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Do Air Source Heat Pumps Work in Old Houses?

Do Air Source Heat Pumps Work in Old Houses?

When it comes to upgrading the heating system in an old house, homeowners often face a multitude of options. One increasingly popular choice is the air source heat pump (ASHP), a renewable heating technology that extracts heat from the air and transfers it into a property.

However, there are concerns about whether air source heat pumps are suitable for older homes, which may have unique challenges and requirements. In this article, we will explore the feasibility of using air source heat pumps in old houses and address the key considerations.

Characteristics of Old Houses.

Old houses often possess certain characteristics that can make retrofitting a new heating system a complex task. These properties may have limited insulation, single-glazed windows, and potentially outdated or inefficient radiators.

These factors can result in higher heat loss and lower energy efficiency, which in turn affect the performance of any heating system, including air source heat pumps.

Nevertheless, air source heat pumps can still be a viable option for old houses, provided that certain factors are taken into account. Let’s delve into these considerations:

Insulation: Before installing an air source heat pump, it is crucial to assess the insulation in your old house. Upgrading insulation is an essential step in maximizing the effectiveness of ANY heating system. Adding insulation to walls, roofs, and floors can significantly reduce heat loss and improve energy efficiency, enabling the air source heat pump to operate more efficiently.

Heat Distribution: In an old house, the existing heating system may rely on radiators that are not optimally designed for use with heat pumps. It’s worth considering upgrading the radiators or installing underfloor heating to enhance the heat distribution. Underfloor heating provides a more even and comfortable heat distribution, complementing the lower temperature output of an ASHP. You can find out if air source heat pumps work with existing radiators here!

System Sizing: Properly sizing the ASHP system is crucial to ensure optimal performance. An assessment by a qualified professional will determine the correct capacity needed for your old house, taking into account factors such as the size of the property, insulation levels, and heat demand. Oversizing or under sizing the system can lead to inefficiencies and suboptimal performance. During our FREE site survey, we will provide heat loss calculations and help you understand everything you need to about your home and the heating system we are providing.

Compatibility with Existing Infrastructure: Air source heat pumps can work alongside existing heating systems. This compatibility allows homeowners to retain their current heating setup, such as boilers or radiators, while the air source heat pump provides supplementary heating. This approach can be particularly useful during the transition period and when dealing with exceptionally cold weather. Heat pumps are also a key player in helping commercial properties slash energy consumption with mechanical heat recovery ventilation systems!

Noise Considerations: Air source heat pumps generate some level of noise during operation. While this may not be a significant concern for many homeowners, it’s worth considering how the noise might impact your living situation, especially in an old house with thinner walls. Careful planning of the installation location and using noise-reducing measures, such as acoustic enclosures, can help mitigate this issue. If you want to find out how loud air source heat pumps actually are, click the link here!

Financial Considerations: Installing an ASHP involves an upfront investment. However, the long-term savings on energy bills and potential eligibility for government incentives, such as the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, can offset the initial costs by £5000. Assessing the financial feasibility and payback period is important when considering any heating system upgrade.

Why might Air Source Heat Pumps be less suitable for Old Houses?

You may have heard online the heat pumps are not suitable for older properties. This is incorrect. There are reason why people may think this however.. Firstly, poor insulation and lack of infrastructure are something that might make them unsuitable for old homes. Usually, old Victorian-style homes are made with stone or brick masonry, which does not provide very good insulation properties. Since, Air source heat pumps can only produce a moderate amount of heat efficiently, keeping up that heat in a less insulated environment would be a challenge but not impossible!

Old houses with infrastructure like old duct paper and iron radiators are not usually compatible with air source heat pumps. This is because these mediums require a high-temperature heating system that would overshadow the heat losses when transmitting heat. New central heating systems would need to be installed along side the air source heat pump!


While upgrading the heating system in an old house can present challenges, air source heat pumps can certainly be a viable option.

By addressing insulation, optimising heat distribution, correctly sizing the system, and considering compatibility and noise concerns, air source heat pumps can provide efficient and environmentally friendly heating to older properties.

Consulting with qualified professionals and conducting a comprehensive assessment of your specific situation will ensure the best outcome. Embracing renewable technologies like air source heat pumps not only benefits the environment but can also improve comfort levels and potentially reduce energy costs in the long run.

This is something we can help with. Make sure you get in touch and speak to a specialist from Heat From Air and arrange your FREE site survey. We will provide you with all the information specifically for your property with heat calculations and much more!

We hope you found this article informative, why not check out our other blogs whilst you’re here!

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