Air source heat pumps (ASHP) are one of the best ways to heat your home as they offer a greener and cost-effective alternative to boiler heating systems. Unlike combustion heating systems that convert heat from the fuel, an ASHP draws heat from the air outside into a fluid, which is then passed through a compressor to heat it. The high-temperature heat is then transferred into the property's heating and hot water systems.
There costs of air source heat pumps
There are several different costs associated with owning an ASHP, including:
Installation costs Air source heat pump systems are available at different price points depending on the manufacturer, quality, and several other factors. These units have several ratings on them to show energy efficiency and a sound rating to indicate product quality. Needless to say, a unit with higher ratings will cost more. That being said, fitting a typical ASHP will set you back around £10,000 to £15,000. You may have to incur additional costs depending on the type of system you choose to install, the size of your property, how well insulated it is, and your specific requirements. That being said, air source heat pump installation is easier and the costs are much lower than installing a ground source heat pump.
Running costs These will vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including the pump's efficiency, the level of warmth/heat you want to achieve, the temperature of the outside air, as well as whether you have radiators or underfloor heating systems. Additionally, an air source heat pump uses electricity to run. The good news is the energy costs of running an ASHP can be significantly lower than that of running other heating systems, particularly oil and electric heating systems. With that being said, expect to spend an average of £400-500/year to run an ASHP.
Maintenance costs Annual system maintenance is critical to ensuring the unit operates at maximum efficiency and has a long service life. This will, in turn, save you a lot in energy bills, costly repairs, and even the need for replacement. The good news is minimal maintenance is required here compared to combustion systems.
Air source heat pump savings
Installing an ASHP allows you to save money in several different ways as follows:
Save money on energy bills Installing an ASHP will lower your energy bills for heating by up to 75%, especially if you are moving from an electric, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), oil, or coal-fuelled system. Water heating bills can be reduced by 25 to 50 per cent.
ASHP essentially offer free energy as they are capable of delivering more heat energy than the amount of electricity they take to operate. The coefficient of performance (COP) of these units at 10°C is typically about 3.3, meaning for every 1KWh of electricity used to run an ASHP, it can deliver up to 3.3KWh of heat. This means 2 extra KWh of free heat energy for use in heating your home. ASHPs can also be powered by renewable energy like solar, wind, and biomass, thus eliminating electricity costs altogether.
Another way ASHPs lower energy bills is by being highly efficient. First off, they can extract heat from air temperatures that are as low as -15°C. Just keep in mind that the COP decreases with temperature as it's more difficult to draw heat from cooler air. They can also be used for both heating and cooling purposes. In fact, ASHPs provide high-efficiency cooling that's comparable to the highest-efficiency central ACs and better than window AC units. Air-to-air heat pumps operate in reverse in the summer, providing cool air for your home. In other words, it could save you money that you would otherwise spend on buying an air conditioner.
No fuel storage needed An ASHP doesn't rely on fuels like oil and wood pellets to produce heat, instead, it draws heat from the surrounding environment. This means no more additional fees for fuel deliveries.
Long lifespan ASHPs typically last longer than a boiler, and with proper maintenance, they can last up to 20 years. What's more, most have a 1-year warranty on parts and labour and up to 5-10 years on the compressor. This means that you won't need to replace your unit any time soon.
How much could you save?
The savings you could achieve installing an air sourced heat pump will depend on several things, including:
Fuel prices Your ASHP will still need electricity to run, so the more fuel prices go down, the more you will be able to save on energy bills.
Property size If you are looking to simply heat and cool a couple of rooms, the size of the overall system will be low and so will the costs. However, if you want to heat up the entire home, you will need to install more heat pump units. A much larger system will obviously increase the upfront cost of the system.
How well-insulated is your property ASHPs function best when producing heat at a lower temperature, thus maximising your energy savings. In that case, ensure your property is draught-proofed and well-insulated to minimise heat loss.
Your heat distribution system Underfloor heating systems offer the maximum efficiency out of an ASHP since the water doesn't have to be so hot. If this is not possible, use the largest radiators possible to ensure the overall efficiency of the system.
Your old heating system The type of fuel you will be replacing, in conjunction with the above factors will determine how much you can save. Here's a look at the possible annual savings for a medium-sized 4-bedroom house:
Replacing old electric night storage heaters: £800-990
Replacing new electric night storage heaters: £550-815
Replacing a gas boiler with G efficiency rating: £455-485
Replacing a gas boiler with A efficiency rating: £105-110
Replacing an oil boiler with G efficiency rating: £500-550
Replacing an oil boiler with A efficiency rating: £285-330
Replacing an LPG boiler with G efficiency rating: £1,200-1,610
Replacing an LPG boiler with A efficiency rating: £380-660
Replacing coal: £540-665
Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Grant
In addition to the above savings, houses equipped with an ASHP may be eligible to receive financial payment through the RHI. This is a UK Government grant that aims to encourage people to use renewable heat technologies. The exact amount of these payments will depend on a couple of things but generally ranges between £800 and £1,445 annually.
Installing an air source heat pump can make a big difference to your wallet as it lowers energy bills while offering potential income as we have seen throughout the text. As if that wasn't enough, it also lowers carbon emissions for a more sustainable environment. If you are ready to cash in on all these benefits, then the next logical step is to install an ASHP in your home.