An air-source heat pump sources heat from the air outside your home and delivers heat to your radiators, underfloor heating and hot water circuits.
If you’re looking for an efficient way to generate your own heat, an air source heat pump can be an attractive option. In addition to being energy-efficient and cost-effective, air-source heat pumps are fairly easy to install and they can help you to reduce your energy bills. But the benefits don’t stop there. If you get an air source heat pump installed between April 2022 and April 2025, you may be eligible for a grant through the government-run Boiler Upgrade Scheme towards the cost of replacing your gas boiler with a low-carbon heating system.
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How Do Air Source Heat Pumps Work?
An air source heat pump works similar to a fridge but instead of extracting heat from its inside using refrigerant, the heat pump extracts heat from the outside air. Put simply, an air source heat pump operates like a fridge in reverse. The heat pump is installed outside, usually at the back or side of a property so that it can absorb heat from the air. It absorbs heat from the air at a low temperature and transforms it into a fluid, and this fluid is then passed through a compressor where its temperature is increased using electricity. When the fluid is warm, heat is sent to radiators or underfloor heating and the hot water circuits of a home.
We should mention that there are two different types of air source heat pumps to consider, including:
- Air-to-Water Heat Pumps: These systems take heat from the air outside and distribute the heat via a wet central heating system, and this heat can be used for heating a property or as a hot water supply. Air-to-water heat pumps are extremely efficient and they can even extract heat from the outside air at sub-zero temperatures.
- Air-to-Air Heat Pumps: One of the main differences between air-to-water heat pumps and air-to-air heat pumps is that air-to-air systems are not suitable for producing hot water, however, they are ideal for properties with large radiators or underfloor heating systems. They absorb heat from the outside air and convert the heat into warm air, which is circulated around a home using fans.
Find out more information on what air source heat pumps are, how they work and whether your property is suitable for one.
Air Source Heat Pump Prices
You can expect to pay anything between £5,000 and £11,000 to have an air source heat pump installed at your home, which is much cheaper than other types of heat pump systems like ground source heat pumps for example. As prices vary, we recommend you get a least a few quotes from different installers before agreeing to any work.
But there is a way to bring down the upfront cost of installing an air source heat pump. A government scheme to encourage householders in England and Wales to switch to low-carbon heating systems is offering up to £5,000 towards the cost of a new air-source heat pump. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme replaces the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and runs from April 2022 to April 2025.
The running costs will depend on multiple factors, such as the age and size of your property and the insulation of your home. What we can tell you is that you can save money on your energy bills by installing an air source heat pump, depending on the fuel you are currently using to run your existing heating system. If you want to replace oil, coal or electric heating system, your fuel bills will be lower when you switch to an air source heat pump system. However, if you use an efficient gas boiler at the moment, an air source heat pump won’t save you much money but it can still help to lower your carbon footprint.
The table below enables you to see the potential savings that could be obtained when you switch to an air source heat pump.
|Existing System||Annual Energy Savings or Increase in Bills|
|G-rated gas boiler||Saving of £395 to £425|
|A-rated gas boiler||Increase of £95 to £100|
|Old electric storage heaters||Saving of £920 to £1,000|
|New electric storage heaters||Saving of £520 to £560|
|G-rated oil boiler||Saving of £500 to £550|
|A-rated oil boiler||Increase of £80|
|G-rated LPG boiler||Saving of £1,200 to £1,300|
|A-rated LPG boiler||Saving of £380 to £410|
|Coal system||Saving of £315 to £350|
The figures in the above table have been sourced from the Energy Saving Trust website and are based on fuel prices as of April 2020.
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Air Source Heat Pump Maintenance
A good quality air source heat pump requires very little maintenance and it should operate efficiently for well over 20 years. You can do some simple checks to ensure the pump is in good working order, like changing the filters and removing leaves and debris from the pump. It’s important to check your heat pump often and perform regular maintenance to prolong the life of your system and to minimise the risk of problems.
Your air source heat pump also needs to be serviced by an accredited engineer to keep your warranty valid and to ensure your system keeps running safely and effectively.
Are Air Source Heat Pumps Suitable For All Homes?
The short answer is no, but an air source heat pump is a great option for most properties including new homes. There are, however, a few things to consider before you get one installed.
Is there enough outside space at your property?
Air source heat pumps need to be placed outside, so you must have enough free space at the back or side of your property for it to be installed. A nice sunny area is best, but be sure to get advice from a qualified installer.
Do you have a well-insulated home?
