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Air Source Heat Pumps Explained

Air Source Heat Pumps Explained

If you are unfamiliar with air source heat pumps, we will endeavour to take you through the basics in this article. Basically, an air source heat pump (also known as an ASHP) is typically placed outside of a property, either at the back or along the side. Its main role is to take heat from the air and then further heat that air to higher temperatures by the use of a heat pump. The pump will need an electrical supply to operate, but the amount of energy that the pump needs should be far less than the amount of heat that it produces. Before we proceed, for more advice on air conditioning in general please visit here.

air source heat pumps

The Fundamentals of Air Source Heat Pumps

There are two different types of air source heat pump that are currently available, and these are an air-to-water system, or air-to-air system. The air-to-water system works by taking heat from the air outside and then placing it in to your central heating system. Due to the fact that the heat produced may be lower than a conventional gas boiler, using this system may necessitate the installation of larger radiators or even underfloor heating to gain the maximum benefit. The air-to-air system simply takes heat from the outside air and feeds it into your home or office via a number of fans and this is a system that is unable to produce hot water unlike the air-to-water system. However, in the hot summer months, an air-to-air system can be operated in reverse, removing warm air from your home and replacing it with cooler air.

Air-to-water air source heat pumps often work better in conjunction with a good underfloor heating system, but if underfloor heating is not available or possible, then larger sized radiators are recommended. This is because the heat generated will not be as high as from a conventional hot water tank, and therefore radiators with a  bigger service area are need to achieve similar results. However, with a good underfloor heating system installed, you will find that it is much better at heating your home.
The great thing about heat pumps of this type is that they can help you make significant savings on your energy bills during the winter, but these types of system are more suited to newly built properties rather than being retrofitted, as the costs could spiral, especially if underfloor heating is needed later on.

The Pros and Cons of Air Source Heat Pumps

The Pros

  • They are a much more energy efficient way to heat your home, and due to the fact that they emit far less CO2, you will find that you will be helping the environment by substantially reducing your carbon footprint.
  • They are much less expensive to install than ground source heat pumps, and they are much easier to install as well, especially if you are looking to retrofit into an existing property. So long as you opt for the air-to-water version, air source heat pumps can not only provide you with heating, but also hot water, and they require very little maintenance once installed.
  • Even though these pumps need a constant supply of electricity to operate and circulate the liquid contained in the outside loop, these units are very energy efficient, and for every unit of electricity it consumes, you will get 2 or 3 units of heat in return.

The Cons

  • One of the main problems that people encounter with this form of heating unit is the space they need in their garden or outside space, which is often comparable to the size of an air conditioning unit. Another downside to this type of unit is the fact that they can be on the noisy side, as well as blowing cold air out into the surrounding environment.
  • Due to the fact that it uses electricity, an air source heat pump cannot be considered as a completely carbon free way of heating your home, unless the energy it consumes comes from a entirely renewable source, for example a wind turbine or via solar power.

Air Source Heat Pumps and the Environment

When it comes to lowering your carbon footprint and air source heat pump can be highly beneficial, although the amount you lower your carbon footprint will depend on the type of fuel that it is replacing. Of course, as we mentioned above, there is going to be a need to use electricity to power the unit, and this means that unless it is connected to a renewable energy source, some CO2 emissions will remain.

In Conclusion

As you can see, there are many advantages to using air source heat pumps in order to heat your home, and hopefully, this article has gone some way to helping you to gain a better understanding of how air source heat pumps work, and how they can be beneficial to you.
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