Heat From Air

Top 10 Myths About Air Source Heat Pumps.

Top 10 Myths About Air Source Heat Pumps.

Although the principle behind the functioning of a heat pump has been known for decades, developing a cost-efficient device that would actually turn the surrounding thermal energy into heat while appealing to consumers, became possible just recently.

Much of the heat pumps’ growing popularity has been spurred by the ongoing concern for the environment and the uncertainty regarding oil and gas prices. Findings by Statista have found that the price of gas in the United Kingdom is forecast to amount to 3.2 British pounds pence per therm in 2023/24, a large increase when compared with 2021/22 where it was at 0.91, with oil prices following a similar pattern too!

Around 250,000 heat pumps are currently operational in the UK and the government has pledged for 600,000 to be installed per year by 2028. More and more people appear to actively embrace the use of renewable energy technologies for a number of reasons, ‘zero emissions’ heating being one of these.

In the context of growing demand for clean, reliable, and sustainable solutions when it comes to household heating, the heat pump is among the few technologies capable of meeting the expectations of quality and cost-efficient heating. Thus, the increased interest in heat pumps we are witnessing today should not come as a big surprise, on the contrary, it proves that the pumps are as reliable as conventional heating systems.

Busting the myths about Air Source Heat Pumps.

In order to promote a better understanding of the functioning of a heat pump and how you can benefit from installing one, we decided to shed light on the 10 most wide-spread misconceptions about heat pumps. In doing so, we aim to clear up some of the confusion surrounding the systems and make it easier for you to decide if it is worthy or not to buy a heat pump.

Myth 1: "Heat pumps are too expensive."

Although the pump’s price and the installation expenses can significantly strain your budget in the beginning, a properly installed heat pump will help smash energy costs with the payback period spanning from 5 to 7 years (given that the heating system you are replacing runs on oil, LPG, solid fuel, or electricity).

You might expect to pay between £8,000 – £18,000 to install an air source heat pump and between £20,000 – £35,000 for installing a ground source heat pump (depending on the extent of the excavation works). Nevertheless, if you are eligible for the BUS (Boiler Upgrade Scheme), you’ll be entitled to a government-subsidised grant of £5000 for the initial installations costs.

Myth 2: "Air source heat pumps are noisy."

Back in the days, when heat pumps were just emerging on the market, they used to be bulky, unattractive, and quite noisy. Today, a modern air source heat pump integrates the latest technologies in terms of noise reduction and energy efficiency enhancement. Thus, the noise an air source heat pump makes is comparable to the one that comes from a home refrigerator.

The distinctive sound it makes is due to the pump’s fan pulling the air through the system, which shall not be heard indoors if the pump is properly installed. If your air source heat pump is producing a louder noise than usual, please get in touch with the team and we’ll happily sort this for you!

Myth 3: "Heat pumps are not efficient during cold winters."

Due to the constant temperatures of the underground layers it takes the heat from, a ground source heat pump is capable of ensuring an efficiency rate that is consistent all year round, regardless of the outside weather conditions.

In contrast, the cost-efficiency of an air source heat pump is directly influenced by the outside temperatures, given that a pump like this extracts heat from the outside air masses. The efficiency of an air source heat pump will gradually diminish with the decrease in outside temperature levels. Still, given the relatively mild winters in the UK and the latest technological advancements in the field of thermodynamics, an air to air or air to water heat pump can work effectively at temperatures down to -15 degrees Celsius.

Myth 4: "Heat Pumps need to be operating all of the time."

Compared to previous versions, the latest heat pump models that are currently available on the market, boast higher heat outputs and subsequently, increased efficiency rates. Thus, if your house has proper insulation (which is drastically important) and your heat pump is installed accordingly, you’ll be able to operate it like any other heating system.

You can turn it off or on whenever you find it necessary. The difference lies in the speed at which a heat pump delivers its output. A heat pump is not able to ensure instant heating all the time and instead, it warms the building gradually, depending on the heating mode that is selected.

