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Is It Worth Getting An Air Source Heat Pump

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  • Air Source Heat Pumps, Energy Costs, Heating
  • Posted date:
  • 16-08-2022
Is It Worth Getting An Air Source Heat Pump

Should I get an Air Source Heat Pump? In this article we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of Air Source Heat Pumps to help you conclude whether purchasing one is the right option for you.

Are Air Source Heat Pumps Worth It?

Residents of the UK use many appliances to heat their home or property, primarily through the two main types; gas and electric. However, air-source heat pump systems are another slightly more environmentally friendly way of producing stored heat. There are a vast number of reasons why heat pumps are worth the investment, for example:

Are Air Source Heat Pumps Expensive To Run?

The changing cost of energy

Air source heat pumps are often 300%-500% higher in efficiency than gas and oil boilers; however, they are predominantly powered using electricity, which currently costs around 28p per kWh in the UK.  Yet, times are drastically changing; wholesale gas prices are rapidly rising by approximately 335% over the previous year and are only getting higher as we enter a period of inflation. 

The average gas prices in 2030 are estimated to be 50% higher according to the CCC (Climate Change Committee), which is far more expensive than what it is currently.  As the cost of gas grows substantially, electricity is only getting cheaper. Many involved in these predictions have not included such calculations for 2050, yet the UK government's NIC (National Infrastructure Commission) estimates that the cost of electricity could rise to 12.8p per kWh. 

Such inane predictions are shifting the UK resident's opinions and gearing them towards a more renewable energy alternative to gas boilers, which is a no-brainer. You can save more money by investing in solar panels that will provide efficient power to suit your electricity and heat pump needs. 

Government grants

The RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) is a government grant that has been closed since the end of March 2022.  For those that gained access to the RHI before this, the UK government will offer quarterly payments for roughly seven years. The electricity estimate of your heat pump is the amount you would likely receive. 

The previous RHI tariff was approximately 10.92p per kWh, which is often looked upon highly compared to the top rate gained with Smart Export Guarantee, which is 5.57 kWh.   Since April 2022, it has been replaced with the BUS scheme, which will successfully dwindle the costs of your air-source heat pump installation from local installers, reducing them by £5,000. It will also reduce new ground heat pump prices to around £6,000.   

Your air-source heat pump generally costs around £10,000 to purchase and have installed outside and inside your home. However, this is largely dependent on the central heating system set up in your property or household, the costs can begin to rise.  Heating your property or home with a gas boiler often costs around £27,500 over the course of 20 years; however, using a standard air-source heat pump can save around £100, as the overall cost in 20 years amounts to £27,400.   

We recommend that professionals thoroughly replace your heat pump every 20 years, but you must consider replacing new gas boilers within the next 10 years; otherwise, they could become inefficient, faulty or dangerous. To deliver heat to your home using a gas appliance will only mean that you are expected to pay another £3,250 whilst your non-existent heat pump would be entering the next decade of its lifetime.

Overall, a heat pump is far cheaper than current gas and electric prices in the UK. Low-income families can even invest in grants that will assist them in payments of their heat pump. 

The gas boiler ban

The natural gas boiler ban proposed by the eco experts has caused the creation of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS). It coincides with the target to install approximately 600,000 heat pumps in UK homes by 2028, yet the government have not committed to a specific date for the ban. 

 Eco Experts have refused to comment on the speculation or say whether any date was set for the ban. They have expressed their wishes to decarbonise heat and buildings by using and curating a comprehensive strategy that will reduce the burning of fossil fuels to such as extent. 

They want to ensure the transition into the new BUS system is affordable, fair and practical.    It now appears that they will put the gas boiler ban into action around 2035, meaning that hopefully, by 2040, there will be an almost complete stop to gas heating. Many Brits were enthusiastic about the news, and approximately 62% of UK residents said they would prefer the government to move away from gas as a means of heat by investing in more green technologies and power sources.   

Contact your local energy provider company if you wish to quicken the process by finding a heat pump that perfectly suits your home. The experts on board will get in touch, offering their best prices and competitive rates, alongside free quotes. 

