Air source heat pumps absorb heat from the outside air This is commonly used to heat radiators, underfloor heating systems, or warm air convectors and hot water in your premises. 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 extract heat from the air even when the outside temperature is as low as minus 15°C.
Unlike gas or oil boilers, air source cheat pumps deliver heat at lower temperatures over much longer periods. This means that during the winter they may need to be left on 24/7 to heat your buildings efficiently. It also means that radiators will never feel as hot to the touch as they would do when using a gas or oil boiler.
There are two main types of air source heat pump system:
- An air-to-water system distributes heat via your wet central heating system. Air source heat pumps work much more efficiently at a lower temperature than a standard boiler system would. So they are more suitable for underfloor heating systems or larger radiators, which give out heat at lower temperatures over longer periods of time.
- An air-to-air system produces warm air which is circulated by fans to heat your home. They are unlikely to provide you with hot water as well.
Heat from the air is absorbed into a fluid which is pumped through a heat exchanger in the heat pump. Low grade heat is then extracted by the refrigeration system and, after passing through the heat pump compressor, is concentrated into a higher temperature useful heat capable of heating water for the heating and hot water circuits of the house.
Benefits of an Air Source Heat Pump System
As a form of energy supply, air source heat pumps offer a broad range of advantages:
- The fuel source is essentially infinite
- Air source heat pumps produces energy with much lower greenhouse gas emissions than typical gas or oil fired boilers
- Using an air source heat pump system can dramatically lower your fuel bills, especially if you are currently using conventional electric heating
- Air source heat pump systems are classed as a 'fit and forget' technology because they need little maintenance
- Air source heat pumps are generally easier to install than a ground source heat pump, but efficiencies are normally lower