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Air Source Heat Pumps

Air source heat pumps: What Are They?

In any climate, air source heat pumps offer effective heating and cooling solutions for your house. A low-carbon technology, this kind of heat pump transforms solar energy from the outside air into electricity, which is used to heat homes.

Particularly for UK houses, domestic air source heat pumps are one of the least expensive and most cost-effective heating options. Check out our in-depth article on the benefits and drawbacks of air source heat pumps.

In fact, air source heat pumps hold an 87 percent market share of all heat pumps sold in the UK. They will go on to play a crucial role in the UK’s effort to achieve the Net Zero Target by 2050.

In its most recent special study, the International Energy Agency emphasises that no new gas boilers should be sold after 2025 if Net Zero targets are to be met by 2050. In the near future, heat pumps are anticipated to be a superior, low-carbon option for heating homes.

An air source heat pump installation can cost anywhere between £8,000 and £18,000 in total. These expenses depend on a variety of variables, such as:

    • How big your house is
    • Your home’s insulation quality
    • The pump’s manufacturer
    • Size of the pump
    • The pump’s effectiveness and efficiency

Are you looking to buy an air source heat pump? GreenSaving Network  offers you up to four estimates from trustworthy vendors. This service is cost-free and obligation-free. By completing the form, you may compare heat pumps right now.

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How Do Systems For Air Source Heat Pumps Operate?

A low-carbon heating system that uses the outside air to warm your house is an air source heat pump, or ASHP. They can be utilised for both space heating and hot water.

Refrigerant fluid and a loop are used to collect and absorb heat from the outside air. The air is compressed once the heat has been removed from it. The compressor does exactly what it says on the tin; it compresses, raising the temperature.

The heat exchanger, which distributes heat through piping to the required locations such as radiators, underfloor heating systems, hot water circuits, or air conditioners in the home, is another crucial component of the air source heat pump.

What Different Kinds of Air Source Heat Pumps Exist?

Two categories of heat pumps exist:

The type of heat pump determines the precise functionality.

Transferring air from one location to another is how air-to-air heat pumps produce energy. Electricity is required for this process. During the warmer months, heat is removed from the interior and released outdoors, making the interior of the house cooler. The heat pump serves as an air conditioner in this situation.

The pump draws air from the outside in cooler months. The air is heated as a result of the pump’s compression of the air. The residence will subsequently be warmed by the warmer air that will be released inside via an air conditioner.

Only space heating is offered by air to air heat pumps. The generated heat can, however, be utilised to heat water when paired with other heating systems, such as a boiler.

The method is shown in the interactive graphic below. You can click on toggle below to learn more information about the steps:

How does Air to air heat pump work ?

 An outside unit attracts heat from the surrounding air with fans, and afterward blows it over an intensity exchanger curl.

  The intensity is moved to a chilly coolant streaming in the curl. Because of its exceptionally low limit, the intensity just transforms the coolant into a somewhat warm fume.

  The somewhat warm coolant fume goes through a blower that builds its temperature and packs it to a denser fume.

  This hot coolant fume is then moved to the indoor unit(s) through inside channeling frameworks.

  The indoor unit smothers the intensity from the coolant to the indoor air with fans, in this way heating up the room.

  When the coolant has moved a portion of its intensity to the air, it cools once more into a fluid.

  The fluid coolant goes through a development valve, which compels it to relinquish a greater amount of its intensity and blend in with air, in this way making a fluid fume combination.

  The chilly fluid fume coolant combination is then coursed back to the open air unit, to be warmed once more.

On the other hand, air to water heat pumps can heat both the water and the area, making them the more adaptable type of heat pump. Because of this, it is also the model of air source heat pump that is employed more frequently in the UK.

However, air to water heat pumps transfer heat to the wet central heating system, such as radiators, underfloor heating, or showers, while both types operate essentially in the same way.

When used to supply a residence with heat and hot water, it uses hydronic technology and operates similarly to a boiler.

The method is shown in the interactive graphic below. You can click on each point to learn more information about the steps:

How does Air to water heat pump work ?

The outdoor unit absorbs heat from the surrounding air and transfers it to the refrigerant

  The compressor further increases the temperature of the coolant.

  The coolant transfers heat to the hot water storage tank through the heat exchanger.

  Hot water from the tank circulates to the house’s radiators and faucets.

Cold water is sent back to the storage tank.

The refrigerant is cooled by water and sent back to the outdoor unit for reheating.