If you live in a well-insulated home, an air source heat pump is a great option for you. These heat pumps will be more effective if you have a draught-proofed home where energy efficiency measures have been implemented, like fitting double glazing windows and installing loft insulation.
Which heating fuel are you replacing?
Installing an air source heat pump can significantly lower your fuel bills, depending on which heating fuel you’re looking to replace. As we mentioned earlier, the financial benefits should be high if you’re replacing LPG, oil, electric or coal but not so great if you have a heating
a system that runs on gas.
If you’re looking at swapping your boiler for an air-source heat pump, find out what happens during the air source installation process.
Air Source Heat Pumps and Planning Permission
Planning permission is not usually required if you live in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, provided numerous limits and conditions are met. If you want to install an air source heat pump on a conversation area, non-domestic land or on land within a listed
building or World Heritage Site, you are likely to need planning permission. As separate acts apply to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, we recommend you get in touch with your local planning authority for advice before you make a final decision on whether to get an air source heat pump installed.
Advantages of Air Source Heat Pumps
Air source heat pumps offer an eco-friendly way of heating your home, and installing one can help to reduce your carbon footprint. Other advantages include:
- A reduction in your energy bills
If you want to switch from a coal, LPG, oil or an electric system, an air source heat pump could help to reduce your heating costs.
- Easy to install and low maintenance
A typical air source heat pump installation takes just a couple of days and is often much easier than a ground source heat pump installation. Air source heat pumps also have very few moving parts, so minimal maintenance is required and there’s less chance of you having to deal with breakdowns.
- Free up more interior space
Since an air source heat pump is installed outside, you don’t need to find any space for it indoors.
- No fuel deliveries and no fuel storage
Some boilers, such as oil-fired and biomass boilers, require fuel deliveries and enough space at your home to store the fuel. With an air source heat pump, you don’t have to worry about deliveries or storage as it only needs outside air and electricity to do its job.
- Can last for more than 20 years
Modern air source heat pumps have a long lifespan, typically lasting for 20 to 25 years. Yes, the initial cost can be expensive, but you can get some of your money back through the RHI scheme.
- Eligible for Boiler Upgrade Scheme grants of £5,000
If you live in England or Wales and own your home, you may be able to get £5,000 off the cost of a new air source heat pump through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme. The government is offering grants to all those eligible to help reduce the cost of installing more environmentally-friendly heating systems
Disadvantages of Air Source Heat Pumps
Even though air source heat pumps are highly efficient and can help to cut the cost of your bills, they do have some drawbacks. The disadvantages of installing an air source heat pump include:
- Take longer to heat up than conventional boilers
Although intelligent and able to check the temperature inside and outside to ensure each room is at the correct temperature, an air source heat pump can take more time to heat your home than a boiler. Air source heat pumps work more efficiently at a lower temperature, so your installer might advise you to install bigger radiators to achieve a comfortable temperature in each room.
- Important to have a well-insulated home
As mentioned above, air source heat pumps emit low temperatures consistently, which means your home needs to be draught-proofed and well-insulated for the heat pump to be effective.
- You may need to apply for planning permission
Having said that, you might not. The only way to know for certain and to make sure you don’t break any planning rules is to contact your local planning authority.
- Can be unattractive
Air source heat pumps are a similar size to an air conditioning unit, so they aren’t huge but they must be installed outside, usually at the back or side of a property. As these systems are not particularly attractive, placement needs to be considered carefully.
Best Air Source Heat Pump Manufacturers and Prices
The table below lets you compare some of the best air source heat pumps on the market and their prices.
|MANUFACTURER||AIR SOURCE HEAT |
|OUTPUT||EFFICIENCY RATING||TYPICAL PRICE|
|CTC||EcoAir 510M||2 – 10kW||A++||Unknown|
|Daikin||Altherma 3||4 – 8 kW||A++||£4,200 – £4,750|
|Grant||Aerona³ R32||6 – 17 kW||A++||£2,700 – £5,400|
|Hitachi||Yutaki S||4.3 – 24 kW||A+++||£3,065 – £8,100|
|LG||Therma V R32||5 – 16 kW||A++||£3,255 – £5,000|
|Mitsubishi||Ecodan QUHZ||4.5 kW||A++||£5,815|
|NIBE||F2040||6 – 16 kW||A+++||£3,775 – £8,400|
|Samsung||EHS Mono||5 – 16 kW||A+++||£3,385 – £5,720|
|Vaillant||aroTHERM||5 – 15 kW||A++||£3,770 – £6,500|
|Viessmann||Vitocal 200-A||4.2 – 11.8 kW||A+++||£6,080 – £9,990|
|Panasonic||Aquarea T-Cap||9 – 16 kW||A+++||£3,840 – £7,090|
Please note, the prices in the table do not include installation fees.
