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Aira Heat Pump: Stylish Scandinavian Heating

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 HCas
(@hcas)
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@ivanopinion Thank you! Keen to hear more about the WC point. Quite strange that customers wouldn't be able to adjust that!


   
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(@ivanopinion)
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Posted by: @hcas

@ivanopinion Thank you! Keen to hear more about the WC point. Quite strange that customers wouldn't be able to adjust that!

They told me that they monitor the heat pump remotely and can make adjustments if necessary. The implication was that this would include optimising the curve, though they did not explicitly say so.

This perhaps raises another concern about Aira. Their system does lots of clever stuff, including this remote monitoring, but also using weather forecasts to adjust the output in anticipation and working out your hot water usage and adjusting the HW production accordingly. That's great, but it does mean that Aira customers are reliant on Aira continuing to run its servers and keep the app updated, for the 20-odd years of life of the ASHP.

I guess this is true for all ASHP manufacturers, because (AFAIK) all their controls run via apps and depend on servers on the cloud. But Aira are a start up, which I think means there's a higher risk that they might not be around in 5 years time than for, say, Vaillant or Daikin. The repair and maintenance warranty on Aira is insurance backed, but I'm assuming there are no arrangements to ensure continuity of operation of the servers and updates of the app. 

 


   
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Majordennisbloodnok
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Posted by: @ivanopinion

...

This perhaps raises another concern about Aira. Their system does lots of clever stuff, including this remote monitoring, but also using weather forecasts to adjust the output in anticipation and working out your hot water usage and adjusting the HW production accordingly. That's great, but it does mean that Aira customers are reliant on Aira continuing to run its servers and keep the app updated, for the 20-odd years of life of the ASHP.

I guess this is true for all ASHP manufacturers, because (AFAIK) all their controls run via apps and depend on servers on the cloud. But Aira are a start up, which I think means there's a higher risk that they might not be around in 5 years time than for, say, Vaillant or Daikin. The repair and maintenance warranty on Aira is insurance backed, but I'm assuming there are no arrangements to ensure continuity of operation of the servers and updates of the app.  

I quite agree. Everything Aira is touting seems to be focused on removing control from the customer's hands. That's worrying.

As for the other ASHP manufacturers, that's not quite the same. Yes, they all provide IoT-enabled solutions with apps, APIs and cloud storage, but they are provided supplementary to what is basically a hardware choice on the customer's part. Moreover, if a customer wants to remove reliance on the manufacturer's remote systems they can do so by use of the on-site controls (either a box on the wall or talking via something like Modbus to control locally).

Aira's approach feels to me only a hop, skip and a jump away from introducing a model whereby the installed kit is "leased" and never actually owned by the customer despite having to wear the up-front cost. Rather heavy-handed, it feels.

 

105 m2 bungalow in South East England
Mitsubishi Ecodan 8.5 kW air source heat pump
18 x 360W solar panels
1 x 6 kW GroWatt battery and inverter
Raised beds for home-grown veg and chickens for eggs

"Semper in excretia; suus solum profundum variat"


   
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(@ivanopinion)
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Posted by: @majordennisbloodnok

Aira's approach feels to me only a hop, skip and a jump away from introducing a model whereby the installed kit is "leased" and never actually owned by the customer despite having to wear the up-front cost. Rather heavy-handed, it feels.

 

I think their preferred business model is that the payments are spread over 10 or 15 years, so this is in effect a lease. In the UK, regulations make it difficult for them to do this, so payments are only spread over 12 months. But perhaps this explains Aira's approach: they think of themselves as offering a heating service, not just an installation. 

If the payments were spread over 10 years then that would be more reassuring, because there's an incentive for Aira to continue to support installed machines and the customer would just stop paying if the support is withdrawn.

 


   
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(@ianmk13)
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Posted by: @ivanopinion

That's great, but it does mean that Aira customers are reliant on Aira continuing to run its servers and keep the app updated, for the 20-odd years of life of the ASHP.

That's why I didn't go for a Tado controller for my boiler control 7 or 8 years ago.  Instead, I went with a Drayton miGenie internet-enabled controller.  Despite my forward-thinking, Drayton have recently stopped support for this so now my App doesn't work and reprogramming the timer and temperature is a right faff! My strategy now is to use Home Assistant and make sure I can control everything myself.