Comparison of Air to Air and Air to Water Heat Pumps

Which of the two air source kinds available today is best for your home’s energy requirements? Using an external heat pump device, both air source kinds of heating absorb heat from the ambient air. Despite the fact that they may sound similar, they actually represent two quite different approaches to the problem of space and water heating.

Both of these require power to run the heat pump, although they are significantly more efficient than conventional heating systems. Air to air heat pumps are more frequently employed as air conditioners, whereas air to water heat pumps are used for water heating as well as space heating through the use of radiators and underfloor heating. Despite being less expensive to install than air to water heating systems, air to air heat pumps have a few drawbacks.

What Are an ASHP’s Benefits and Drawbacks?

Before making an investment, it’s crucial to be aware of the many advantages and disadvantages of air source heat pumps.

You may find a list of the benefits and drawbacks below:


  • Affordable capital expenses
  • Air to air and air to water systems both have simple installation procedures.
  • Energy-efficient heating system
  • High performance. Air source heat pumps function well without wasting energy, with an average COP of 3.2.
  • Low operating expenses translate into lower energy costs.
  • The Renewable Heat Incentive program’s eligibility


  • Water produced by condensed air may freeze at low temperatures, disrupting the heat flow.
  • The outside fan can be a little noisy.
  • Minimum tap water temperature is lower than it is with conventional heating systems.

Having a competent installer plan and install the air source heat pump system will help to avoid many of the disadvantages mentioned above. Remember that your heat pump needs to be properly maintained if you want to keep the efficiency high and the operating expenses low.

How Much Do Air Source Heat Pumps Cost?

Prices for air source heat pumps range from £1,500 to $8,000 per unit. Due to the several types of air source heat pumps (air to air and air to water), numerous brands, varying sizes, and different performance levels, there is a broad variety in pricing.

Costs of Air Source Heat Pumps

ASHP System Type Average Price
Air to water heat pump £8,000 – £18,000
Air to air heat pump £1,500 – £3,500

Based on current market rates, these costs are wide estimations. Always request quotations from several installers to acquire a more precise price.

If you decide to invest in a heat pump system, in this example an air source heat pump, you must consider installation and potential home modification costs.

The installation and operating expenses of an air source heat pump are difficult to estimate. These will vary based on a variety of elements, including your home’s size, insulation level, and desired room temperature.

The cost-effective and efficient air source heat pump. Although it is slightly more expensive than a condensing boiler, air source heat pumps are more affordable than ground source heat pumps. A ground source heat pump starts out 50 percent more expensive than an air source heat pump. Check out our specialised price guide for ground source heat pumps.

What Will It Cost for Installation?

Depending on your current heating system, air source heat pumps have different installation costs. Your installation costs will be greater if you require supplementary work, such as the installation of underfloor heating or the installation of new radiators. You should budget an extra £2,000 to £4,000 for this.

The full expenses, including labour and ancillary work, are often included when you receive a quote.

Air source heat pumps are widely used in the retrofit market since they are simple to install. Nevertheless, the price of installing an air source heat pump will increase if you also need to install new radiators or pipes.

What Are the Operating Expenses?

A heat pump’s operating expenses vary depending on a variety of variables:

    • Size of the system
    • A system’s effectiveness (SCOP)
    • The outdoor temperature
    • How much energy you use
    • The degree of insulation in your house
    • RHI rates

Size and effectiveness of the system itself will obviously be very important. It will need more energy and be more expensive to operate as its size increases. The system’s effectiveness must also be taken into account. You can read our analysis of how much you can save based on efficiency to learn more about this.

Although it is believed that air source heat pumps are more effective in warmer climes, this does not imply that they are not a good investment in colder regions. Similar to a thermodynamic water heating system, an air source heat pump can still extract heat from the air when the outside temperature is around -20°C, though less effectively.

At temperatures below 0°C, they typically begin to perform a little poorer. Fortunately, the average low temperature in the UK winters is only 0°C.

The insulation of your house and your individual energy requirements will also have an impact on the ongoing costs. To begin with, having good insulation in your home will help you make the most of your heating system (out of any heating system, as a matter of fact). Furthermore, how much heating you need will impact how much you pay in costs.

Finally, by utilising the Renewable Heat Incentive, you can reduce the operating costs of your air source heat pump.

Grant-Assisted Financing of a Heat Pump System

You are qualified to get some government assistance in the form of a heat pump grant if you choose to purchase an air source heat pump. You can apply for the Renewable Heat Incentive as the specified grant (RHI). Remember that the air source heat pump must be an air-to-water heat pump in order to qualify for this subsidy.

