The best way to estimate a cost is to fill out the form below and get installation costs to compare. You may need to factor in the costs of additional radiators and a specific hot water tank that is compatible with your air source heat pump, which may increase the final quote.

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The costs of an air source heat pump seems expensive in comparison to a traditional boiler, however, remember that you’ll be able to claim money back and save up to 75% on your energy bills, so in the long run, the investment is worth it. The government offer a renewable heat incentive which in some cases will cover the whole cost of the air source heat pump installation in a short period of time. The government will pay you over the course of 7 years for home installations (or 20 years for commercial installations) so you’ll be well compensated in the long run. It’s unsure how long this scheme will run for so those late to heat pumps may miss out!

We've outlined the costs, frequently asked questions and the benefits of air source heat pumps here. If you're looking for a more detailed quote, fill out a form and we'll provide more information. 


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What are air source heat pumps and how do they work?

Air source heat pumps soak up heat from the air up to -15°C. The heated air collected by heat pumps is used for central heating such as heat radiators, underfloor heating systems or even hot water. Heat pump systems work like a fridge: it takes unwanted heat on the inside and moves it away to a different place.

While it may appear that the heat pump units are all exactly the same, two separate types of the system exist:

  • Air-to-air: Produce warm air from the outside that circulates around your home inducting (conduits). This system cannot heat - it just conditioners the air. Primarily, the air to air system will have a single purpose. This is usually devoted to electricity-powered systems. Due to this singular nature, it’s improbable that this version of the heat pump will have the ability to perform multiple functions.
  • Air-to-water: It releases heat from the outside to a water-based system such as your radiators. This heat can be used for warming up your home space or to create a hot water supply. This system operates through dispensing the created heat by way of your home’s wet central heating unit. These heat pumps are most efficient when operating at a cooler temperature than a typical boiler. This makes them ideally suited for heating integral areas of your property, such as larger radiators and underfloor works. Particularly because radiators and underfloor heating apparatus release heat at a cooler temperature, and for a longer period of time.

What are the benefits of air source heat pumps?

Similar to every other air conditioning or air heating system, the air source heat pump has its pros and cons that we will be discussing in the next paragraphs. But before we dig deeper into the topic we need to highlight some key characteristics of the ASHP.

First and foremost, it is very important to specify and design the system correctly and it’s recommended that the airtightness, insulation and emitters (normally underfloor heating) of the property has been optimized, in order to get the most out of your air source heat pump.

It is also essential to mention that although the boiler role as the home’s heat source is replaced by an air source heat pump, the way ASHP works is very different:

  • An air-source heat pump does not generate heat. Simply put it only moves the heat from one place to another through a refrigeration process to make it more useable. The pump gets the heat from the air and absorbs it into a fluid, which then gets compressed and it raises its temperature. As a result, the higher temperature is then transmitted into the heating system.
  • The pump is powered by electricity. The measure of the heat energy output per kW of electricity, or the efficiency is stated as the SCOP (Seasonal Coefficient of Performance). For instance, a SCOP of 3.2 means that 3.2kW is generated for every 1kW of electricity.
  • The surrounding air powers the air source heat pump, which means that if the temperature outside drops, so does the efficiency of the heat pump. The efficiency lowers when there is a big difference between the targeted temperature (either the domestic hot water or the indoor room temperature) and the air outside. Thus it is essential to understand the performance characteristics of the heat pump the heat load of the property.

In order to make the best out of an air source heat pump for space heating, you should have underfloor heating, but low-flow temperature radiators will work as well.

There are many benefits found for the use of heat pumps, below are a few of those benefits that you can expect:

  • Both of air-to-air and air-to-water system relies on electricity but not as much as traditional heating systems do, therefore you get a lower carbon emission.
  • Very little maintenance is needed
  • It can heat up your home in winter and cooling it down during summer seasons.
  • There’s a possible UK Government allowance scheme accessible called “The renewable Heat Incentive’’ (RHI). You can earn money for 7 years straight but you need to meet the CMS Standards payments. This grant depends on the size and the type of heat pump you possess.
  • Heating both homes and water is realizable.
  • The price of an air source heat pump is cheaper than a Ground source heat pump.

Are air source heat pumps suitable for me?

This system is great for many people who are looking to save some money on energy bills, or conscious about carbon emission as ASHPs are environmental-friendly.

• It’s a great option for someone who has space in their garden or outdoor area although some air pump systems are much more compact and more suited to metropolitan areas.
• If you are planning on installing an underfloor heating system (or if you already have one) in this case air source heat pumps can spread the heat you wish.
• Again, a well-insulated home is required for the best use.
• If you rely on LPG, electricity, solid fuels or oils and you wanting to save some cost on energy. You will obtain more possessing an air source heat pump.

Air source heat pumps installation costs

When your heat pump is well installed by an expert, you can experience more energy saved compared to a traditional heating method.

One can expect to pay up between £5,000 upwards of £10,000 for air source heat pump depending on where in the UK you are based. However, ground source heat pumps are a lot more costly.

Air source heat pump cost savings

Getting that money back on energy bills is estimated by the power of your heat pump system and how you use it.

