Renewable Energy

Air Source Heat Pumps

Extract heat from the air in temperatures as low as -15° C

Air source heat pumps absorb heat from the outside air. This heat can then be used to heat radiators, underfloor heating systems, or warm air convectors and hot water in your property.

An air source heat pump extracts heat from the outside air in the same way that a fridge extracts heat from its inside. It can get heat from the air even when the temperature is as low as -15° C. Heat pumps have some impact on the environment as they need electricity to run, but the heat they extract from the ground, air, or water is constantly being renewed naturally.

Benefits of air source heat pumps
    • Reduce your energy bills. Your fuel bills will be reduced significantly by using an air source heat pump, especially if you are replacing conventional electric heating.
    • Get paid for the heat you generate. The UK Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) pays you for the heat you generate and use. You will receive quarterly, index-linked payments for a fixed number of years (7 years for domestic systems, 20 years for commercial systems) from the date when your application to the RHI scheme is approved.
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  • Reduce your carbon footprint.  Your property’s carbon emissions will be reduced by switching to air source heat pump heating, especially if you are replacing conventional electric heating.
  • No deliveries needed.  As no fuel is being burned to generate heat, no fuel deliveries will be needed.
  • Heat your home and water. Your air source heat pump system will heat not only your home, but your water too.
  • Low maintenance.  Minimal maintenance is required to keep an air source heat pump system performing efficiently.

Unlike gas and oil boilers, heat pumps deliver heat at lower temperatures over much longer periods. During the winter, they may need to be on constantly to heat your property efficiently. You will also notice that radiators won’t feel as hot to the touch as they might do when you are using a gas or oil boiler.

How do air source heat pumps work?

Heat from the air is absorbed at low temperature into a fluid. This fluid then passes through a compressor where its temperature is increased, and transfers its higher temperature heat to the heating and hot water circuits of the property. There are two main types of air source heat pump systems:

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  • Air-to-water.  An air-to-water system distributes heat via your wet central heating system. Heat pumps work much more efficiently at a lower temperature than a standard boiler system would. This makes them more suitable for underfloor heating systems or larger radiators, which give out heat at lower temperatures over longer periods of time.
  • Air-to-air.  An air-to-air system produces warm air which is circulated by fans to heat your property. They are unlikely to provide you with hot water as well.
Is an air source heat pump suitable for you?
    • Do you have somewhere to put it? You’ll need a place outside your property where a unit can be fitted to a wall or placed on the ground. It will need plenty of space around it to get a good flow of air. A sunny wall is ideal.
    • Is your property well insulated? Since air source heat pumps work best when producing heat at a lower temperature than traditional boilers, it’s essential that your property is insulated and draught-proofed well for the heating system to be effective.
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  • What fuel will you be replacing? The system will pay for itself much more quickly if it’s replacing an electricity or coal heating system. Heat pumps will not pay for themselves as quickly if replacing mains gas.
  • What type of heating system will you use? Air source heat pumps perform better with underfloor heating systems or warm air heating than with radiator-based systems because of the lower temperatures required.
  • Is the system intended for a new development? Combining the installation with other building work can reduce the cost of installing the system.

You may also want to consider ground source heat pumps, which use pipes buried in your property’s garden or land to extract heat from the ground.

How much will you earn and save?

How much you can save will depend on what system you use now, as well as what you are replacing it with. Your savings will be affected by:

    • Your heat distribution system. If you have the opportunity, underfloor heating can be more efficient than radiators because the water doesn’t need to be so hot. If underfloor heating isn’t possible, the largest radiators possible will be the most efficient. We will advise on this.
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  • Your fuels costs. You will still have to pay fuel bills with a heat pump because it is powered by electricity, but you will save on the fuel you are replacing.
  • Your old heating system. If your old heating system was inefficient, you are more likely to see lower running costs with a new heat pump.
  • Water heating. If the heat pump is providing hot water, then this could limit the overall efficiency. You might want to consider solar water heating o provide hot water in the summer and help keep your heat pump efficiency up.
  • Using Controls. Learn how to control the system so you can get the most out of it. You will probably need to set the heating to come on for longer hours, but you might be able to set the thermostat lower and till feel comfortable. You will be left with control instructions after installation so you can use it as effectively as possible

These are the savings you might make per year when replacing an existing heating system in an average four-bedroom detached house with an average air source heat pump installation:

Different boiler efficiencies for each fuel type have been assumed as heat pumps produce more energy (as heat) than they use (as electricity), so their efficiency is more than 100%. Visit the Energy Saving Trust’s website to find out more about how these calculations were made.