Posted by: @majordennisbloodnok

....

Aira's approach feels to me only a hop, skip and a jump away from introducing a model whereby the installed kit is "leased" and never actually owned by the customer despite having to wear the up-front cost. Rather heavy-handed, it feels.

Like 'Software as a a service'....


   
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Majordennisbloodnok
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Posted by: @ianmk13

Like 'Software as a a service'....

Precisely

105 m2 bungalow in South East England
Mitsubishi Ecodan 8.5 kW air source heat pump
18 x 360W solar panels
1 x 6 kW GroWatt battery and inverter
Raised beds for home-grown veg and chickens for eggs

"Semper in excretia; suus solum profundum variat"


   
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Mars
 Mars
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Posted by: @ivanopinion

If the payments were spread over 10 years then that would be more reassuring, because there's an incentive for Aira to continue to support installed machines and the customer would just stop paying if the support is withdrawn.

Fornax, who recently started advertising with us, have a ‘snugscription’ where you pay off your installation over 12 years. I think more companies will go down this route because they can the offer guarantees and be forced to uphold them.

Buy Bodge Buster – Homeowner Air Source Heat Pump Installation Guide: https://amzn.to/3NVndlU

Follow our sustainability journey at My Home Farm: https://myhomefarm.co.uk


   
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 HCas
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@editor Agree, definitely a trend. We've seen the same with solar PV. Some do it for batteries as well. Heat pumps is slightly less straightforward but will get there. I know in the Netherlands it was quite popular for a while.


   
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Abernyte
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@editor  I know nothing of this company Fornax other than what I have gleaned and from their website. They have been trading for less than 18 months and have capital of less than £80,000. They are selling a credit agreement funding package to purchase a heating system installed by a "local heating engineer" and are an appointed representative of an investment - seed capital product design company. There is no reference on their site to whose HP they are installing.  How do you see them being forced to uphold a long term guarantee?

Like Aira they do have a flashy website though.

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by Abernyte

   
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Mars
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The challenge with offering a subscription or guarantee is that many installers now promise a guarantee on running costs linked to the Coefficient of Performance (COP). For example, they might promise a COP of 4.5, which sounds great. However, a high COP doesn’t necessarily translate to comfort. Sure, I could probably achieve a higher COP in our system if we targeted a room temperature of 17°C. It would be interesting to see if any installer is willing to guarantee a comfortable 21°C while maintaining a COP of 4 or higher.

Buy Bodge Buster – Homeowner Air Source Heat Pump Installation Guide: https://amzn.to/3NVndlU

Follow our sustainability journey at My Home Farm: https://myhomefarm.co.uk


   
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(@ivanopinion)
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Based on my experience, the answer is no, unless the house is abnormally well insulated. Heat Geeks do a guarantee of performance at MCS standard room temps (and charge handsomely for it), but their quote to me refers to a SCOP of 3.6, which is no higher than Octopus are projecting. So, they are setting a pretty low bar for performance.  Aira don't guarantee any SCOP (other than the MCS minimum of 2.8). But their marketing calculates cost savings using a comparison of 20000 kWh of gas vs 4500 kWh of electric. They don't specify what level of efficiency of gas boiler they assume, but with 90% that would be 18000kWh of heat, so a SCOP of 4. They claim a SCOP of 4.7 for their own-brand units, but that is at 35 degrees average and they do not disclose the figures for other water temperature averages. I don't know how realistic a 35 degree average is, for a normal house. Aira perhaps need to rein in their marketing people a bit, because when I detect BS in some of what they claim, I then get very sceptical about other claims, such as SCOPs and quality. An example of BS is the claimed cost savings over the life of the heat pump. Most of the savings turn out to relate to not paying for servicing of a gas boiler for 20 years. They calculate this based on £40 per month, but that must be a cherry picked figure. Most people will be paying more like half that for boiler cover. For those people, the savings will be about £4k lower.

This post was modified 4 weeks ago 2 times by Mars

   
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(@gunboatdiplomat)
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On the whole marketing claims vs reality on performance I came across this Are ASHP datasheets reliable? | Crog.Uk which highlights another example where manufacturer marketing data sheets don't seem to marry up with other figures like the MCS SCOP.

This post was modified 3 weeks ago by Mars

   
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