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Are Air Source Heat Pumps Expensive To Run

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  • Admin
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  • Air Source Heat Pumps, Boiler Schemes, Heat Demand
  • Posted date:
  • 09-08-2022
Are Air Source Heat Pumps Expensive To Run

Are air source heat pumps good investments? In this article we discuss the factors that affect the running costs of air source heat pumps and outline how they work.

Using An Air Source Heat Pump At Home

Heat pumps at home will function most efficiently when there isn't a dramatic change between the inside and outside temperatures, much like how your fridge and freezer appliances will have to work much harder when the weather is hotter. 

Such is why air-source heat pumps work best when matched with other aspects, such as underfloor heating systems; floors are large surfaces that cover more areas than radiators so that they can provide the same amount of heat and lock it in. 

Air source heat pumps offer a lower heat output than gas or oil-fired boilers. Meaning they deliver heat fast and efficiently for a few years of its life expectancy, which, in terms of choosing between the two, the heat pump is a no-brainer. Typical oil or gas boilers fuelled heat your home in a more extended, slower fashion. 

Is It Worth Getting An Air Source Heat Pump?

Which Factors Affect The Cost Of Running Air Source Heat Pumps?

Its installation and set-up isn't the only cost you need to pay mind to when it comes to your air source heat pumps. You must consider the annual costs and monthly costs of operation too! Many manufacturers and plumbers cannot guarantee a definite, fixed price for your running cost as it will differ for families all across the UK, from door to door.

We recommend learning about these factors to maximise your electrical energy savings without compromising on quality or peak efficiency.  Two essential factors have a significant impact on the running cost of your air source heat pump, they are: 

Heat demand

The heat demand is the amount of heat you require for your property to function at optimal temperatures.

It can vary from property to property depending on the appliances you have in your home and the number of inhabitants living in the building.

Air source heat pump efficiency

The efficiency refers specifically to the ASHPs ability to provide comfortable heat levels to your home or property with as little electricity as possible.

Often this aspect of an air source heat pump is referred to in the industry as COP (Coefficient of Performance).

What Is The Cost Of Air Source Heat Pump Installation?

You must also factor in those costs for those fitting new air distribution systems, underfloor heating or enhanced wall or loft insulation. Heat pumps can lose some of their efficiency, making them less effective for a household or property, especially if your home is poorly-insulated or draughty. You'll find that by incorporating these aspects, you'll achieve the best prices for your heat pump operation. 

Air Source Heat Pump Running Costs

COP (Coefficient of Performance) is one of the aspects you must master when assessing the air source heat pump's running cost. Ratings curated based on the amount of heat generated are offered for those with air source heat pumps installed in their UK homes.

Every kilowatt of electricity input is what makes up the running costs. It is far better if your COP is lower; that way, you'll be using up much less electricity to generate the heat necessary to create comfort for you and your household.

An example of the calculation:

For each 1kWh of electricity generated, your heat pump will produce approximately 3kWh of household heat. The standard annual electricity demand from homeowners across the UK is typically 12,000kWh.

If we divide these numbers (12,000kWh ÷ 3kWh = 4,000kWh of electricity.

4,000kWh of electricity units are priced at £0.13 each; its final price will come to £520 annually.

How To Save On ASHP Running Costs

Numerous incentives are delivered and established by the UK government to promote renewable heating systems. You can qualify for any legal incentive when you begin installing forms of renewable heating technology, such as Octopus Energy Group products, into your household or property, for example, an air source heat pump.

Take full advantage of the RHI scheme, as this will allow you to reduce the cost of installation and any running costs you may currently be paying.

You must follow these tips to boost your heat pumps efficiency:

  • You can prevent heat loss by installing double or triple glazing on your windows.
  • Heat will be retained and no longer escape through the wall or roof if you install insulation in your wall cavities and your loft.
  • We recommend keeping your windows closed in the cold weather or colder seasons to avoid icy drafts.
  • We recommend installing a solar PV system or choosing a cheaper electricity supplier.
  • Consider installing underfloor heating or larger radiators.
  • Another way to ensure your heat pump system is always maintained and efficient is to ensure you have annual system checks. We recommend doing this each year throughout the 15+ year lifespan of your air source heat pump. That way, professional plumbers can check your system and repair any significant faults that could disrupt the airflow.

What Is An Air Source Heat Pump?

Many home heating systems across the UK are manufactured to convert electricity into heat or to burn fuel to use as heat for your home or property.

However, heat pumps are different because they don't generate heat, it simply moves and transfers energy from outside from cool to hot and back to cool again.

The transfer makes the whole appliance more energy-efficient and allows them to deliver homes plenty more heat energy than standard electrical appliances.