If your system is eligible for the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme or the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme  you could earn quarterly, index-linked cash payments for 7 years for a domestic system and 20 years for a non-domestic system.

The amount you receive through the RHI scheme will depend on a number of factors including the latest tariffs available and – in some cases – metering. You can estimate how much money you could earn through RHI using the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)’s RHI payment calculator.

One part of the RHI eligibility criteria is that your air source heat pump system must be installed by an MCS Accredited Installer, such as Just Energy Solutions.

Air source heat pump maintenance

Heat pump systems typically come with a warranty of two to three years, and many manufacturers also offer options for warranty extension for a fee. You can expect them to operate for 20 years or more, however, they do require regular scheduled maintenance. A yearly check by you and a more thorough check by a professional installer every 3 years should be sufficient.

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We will leave written details of any maintenance checks you should undertake to ensure everything is working properly. Consult with us for exact maintenance requirements for the system best suited to your property. You are likely to be advised by our engineers to carry out a yearly check that the air inlet grill and evaporator are free of leaves or other debris. Any plants that have started to grow near the heat pump unit will also need to be removed.

Depending on your system, you may also be advised to check the central heating pressure gauge in your property from time to time. If so, you will be shown how to do this. To prevent the heat pump from freezing in cold winter weather, anti-freeze is used. Levels of anti-freeze and its concentration is one of the things that our engineers will check when they come to service your heat pump. If your heat pump has external refrigeration pipes (unusual for a domestic system), these will need to be serviced annually by a refrigeration engineer.

Planning permission

Before starting, you must apply to the relevant planning authority for a determination as to whether the prior approval of the authority will be required for the siting and external appearance of the air source heat pump. The application needs to be accompanied by a range of other information and several other conditions apply. Find out more about getting planning permission.

How much will it cost?

The average domestic air source heat pump system costs £7,000 – £11,000 (including VAT at 5%). Commercial air source heat pump systems can vary hugely in size and, therefore, in cost.

Running costs will vary depending on a number of factors including the size of your property, how well insulated it is and what room temperatures you are aiming to achieve. Get in touch with our team [link to contact] to arrange a no obligation survey and quote for your air source heat pump system.

How long will it take?

From the moment you call or email the team we will normally be able to book a survey for you within 1 – 3 working days.

Our surveyor will carry out an inspection of your property and give you a quote for your system within 3 – 5 working days.

If you are happy to go ahead with your air source heat pump installation at the quoted price, our engineers will typically be scheduled to start work within 2 – 4 weeks and complete your installation within 1 – 2 weeks (larger systems could mean your system takes longer to install).

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Once your system is installed and signed off, we can assist you in your application to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme [link to financial incentives] (provided your system is eligible under the Domestic RHI scheme or the Non-Domestic RHI scheme. The RHI application is submitted to your energy provider, and the time it will take to process your application varies from provider to provider.

Who would carry out the installation?

Our multi-skilled, experienced and MCS approved engineers are fully qualified to carry out your domestic or commercial air source heat pump installation.

Our team will be dressed in uniform and carrying their Just Energy Solutions ID card; with years of experience, they always work tidily and will be able to answer any questions you may have. Call or email us now for more information, to book a survey and/or for a no obligation quote.

South East Office

North Orbital Road

St Albans

AL2 1DL

T: 0844 880 8189

E: hello@justenergysolutions.com

South West Office

Penstraze Business Centre

Truro

Cornwall TR4 8PN

t: 01872 562 118

E: hello@justenergysolutions.com

North East Office

Suite 8, SV Rutter Business Centre

126 Great Lime Road

Newcastle NE12 6RU

t: 01912 600 556

E: hello@justenergysolutions.com

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South East Office

Just Energy Solutions Limited

North Orbital Road

St Albans

Hertfordshire AL2 1DL

t: 0844 880 8189

e: hello@justenergysolutions.com

North East Office

Just Energy Solutions Limited

Suite 8, SV Rutter Business Centre

126 Great Lime Road

Newcastle NE12 6RU

t: 01912 600 556

e: hello@justenergysolutions.com

South West Office

Just Energy Solutions Limited

Penstraze Business Centre

Truro

Cornwall TR4 8PN

t: 01872 562 118

e: hello@justenergysolutions.com

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