Do air source heat pumps work in the UK?

You may be wondering if heat pumps can work effectively in the UK, taking our cold climate into account. In actual fact, all types of heat pump (water, ground, and air source heat pumps) can absorb heat even in very cold conditions (as low as -20°C). They’re already found in many domestic applications throughout Europe, and in much colder climates than our own. In Sweden alone, 97% of new builds come with a heat pump system, and over 20% of all households already have heat pumps installed as an eco-heating system.

Heat pumps are considered one of the most efficient eco heating systems available today. This is because they don’t give off any carbon emissions locally, and they’re capable of transferring over 4 times more thermal energy than they use in electricity. In more practical terms, this high efficiency could equate to a 75% reduction in heating bills (when switching from an electric heater).

What’s more, if you switch to a green energy provider, your system could effectively be running carbon neutral. Mid-Tech Services are experts in the design and installation of cleaner and greener renewable heating systems. We can advise on a wide range of installed applications for commercial and domestic use. To find out if you qualify for financial incentives, or if you would like to know more air source heating, please get in touch for a free site survey.

Will a heat pump save me money on my energy bill?

Running costs will depend on how your heat pump is designed and how it is operated. Savings on your energy bill will also depend on the system you are replacing.

You can see potential annual savings of installing a standard air source heat pump, including any recommended radiator upgrades, in an average sized, four-bedroom detached home, by clicking on the images below.

Is an air source heat pump right for me?

Air source heat pumps are suitable for many types of homes and are the most common type of domestic heat pump, with tens of thousands of installations across the UK. However, there are a few things you should consider before deciding whether a heat pump is right for you.

  1. You’ll need a place outside your home where a unit can be fitted to a wall or placed on the ground. It must have some space around it to allow a good flow of air.

    There are two types of air source heat pumps: monobloc and split systems. A monobloc system has all the components in a single outdoor unit, with pipes carrying water to the central heating system and a hot water cylinder inside your home. A split system separates the components between indoor and outdoor units. Whether a monobloc or split system is right for you will depend on your budget and the space available.

    Monobloc systems tend to be cheaper and quicker to install and don’t take up as much space in your home, although they are generally slightly less efficient than split systems. The efficiency gain from split systems comes from some of the heat transfer taking place inside the building where it is warmer, resulting in less heat being lost.

    If you’re not limited by space inside your home, it may be worth the extra cost of installing a split system. We will be able to talk you through your options and help you choose the design that works best for you.

  2. The external unit for a heat pump is identical for both monobloc and split heat pumps. Noise is created by large fans moving air across the heat exchanger.

    Unless the heat pump is working very hard (in cold weather or producing high temperature water), you can expect the noise to be a similar volume to a fridge, if you were standing within a couple of metres. You could easily hold a normal conversation next to it, without raising your voice. As it gets colder outside, this noise will increase while it’s operating, but should still allow you to hold a conversation easily, only raising your voice a little.

    The inside unit for a split system only contains valves and pumps and makes very little noise at all.

  3. Most homes in the UK use radiators or underfloor heating to circulate hot water.

    If you don’t currently have radiators or underfloor heating, you will have to decide whether you’d like to install them. This is a great opportunity to make sure the system is optimised for a heat pump, resulting in lower running costs.

    Don’t want or can’t install radiators or underfloor heating? An air-to-air heat pump could work for you.

  4. A standard heat pump doesn’t provide hot water on demand like a combi boiler, so you will need a way of storing hot water for when you need it. The size of hot water cylinder required will depend on the amount of hot water that your household typically uses, but the cylinder can usually be fitted inside any cupboard that measures around 80x80cm.

    If you don’t have space for a hot water cylinder, you still have options. Some hybrid systems are designed with the heat pump providing heating and a boiler providing hot water on demand. You could also consider installing a heat battery, which takes up less space than a hot water cylinder. Instantaneous hot water heaters are also available and can be installed under your kitchen sink to provide a smaller amount of hot water.

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