Growing demand and increasing efficiency

When the government announced the BUS (Boiler Upgrade Scheme), they pointed out the increasing popularity of heat pumps among the general public.

Many explained that they expected numerous applicants to opt for air source heat pumps during the transition to heat more suitable for low carbon emission, as these are typically of a lower cost than other alternatives. It can usually reflect the heat pattern under the RHI, wherein 81.5% of domestic installations curated in 2019 that were due to air source heat pumps.   

It's highly likely that whilst the demand for ASHP systems rises, so will your supply, which means the manufacturers will drastically reduce their prices over the next few years.  Heat pumps will become even more energy-efficient and improved over the years. 

The average rate of the ASHP systems is approximately 300%, yet the most significant models have hit around 500%, meaning you would net far higher energy bill savings regarding the machine's lifetime. If you join these savings amounts with the impending gas boiler ban, it makes sense to purchase a heat pump. 

What Is an Air Source Heat Pump?

The air source heat pump is a box no more significant than an armchair and is effectively placed at the side of your property. It can dramatically transform the cold air outside your house into domestic hot water or heating that floods through your underfloor system and heat radiators.    

 It can convert air temperatures into degrees as low as -20°C, at which you can successfully provide hot water to use or store for a later date. They also work in reverse and produce cool air, much like those that use air-conditioning units in the heat of the summer months. 

You can even skilfully attach them to your property swimming pools and help heat the water of your indoor space.   

Technicians can professionally install ASHP systems in a few short days; the maximum time for a domestic installation is usually two days. Your air-source heat pumps work and can last approximately 20 days with minimum maintenance. Be sure to clean your system monthly and have professionals provide a yearly service, including essential inspections.  

Advantages of Air Source Heat Pumps

These are the key advantages of investing in air-source heat pumps that you should consider:

As they commonly utilise the air outside to cool or heat your house or property building, ASHP systems are recognised as a form of low-carbon heating. You can use heat pumps to significantly reduce your carbon emissions for those switching from electricity- or coal-based heating systems.

For those 3-4 units of energy produced using your air-source pump, only a single unit of the heat-generated electricity is utilised, making it an incredibly suitable alternative for lowering carbon footprint.

If you opt to switch to air-source heat pumps, you can reduce energy bills due to the amount of outside air required to provide heating and cooling in a well-insulated building. Your savings will become far more significant if you're transitioning from a coal-based or electric system. 

Whilst the upfront costs of the system are relatively high, you'll still receive a substantial amount from the RHI investments. With air-source heat pumps, you can save up to £1,335. The running costs of your ASHP will depend on various factors, such as the temperature of its heat source, its efficiency and the heat required.

By utilising the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), you can successfully receive payments through generating your own heat. You can save a great deal more on your electrical energy bills by efficiently using all the green energy grants you will get.    

The Domestic RHI scheme has since passed its extension deadline of 31st March 2022 for its consumers in England, Wales and Scotland and was replaced by the Clean Heat Grant in April 2022. 

Those who have installed a heat pump during this deadline will likely receive payments for each generated heating unit. The domestic RHI payments are usually calculated using the current RHI tariffs, your household energy demand and the SCOP of your heat pump.  

ASHP are multipurpose, as you can use them to cool and heat your property or household. It will all depend on the appliance's model; however, in the winter, they offer heating, and in the summer, they offer cooling. For cooling, you must ensure that your air source heat pump's COP is above 0.7. 

On the other hand, air-source heat pumps are incredibly efficient paired with underfloor heating or further loft insulation. If you wish to enhance your system and get the most out of it, we highly recommend a professional installation of underfloor heating. 

You can even utilise your air source heat pump to heat the water in your property or home, depending on your model. The temperature of your water heating system will have the most significant impact.

When heating water, your flow temperature must sit around 55°C; however, if your current system was only manufactured to suit space heating, your flow temperature should be around 35°C. For those searching for a system that can provide water and space heating, we recommend air source heat pumps (ASHP), which offer a flow temperature of around 55°C.