Myth 5: "Air Source Heat Pumps work with underfloor heating only."

Although a heat pump is more efficient if connected to an underfloor heating system, this does not mean that it won’t work if coupled with commonplace radiators. Still, in order to make sure that you are getting the most out of your air source heat pump, it is recommended to use large radiators over traditional ones which are intended for high-temperature heating.

Even with standard size radiators, you’ll still be able to ‘reap the benefits’ of an air source heat pump heating, as long as you make sure that your house heat loss is reduced to a minimum. Similarly for ground source heat pumps, they work best with underfloor heating but are still excellent with traditional modern-day radiators.

Myth 6: "An Air Source Heat Pump cannot be installed in existing buildings."

What is so appealing about heat pumps is that, even if it is a complex heating system, it can be easily fitted into different property types. From old historical buildings to new cosmopolitan apartments. Air source heat pumps are great retrofits, both air and ground source heat pumps can be installed in existing buildings.

In the former case, a site review will be needed before installing a pump, to reduce the property’s thermal needs due to inadequate insulation.

Myth 7: "Air Source Heat Pumps take up a lot of space."

Whilst a heat pump integrates many external components, like underground loops, outdoor air compressor, pipes, etc. it doesn’t take much space, because most of the pump’s units are hidden from view.

In the case of a ground source heat pump, all the loops (otherwise known as heat collectors) are hidden underground, at depths of 20-30 cm (if it is a horizontal loop system) and 50-70m (when using boreholes).

When it comes to air source heat pumps, their external units are a little bigger than the standard air conditioner compressors (depending on the pump’s capacity). Inside the house, the pump’s heat distribution network is not much different from the one used in conventional heating systems. The air to water system utilises a hot water cylinder which again can be discreetly installed into the building architectural design.

In the case of an underfloor heating system, there is even less space needed, whereas all the pipes and fittings are hidden beneath the floor.

Myth 8: "Heat pumps can be used for heating only."

The modern heat pump systems can provide both heating during the cold season, and cooling during the hot summer days. For this purpose, most of the heat pumps are equipped with a reversing valve, which if turned in one or another direction will reverse the flow of the coolant that is pumped throughout the system.

In addition to this, heat pumps can provide hot water as well, which can be used for a number of house-related activities like bathing or washing.

Myth 9: "A heat pump needs frequent maintenance works."

Although a heat pump requires more attention and financial resources in the beginning (especially if it is a ground source heat pump), once installed it won’t need frequent maintenance works to be carried out.

Since a heat pump does not run-on flammable fuels, it proves safer than a traditional heating system that runs on gas, oil, or LPG. Nevertheless, it is highly recommended to have the heat pump checked by an expert at least once every two years. It is even more important to undertake these regular checks if you are operating a ground source heat pump, which ground collectors should be checked for cracks or perforations in order to prevent any leakages.

Check out our guide of maintenance tips and tricks and how to look after your heat pump correctly!

Myth 10: "Heat pumps are money wasters."

When compared to an ordinary gas boiler or a conventional heating system that runs on oil, LPG or coil, a heat pump (be it an air source or ground source heat pump) can save you up to 30% on energy bills.

The extent to which you can save on heating will very much depend on how well your house is insulated, they system you are changing from and if you are using underfloor heating or standard size radiators to distribute the heat throughout the house. In the coldest days of the winter, when outside temperatures can fall below the -5 degrees mark and stay there for extended periods of time, a heat pump might prove less efficient than a modern gas boiler, all the more a condensing boiler.

Nonetheless, given the relative mildness of the British winters, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about the heat pump’s efficiency rate.

So there we have it, the top 10 myths and misconceptions about heat pumps. If you have decided to purchase a heat pump, but you are not sure which type/manufacture you would like, we are ready to help you. Get in touch with the team at Heat From Air and let us design a bespoke green heating solution for your home or commercial property today. After all, your green future starts here!

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