Overall, your heat pump system will often cost less to run than those with traditional heating systems that burn fossil fuels, which is why many in the UK are now switching their household heating method.

How Does An Air Source Heat Pump Work?

Air source heat pumps are incredibly efficient, and they work in the following way:

  1. Firstly, the air outside gets blown through a network of tubes filled with a refrigerant, a fluid used in the refrigeration cycle of heat pumps and air conditioning systems.
  2. The tubes help warm the refrigerant, turning the liquid into a gas.
  3. The compressor is what the gas passes through after entering the system, increasing its pressure and adding more electricity or heat.
  4. The compressed hot gas then passes into a heat exchanger, which is surrounded by water or cool air.
  5. The transfer into air or water makes it warmer, increasing the heat each time.
  6. The hot water and air are what circulate around your home and offer the home or water heating you need.
  7. Finally, the refrigerant will condense the unused air back into a liquid, cooling it down and beginning the cycle again. 

What To Consider When Upgrading To An Air Source Heat Pump

When considering upgrading your gas or electric heating system, there are many factors to assess. Air source heat pumps have their pros and cons, and it's paramount to think about both before investing and installing:

-Air source heat pump advantages

Air source heat pumps have a lot of advantages to familiarise yourself with before purchase and installation:

  • They are highly efficient appliances that produce hot water and heat throughout your home.
  • Using your heat pump with a renewable tariff can double down on your carbon footprint and carbon taxes.
  • Essentially, it is a more eco-friendly alternative.
  • You can closely match the low running costs against other central heating systems for households across the UK.
  • The new Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) can help offset the overall installation costs.
  • Heat pumps, whilst challenging in terms of the duration, can be far easier to install than a ground source heat pump as there is little to no groundwork to be completed in your garden.
  • They provide cooling in the summertime, unlike other heating systems available.
  • Air source heat pumps are incredibly low-maintenance and offer an extended service lifespan.

-Air source heat pump disadvantages

On the other hand, air-source heat pumps do have their disadvantages, including:

  • Your radiators will often only feel warm and not hot to-the-touch.
  • Heat pump systems are great for keeping a consistent ambient warmth about your property; however, they aren't sufficient for boosting heat.
  • Whilst they can generate a good amount of heat, they often struggle with keeping heat locked in your home.
  • You may want to consider upgrading the level of insulation in your home, particularly underfloor heating. Doing so will help lock in the heat curated and ensure running costs stay low.
  • Installation of heat pumps isn't always the quickest process and can often take around 3-8 days to complete.
  • You'll require plenty of space inside and outside your home to keep hot water tanks and allow the air to circulate. 

How Can An Air Source Heat Pump Make You Money?

With your air source heat pump, you can save tremendous amounts of money on your energy bills compared to a standard gas or electric heating system.

You can simultaneously reduce a great deal of carbon footprint and running energy costs. One of the most significant advantages that comes with investing in an air source heat pump is its immense versatility and affordability.

Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS)

The RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) is a scheme that ended on the 31st of March 2022, and it is not scheduled to make a return. By government law, we've already begun to transition into a period known as the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS), which was commissioned on the 1st of April 2022.

From that specific date, many homeowners across England and Wales will have been able to purchase a heat pump for around £5,000 off the cost or ground source heat pumps with at least £6,000 off the cost.

Such a government grant helps rid the barrier to entry for those who could struggle to pay approximately £10,000 to overhaul their heating system.

It's the most prominent reason for saving money over your heat pump's lifetime; however, since its government grant, it has received deficient financial backing.

Renewable Heat Incentive(RHI)

Previously, before the 31st of March 2022, homeowners with heat pumps could apply for the RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) scheme. Such would allow them the funds they have saved on energy and gas bills and carbon footprint for utilising an air source heat pump in their home.

However, since the deadline is now up, any late applications could be unsuccessful.

Those that were successful will have received their quarterly payments for the next seven years; the system will have catered the payment amount towards the amount of electricity produced by your heat pump.

The current tariff for RHI payments is a weighty 10.92p per kWh generated, which is a relatively impressive return considering that the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), which is a government-backed initiative paying solar panels power an approximate 5.57p per kWh at maximum.

For those that use the 3,044kWh to heat an average-sized home using your heat pump efficiently, the government will grant you £332.40 per year, as they acknowledge your investment is helping to fight climate change.

That added factor will mean that the total running cost of your heat pump is approximately £218.48 each year, which is ultimately 2.3 times cheaper than a standard or old gas boiler heating system.  For further information or free quotes, we recommend contacting your local plumbers and engineers, and they'll be able to provide the details you require. 

Are you considering air source heat pump installation in Essex, Suffolk and the surrounding areas? We have years of experience in providing tailored energy-efficient and affordable home heating solutions. So if you need any further assistance  with air source heat pumps, follow the link below.