Should I get an air source heat pump?

November 2nd, 2020
Should

Amid a global energy and environmental crisis there’s a greater need than ever to find efficient and environmentally friendly ways to heat your home. An air source heat pump might well be the answer, and with a bit of luck it could lower your energy bills too!

Frequently asked questions about air source heat pump

What is an air source heat pump?

The principles behind a heat pump are incredibly simple. They heat your home using air from the outside. Counterintuitive as this might seem (especially during the colder months!) they take energy from the air and convert it into heat, which is then released into your existing home heating network.

Who can get one?

While anybody can get an air source heat pump, some will benefit more than others. Homes that are well insulated will benefit the most, since the pumps operate best when heating at lower temperatures with minimal heat loss. Similarly, you’ll need existing underfloor heating. You’ll also need ample space outside your home so that the pump can be installed with ample airflow.

How much are they?

Air source heat pumps are always more expensive than a conventional boiler installation. That said, the idea is that the air source heat pump will pay for itself by saving you money on bills and eventually work out cheaper. Installing an air source heat pump on a detached house is likely to cost around £9,000. The cost for a semi-detached house hovers around £8,000, and for a flat it’s in the region £6,400. With an installation this big always remember to seek out accredited heating engineers and get a variety of quotes. Quality installation guards against problems further down the line.

Is it right for my home?

This depends on a number of factors. If you already have underfloor heating and your home is well insulated with minimal heat loss, then an air source heat pump could be ideal. They’re certainly greener than electricity or gas, but they aren’t right for every home. You’ll need ample space outside to attach the device to a wall (or to install it on level ground) and ensure good airflow. In some places that might even require planning permission. Moreover, just how much money you’ll save depends largely on how energy efficient your home already is.

How much will I save?

Individual savings are difficult to calculate and largely depend on the type of property you own. Bigger savings are reserved for those who were previously running older energy inefficient boilers. Homes operating with old G-rated LPG boilers will save the most, up to around £1,400 per year. Old electric storage heaters are big energy guzzlers too, and replacing those could save you in the region of £900. Savings for G-rated oil and gas boilers are more modest but still roughly £400 to £500 annually.

It’s worth remembering too that these devices aren’t fully carbon neutral and do require electricity to operate. This means that if you’re heating your home with gas, your gas bill will fall (sometimes quite dramatically), but your electricity bill will go up. It’s difficult to work out exact savings, but with installation taken into account, it could take a long time for the pump to pay for itself.

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