Air source heat pumps are ideal for the summer and winter due to their incredible Seasonal Coefficient of Performance (SCOP). COP allows professionals and manufacturers to accurately measure their heat pumps' efficiency by precisely assessing the power input required to produce the correct heat output for your household or property.  

The seasonal aspect of the COP means that you can adjust the efficiency; for example, if your heat pump typically runs at around 3.2 whilst the air outside is approximately above 7°C, it means your heat pump will be around 320% efficient regarding the kWh of electricity. The compressor and the fan systems will generate 3.2 kWh of heat.   

You may uncover slight fluctuations for those that run all year round, especially considering the outside temperature and the air-source heat pumps COP; despite this, they will still function efficiently. 

Some appliances take quite a while to install into your household or property; however, installing an air source heat pump can take approximately two days, which is far faster than the duration of installation for a ground source heat pump. Ground implies that your technicians will likely have to dig. 

Whilst many domestic air source heat pumps don't require any form of planning permission, we highly recommend checking the position of your appliances with your local authority before beginning your process. Its easy installation compiled with various other forms of building work, such as new builds and retrofits, allow you to bring down the costs of your entire installation.

To maintain your air source heat pumps, it's paramount that, much like any other household appliance like fires and existing boilers, your heat pumps must be properly maintained and serviced by a professional technician once a year. Plenty of heat pumps are low maintenance; however, you can still do a few things to enable maximum performance. 

You can begin by checking for system leaks, clearing the dust and leaves from your heat pump, checking your refrigerant levels, and cleaning your filters. Ensure a certified installer in your local area completes all technical or complex tasks.

Using the air source heat pumps, you don't require any fuel storage, as the fuel utilised is the air from outside. Unlike oil-fired boilers, which would require you to make or have extra or enough space within your property, allowing you to store the oil somewhere. 

You won't have to fork out additional costs and fuel delivery fees without relying on fuel, such as wood pellets or oil.

Disadvantages of Air Source Heat Pumps

These are the important disadvantages of investing in air-source heat pumps that you need to consider:

Heat pumps provide a far lower heat supply than other heating systems, such as oil and gas boilers. In this case, we highly recommend purchasing larger radiators, as the water that circulates inside your property's radiators is synced to the boiler and can often operate at far higher temperatures than ASHP systems, which operate at far lower water temperatures.

Air-source heat pumps are often paired with underfloor heating, allowing you to get the most out of your heat pump system, as the insulation will effectively trap the air. In doing so, you don't require such high temperatures to function and therefore won't have to stand on floors reaching extreme heat of around 40°C.  

 Underfloor heating installation costs can make the overall price much higher, especially if you do not have any underfloor heating already installed in your home. 

To genuinely reap the complete benefits of the air source heat pump throughout your property, we highly recommend ensuring that your home has been well-insulated to lock in the heat passing and filtering through from the outside. Yet, this is true for all heating systems; even homes and properties with high-quality conventional boilers should ensure adequate insulation. 

Heat can quite easily escape from the household or property through walls, doors and windows, so you will require more energy to guarantee your space will stay warm.  

Although air-source heat pumps are sufficient at low temperatures around -20°C, they lose a great deal of efficiency when they pass temperatures of 0°C because the heat pumps are almost entirely dependent on the temperature of the air outside. If the temperature of the outdoor air drops, the heat output that your pump produces will ultimately drop. 

Comparatively, ground source heat pumps have their pipes buried below the surface. There is typically a more stable, consistent temperature and not as dramatically affected by harsh or cold climates.

For those that can acquire cheap mains gas to power their air source heat pumps, the price difference between the electricity and gas prices won't be too drastic. Heat pumps are an incredibly hefty investment for many households and company establishments. 

However, over time, the UK is beginning to focus on improving and increasing the number of heat pump installations by a significant amount, so homeowners can expect to see a rise in more low-carbon incentives to create a seamless switch.

Air source heat pumps, when running, are relatively noisy compared to a bog-standard air conditioner or the sounds of light-heavy rain. However, a broad number of companies and manufacturers known for their technological developments have reduced the noisiness of their products

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.