The UK government established this incentive on April 9th, 2014, to assist residential users of renewable energy sources in assisting the government in achieving environmental goals and targets. You are eligible to apply for this incentive if you are a homeowner, landlord, or home builder.

The RHI tariff rates are broken down by heating system in the following table.

RHI Rate
Heating System RHI Tariff
Air source heat pumps 10.92 p/kWh
Biomass boilers 7.01 p/kWh
Ground source heat pumps 21.92 p/kWh
Solar thermal 21.49 p/kWh

For Q1 2021/2022, these tariffs were modified. On the website of Ofgem, you can get more detailed information.

The government also offers a 5 percent VAT discount on goods that save energy, which includes air source heat pumps. To qualify, you must be at least 60 years old and receiving income-based disability benefits.

What Kind of Savings Can an ASHP Provide?

You will be able to save money and energy if you get an air source heat pump. This is a result of how effectively air source heat pumps generate energy. Up to £1,335 could be saved.

High Efficiency Result in Cost Savings

The Coefficient of Performance is used to determine how effective an air source heat pump is (COP). This refers to the heat pump’s maximum operating efficiency. The COP of most air source heat pumps ranges from 2 to 4, but it can occasionally reach 5.

The COP stands for the amount of heat that one kilowatt of electricity may generate. A 4 COP air source heat pump will generate 4 kilowatts of heat. In other words, the heat pump will provide you four times as much heat as electric heating would.

The typical air source heat pump has a COP of 3.2 when the outside temperature is around 7°C. The typical temperature in most of the UK ranges from 5 to 8°C. Accordingly, an air source heat pump will typically function well in the UK.

The effectiveness of your green house solution is crucial if you want to save money. One factor that affects operating expenses is efficiency. In terms of ongoing expenses, there are two other major players:

    • How much heat your home requires.
    • The maximum temperature that your energy source can produce.

An example: Savings on operating expenses

In this example, we’ll examine how much energy is typically required and used, as well as how much a family of four will pay in operating expenses. We will examine a 200 m2 detached home.

With an energy performance rating of 125 kW/year/m2, a 200 m2 house will most likely require roughly 25,000 kWh for heating.

With the current electricity price of 14.37p/kWh, the annual operating costs of an air source heat pump for a detached home, like the one from our main example, would be approximately £1,120. Then contrast this with your most recent energy bill.

An 85 percent efficient condensing boiler costs an average of £1005 a year to operate in a 200 square metre home. The cost of a boiler is £1,615.

In the UK, a typical house is 76 m2. Consequently, the operating costs for the majority of homes will likely be lower than those in our example.

How Can I Get Ready for an ASHP in My Home?

Prior to making the decision to purchase an air source heat pump, it would be wise to evaluate your current circumstances and the likelihood of making improvements.

Make Sure There Is Enough Room

Space is the first thing you should consider. The exterior module of air source heat pumps requires some room because it can either be mounted on a wall or placed on the ground. What matters is that the system requires some room to breathe because a decent airflow depends on it. As a result, it is best to position an air source heat pump close to a sunny wall.

Ensure That Your Insulation Is Adequate

Second, you should think about how well-insulated your house is. When a home is properly insulated, heat pumps will operate more efficiently. The home must be properly insulated and draught-proofed in order to maximise the performance of your air source heat pump.

Next, you need to consider the current energy source and the fuel it utilises.

Think about the heating system you are switching from. An air source heat pump will pay for itself much more quickly if the heating system in your home is currently powered by coal or electricity.

Additionally, you might want to consider your home’s heating systems. Due to the lower water temperatures required, buying an air to water heat pump may be more advantageous if it is combined with a warm air heating system or underfloor heating.

Examine Possible Extensions to Your ASHP

Last but not least, consider alternatives to the air source heat system. Installing an air source heat pump system in conjunction with other construction work may result in cost savings.

You will also profit substantially from integrating an air source heat pump with other eco-friendly house improvements.

The performance of the heat pump can be improved or backed up by a supplementary system. You can pair an air source heat pump with a condensing boiler, however it’s not required.

As an alternative, you could run your air source heat pump system off of solar electricity, further minimising your carbon impact.

Finally, you might think about combining solar panel heating with your heat pump.

GreenSaving Network can assist you in getting the air source heat pump quotes and heat pump comparisons you require. Simply complete the form  to request up to four quotes from our reliable vendors. This service is totally unrestricted and uncommittal.

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