• If at the moment you have an oil heating system, you could potentially save between £350-£560 a year.
• If you're thinking of replacing an LPG fired heating system you could save up to £1,900 yearly.
• For electric heating replaced for heat pump system, the saving could be more significant, around £700-£1300 during the year.
• Lastly, if your households have gas heating, then the savings are around £1,300-£1,900 yearly by having a heat pump installed.

What are the challenges?

Heat pumps are not designed for every household, it might not suitable for yours as it requires specific attributes to acquire one.

Below are a few disadvantages of ASHPs  :

  • It is important that your home is well insulated. (If it is you will get much more money saved on energy bills)
  • Be careful that your property has a place for a heat pump outside as they can take some space. Be aware, a cluttered garden will affect your heat pump efficiency.
  • If you’re using gas as the main energy, unfortunately, it won’t be the best deal for you.
  • The temperatures of heat pumps are lower than gas or electrical heating systems.

How far from my house do I need to put an air source heat pump?

There is not a specific distance away from the house that the air source heat pump needs to be located but a general rule to go by is to keep the unit at least 2 feet (24 inches) away from any obstruction, including your home to ensure access to ambient air which is what the heat pump filters out and pushes back out into the air.

There does, however, need to be a significant distance around the air source heat pump for it to function efficiently. It has been suggested that the best position for the unit is on the side of the house on the ground so that the air can move freely around and through it, and to prevent too much build-up of ice around the unit in colder seasons, especially temperatures below 0 degrees.

The key is – do not enclose it or keep it in an enclosed space such as a garage, loft, or shed. A minimum of 1m needs to be kept clear in front of the heat pump so that the air forced out of the front of the unit doesn’t rebound back into it. It is also suggested that the heat pump should be 1m away from the boundary between your home and your neighbour’s.

Are air source heat pumps noisy?

Yes, the can ever so slightly be noisy - air-source heat pumps do produce a humming noise while running which is created by the fan and the compressor but generally isn’t loud enough to cause a disturbance. At 1m away from the heat pump, it produces a noise level which ranges between 40-60 decibels, depending on the type of heat pump you have as well as various other factors.

The other factors that affect the humming noise created by the unit is the fan model, the fan speed, and the compressor, but it is mainly the air pressure and pressure flow which can increase or decrease the amount of noise created by the heat pump – an increase in air pressure decreases the noise production from the heat pump because it is easier for the pump to draw in the air so the pump doesn’t have to work as hard.

It’s also advised not to position your air source heat pumps outside or below your bedroom window to prevent the humming noise from disrupting one’s sleep. To resolve this problem and reduce the noise if it becomes a problem for yourself or your neighbours, it is optional to install a compressor sound blanket wrap. 

Is an air source heat pump reliable?

Air source heat pumps are designed to have a long life span of up to 20 years so long as they are properly maintained and serviced. They are designed to rely on the temperature of the localized air to function rather than any fuel storage, increasing their reliability.

However, the weather and temperature change can be unpredictable which can affect the efficiency of the heat pump at any given time.

In terms of efficiency, heat pumps operate less efficiently in winter temperatures below 0 degrees. This means that it may take longer for the room and/or building to heat up to the desired temperature. This can be slightly problematic in the mornings as the air temperature drops in the night-early morning; the time between waking up and leaving for work, for example, may not be ample time for the home to heat up. Heat pumps are more efficient, and therefore more reliable when working with larger radiators and underfloor heating.

Are ASHPs difficult to maintain?

Air source heat pumps are not difficult to maintain but they do require little maintenance on a regular basis. It is recommended that seasonal checks, between 2 – 4 months, are needed to maintain an efficient operation and resolve any potential problems early.

A proper service should be done at least once a year by a technician or expert. These checks can include cleaning and/or swapping the filters, cleaning the coils and the fan, ensuring the airflow is not obstructed by dust, debris, leaves, etc., and cleaning the fan blades.

Don’t forget to maintain the area around the heat pump well so that weeds, plants and ice build-up doesn’t stop the heat pump from functioning properly. It’s also important in the colder times of the winter to check the anti-freeze levels which prevent the build-up of ice in lower temperatures, especially below 0 degrees.

Can I save on costs with a government grant?

If you’ve been wondering how you could fit your home with more efficient heating, you may well consider a new air source heat pump. Naturally, purchasing a brand new energy product can be a rather pricey affair. Fortunately, there are monetary benefits to procuring a system of this kind, such as government-funded incentives. We’ll explain how this process of reinvestment can come to fruition in greater detail, as well as helping you get familiar with the ins and outs of the heat pump functionality.

Under the curent UK Government’s domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, those who are eligible could receive quarterly cash payments over seven years. To qualify for the RHI scheme, you are required to install or have already installed an eligible renewable heating technology. An air-source heat pump is classified as a renewable heating technology.

It has been estimated by the government that potentially, a semi-detached property, not connected to the gas grid, in a rustic setting, with a regular heat production of 10,000kWh per anum, could generate £500 yearly through RHI instalments. It’s been declared by the Energy Saving Trust that such a property could be generating even as much as £1,350 per anum. This is a positive prospect for those applying for the RHI. Certain variables are at play as to how much a property may receive through the scheme, with an individual claiming as much as £2,914.


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