Heat Pumps For Homes: What Are The Advantages?

Air source heat pumps (ASHP) are in the media more and more nowadays.  The impact they could have on this country’s energy needs and carbon footprint is substantial.  Many experts in the industry believe heat pumps, and air source heat pumps in particular, will be the most likely form of heating for future homes.  Here, we

look at the advantages of air source heat pumps that make them so appealing to install in your house.

The Advantages of Air Source Heat Pumps

  • Air source heat pumps are energy efficient.
  • Save money on your energy bills.
  • They reduce your carbon footprint.
  • You can receive grants to have them installed.
  • Safer than gas or oil heating.
  • The radiators on an ashp system are not too hot to touch.
  • They can be used for both heating and cooling.
  • They can work in low temperatures just as well.
  • Low maintenance and service costs.
  • They have a long lifespan.
advantages of air source heat pump in a house

What are Air Source Heat Pumps?

ASHP are a renewable energy source that take the heat from the air outside and transfer it to give heating and hot water inside a building.  They can also be used to cooling in a home.  

An air source heat pump is usually located outside the building and it has two parts, an outdoor and an indoor unit. The outdoor part collects heat from the air while the indoor one transfers this heat inside.

How do Air Source Heat Pumps work?

A typical heat pump system has two main components which are connected by a refrigerant line.  To heat your home in the winter, the outdoor unit pulls heat from the outside air.  This air goes through a refrigerant coolant that is compressed to increase the temperature even more.  This heat is then passed through to the home.

In the summer to cool your home, the process is reversed.  The outdoor unit passes the refrigerant to the indoor unit which has an evaporator coil.  The refrigerant absorbs the warm air in your home and transfers it outside, which dehumidifies and cools your home.

In the past air source heat pumps were known for their poor efficiency and performance issues in cold climates, as well as being extremely loud.  But that is in the past.  Now there are so many benefits of installing these systems that you will want to look at them with fresh eyes.

If you want to check out some of the disadvantages of heat pumps, you can see them on this page.

Benefits of Air Source Heat Pumps

They are energy efficient

It’s important to know that heat pumps don’t generate heat, but they move it from one place to another, which is why they are so energy efficient.  So if you already have electric heating, you will find that heat pumps are more efficient. 

Save money on your energy bills

Because they are more efficient than other forms of electric heating, they will help you save on your energy bill overall.  Although they use electricity themselves, the amount of heat produced outweighs the amount that is used.  The energysavingtrust website shows the annual fuel bill savings for these systems.

heat pump heat a whole house

Reduce your carbon footprint

If you are switching from fossil fuel based heating sources, such as natural gas or LPG boiler, you will be reducing your carbon footprint.  It is an even more environmentally friendly option when you consider they can work with solar panels fitted on the home, unlike a gas boiler.

You can get financial grants to have them installed

The government wants consumers to switch to cleaner energy usage and so offer grants and discounts to homeowners.  Currently, the Boiler Upgrade Scheme from the UK government offers people grants to replace their old gas boilers with heat pumps.  The grants usually are enough to cover the difference in cost if you were to install a new gas central heating system.  So in this way, you don’t lose out financially by having air source heat pumps installed.

Safer than gas heating

Boilers running on natural gas not only have the potential to risk fires and explosions, but if they are not working properly, have the potential to cause carbon monoxide poisoning.  ASHP systems aren’t run on fossil fuels so they are inherently safer than gas or oil boilers.

Very quiet operation inside and outside the building

Air source heat pumps are thought to be loud when turned on.  But with modern technology, the heat pumps are very quiet so do not cause noise pollution to the owners or neighbours.  Inside the home, they work as quietly as an air conditioner.

The radiators are not too hot to the touch

Gas central heating radiators can be very hot to touch when turned on full.  This isn’t the case with ASHP radiators because the flow temperature to them is much lower.  So you won’t have issues like stained fabrics or scalded hands.

They can be used for both heating and cooling

A very big advantage of these heat pumps is that they can be used to provide heating in winter and cooling in summer.  The process of obtaining heat from the outside air in winter is reversed in summer, so the heat inside homes is transferred out and replaced with cooler air.

Air source heat pumps can work in low temperatures

Because they obtain heat from outside air, people assume they can’t work in low temperatures.  But this just isn’t true.  They have been tested to work efficiently in cold climates, even when the temperature has dropped to -20⁰C.

photo of air source heat pump maintenance

Low maintenance and servicing costs

ASHP systems are generally low on maintenance and servicing costs compared to gas or oil systems.  The warranty may require annual servicing but once this has elapsed, you won’t need to do an annual service with an engineer.  Regular checking of the vents and filters by yourself should keep the unit running efficiently.

They have a long lifespan

With annual servicing and proper maintenance, your air source heat pump can last at least as long as a gas boiler, and in many cases longer than that, up to 20 years.  This is because there aren’t as many delicate moving parts in them as there are in a combi boiler.

If all these advantages and benefits of air source heat pumps have convinced you to find out more, you can find approved installers on the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) website.

Summary

In summary, the advantages of air source heat pumps are:

The main benefits of air source heat pumps, as well as being a clean form of energy, are that they can be used for both heating and cooling of the building in one unit.  They can also work just as efficiently in low temperatures, and they have low maintenance and service costs compared to other forms of heating.