Air source heat pumps from CTC have best-in-class energy efficiency ratings and work incredibly well in well-insulated homes with large radiators and wet underfloor heating systems. The EcoAir is CTC’s newest range of air-to-water heat pumps that offer ultra-efficient and low noise heating and can help keep your property at the perfect temperature throughout the entire year.
Daikin Altherma air source heat pumps are air-to-water solutions that achieve up to A+++ energy efficiency and are powered by 75% renewable energy from the air and just 25% electricity. There are five types of Altherma air source heat pumps to choose from, and Daikin’s unique designs ensure all indoor and outdoor units operate quietly. They can also provide a total solution for domestic heating and hot water and even be combined with solar collectors to increase efficiency and hot water energy savings.
The Aerona³ R32 air-to-water heat pumps from Grant combine exceptional value, reliability and performance. Installer friendly and easy to maintain, Grant air source heat pumps operate with low noise levels, and both the 13kW and 17kW models have been awarded by Quiet Mark. As Grant has included four output sizes in the range, it’s easy to find a model to suit your requirements. And if you hire a G1 Installer who is accredited to fit the Aerona³ R32 heat pump, you can access a 7-year guarantee.
Hitachi has developed the Yutaki range of air-to-water heat pumps to provide you with the leading climate control technology you need to achieve a comfortable room temperature all year round. Each model in the range is quiet with very low sound levels and can provide up to 5kW of energy for every 1kW of electricity generated in a well-insulated home. Designed to adapt to you and your living space, Hitachi’s elegant renewable heating systems come in a range of outputs and water temperatures and offer unbeatable efficiency and reliability.
The LG Therma V air-to-water heat pump range includes Monobloc, Hydrosplit, and low temperature and high-temperature versions to suit your heating and hot water requirements. They use 75% natural energy and 25% electricity and can significantly reduce CO2 emissions and running costs compared to oil and gas boilers. LG air source heat pumps come with a standard warranty of 3 years or an extended warranty of 7 years when installed by an engineer who has successfully passed the LG Therma V technical product training course.
Mitsubishi’s range of Ecodan air source heat pumps boasts award-winning low noise levels and delivers highly efficient space heating and hot water whenever you need it. With an A++ energy rating across the range, they are fantastic alternatives to traditional gas boilers and some of the most advanced renewable heating systems available for homeowners and businesses today. No matter whether you live in a small flat or a large detached property, the Ecodan air source heat pump from Mitsubishi is effective in saving on running costs and reducing CO2 emissions.
NIBE says that when you switch from a traditional heating system that burns fossil fuels to one of its air source heat pumps, you can start enjoying savings from the first month. Its heat pumps can also immediately deliver an environmental payback in the form of reduced emissions and energy consumption. NIBE currently offers two air source heat pumps, including the F2040 and the F2300, which are available in a range of outputs to suit all property types and every need.
The Aquarea range of air source heat pumps from Panasonic is based on air-to-water heat pump technology and offers different options to ensure the most appropriate choice for your home and needs. Panasonic air source heat pumps are built with high-quality components and provide ideal temperatures and hot water, even in low temperatures and extreme conditions. They’re also reliable, easy to use and quiet in operation, and you can use them to cool your property if you wish.
The Samsung air source heat pump range has been named EHS, which is short for Ecological and Economical Heating System. They are air-to-water heating systems that use innovative heat pump technology and provide various combinations of air and water solutions to satisfy your heating and hot water needs. There are three versions in the range to choose from, such as the EHS Mono, the EHS Split and the EHS TDM, and Samsung’s air source heat pumps are available in sizes ranging from 4kW to 16kW.
Trusted boiler manufacturer Vaillant has been a household name for decades and is now committed to helping households make the right renewable technology choices. The brand is proud to offer its aroTHERM air source heat pump range which is designed to safeguard homeowners against fluctuations in energy prices and help them reduce not just their carbon footprint but also their heating bills. With various outputs and options available, you won’t have any trouble finding a Vaillant air source heat pump to match your heating and hot water requirements.
Viessmann is a leading manufacturer of renewable energy systems, including high-efficiency air source heat pumps for our UK homes. Many of Viessmann’s heat pumps not only provide warmth during the colder months but also feature active and natural cooling functions to keep your home cool throughout the summer. In addition to delivering impressive levels of efficiency and performance, Viessmann air source heat pumps are barely audible units and can be controlled remotely using a tablet or smartphone.