Air Source Heat Pumps

WHY AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMPS?

Air source heat pump technology has been around for a number of years, but only recently has it become one of the leading options for renewable heating around the home. They work by absorbing the heat from the outside air which can then be used to heat radiators, underfloor heating or hot water cylinders. The easiest example to compare the technology is with refrigerators, instead of using the air to make something cold the heat pumps do the reverse.

HOW DOES AN AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMP WORK?

Although an air source heat pump replaces a boiler as the home’s heat source, the way it works is very different.

An air source heat pump does not create heat. It simply moves it from one place to another through the vapour compression cycle (or refrigeration process) to make it more useable. Heat from the air gets absorbed into a fluid, which is then compressed, raising its temperature. The higher temperature is then transferred into the heating system.

Air Source Heat Pump

HOW DOES AN AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMP WORK?

Electricity is needed to power the pump. The efficiency, or the measure of the heat energy output per kW of electricity, is stated as the SCOP (Seasonal Coefficient of Performance). For example, a SCOP of 3.2 means that for every 1kW of electricity, 3.2kW is generated.

The air source heat pump gets its energy from the surrounding air, so as the air temperature drops, so does the efficiency. The bigger the difference between the outside air and the target temperature (either the indoor room temperature or domestic hot water), thelower the efficiency. It is therefore key to understand the heat load of the property and the performance characteristics of the heat pump.

For space heating, air source heat pumps work best with underfloor heating, but low-flow temperature radiators will work as well.

Renewable Heat Incentive

RENEWABLE HEAT INCENTIVES

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a UK Government scheme set up to encourage uptake of renewable heat technologies amongst householders, communities and businesses through financial incentives. It is the first of its kind in the world and the UK Government expects the RHI to contribute towards the 2020 ambition of 12% of heating coming from renewable sources.

The domestic RHI was launched on 9th April 2014 and provides financial support to the owner of the renewable heating system for seven years. The scheme covers England, Wales and Scotland and is targeted at -but not limited to -off-gas households.

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