An Introduction To Air Source Heat Pumps

Air source heat pumps work by absorbing heat from outside to provide heat for underfloor heating systems, heat radiators, and even for providing hot water for your home. It uses the same principle as refrigerators that extract heat from inside to make it possible to achieve a colder temperature to preserve food and keep beverages cold. One of the most evident benefits of air source heat pumps is the fact that it helps conserve energy by readily providing heat for indoor use. It can take heat from outside even with temperatures as low as 15 degrees Celsius.

While air source heat pumps also require the use of electricity to operate, the heat that it provides for indoor use is renewable, as it is taken from under the ground and from the air. It is worth noting, however, that since air source heat pumps generate heat from an external source, it provides much lower temperatures as opposed to conventional heating systems used during the winter season.

There are generally two major types of air source heat pumps; the air-to-air system and air-to-water system. The former extracts air from outside and provides heat indoors by means of using a fan to allow the temperature to circulate throughout the entire area whereas the latter is typically used for an underfloor heating system, as it releases heat to a wet central system and basically works in the same manner as a gas boiler except that it provides lower temperatures. During very cold weather, it may be necessary to leave the air source heat pump on for the entire day to provide sufficient heat for the entire home.

Air source heat pumps works by absorbing heat and turning it to fluid, which is then distributed to an exchanger. This heat is then absorbed by a refrigeration system and passes through a heat compressor to achieve a higher temperature, which can be used to provide indoor heat and as well as heat water.

There are a lot of benefits to using air source heat pumps, the most obvious being, lowering your electric bills. It can also significantly reduce your carbon footprint, which in turn can reduce its harmful effects on the environment. It also does not require any fuel to operate, as it takes up very minimum energy. It is best to install this underground for increased efficiency, though there are also other installation options.

Those who want to install air source heat pumps in their home has to first make sure that they have space for it. If you have enough space outside, you can have it installed near an outdoor wall, as it has to be fitted into it but if you don’t have enough space, then it is best to opt for underground installation. You also have to make sure that you have sufficient insulation in your home so that the heat can easily circulate, especially since this system cannot provide very high temperatures. Air source heat pumps can be used alongside several heating systems but it is highly recommended to use it with an underfloor heating system, as it requires less heat than radiator heating systems.


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6 thoughts on “An Introduction To Air Source Heat Pumps

  1. Air source heat pumps are great for milder climates (the southern U.K. for example) where temperatures don't often get below 15 degrees Fahrenheit (Or 5 degrees Celsius). In these kind of climates they can save significant energy costs. In climates that are cooler than this for much of the year, an air source heat pump isn't as useful as these kind of pumps become much less efficient in very cold weather.

    It is also important to note the type of refrigerant or coolant that is used in your air source heat pump as some refrigerants, like Freon (CFC/HCFC), are actually contributors to global warming and must be disposed of in a responsible way.

  2. The main advantage of air-source heat pumps over ground-source heat pumps is their lower installation cost. A ground-source heat pump requires a network of underground coils that is used to extract heat from the ground.

    • It's an interesting point that we may have to look into for a future article here – the cost of installation versus the power output over the long term. Thanks – you've given me an idea!

    • I've heard that air source heat pumps are actually very energy. Perhaps you could offer some more insight into how practical they really are as a heating/cooling solution?

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