Myths about air source heat pumps

Air source heat pumps (ASHPs) are a brilliant way to make the transition from fossil fuels to green heating – reducing both your carbon footprint and energy bills at the same time.

With the UK focused on achieving 2050 net zero targets and government incentives available, changing your heating system for a heat pump is the logical choice when you’re thinking about upgrading the heating system in your home.

When were speaking to housing associations, there’s understandably been a few apprehensions about choosing something different from the norm which has sadly created a lot of misinformation. In this article we’ll tackle some of the most common air source heat pump myths.

Myth 1 – air source heat pumps are noisy

Truth – An air source heat pump is no louder than a fridge and in a lot of cases it is quieter in operation than a gas boiler. For example, a Daikin Altherma 3HT is quieter than a Worcester Greenstar 30i. Sound power level: 54dB outdoor; Sound power level: 55dB indoors.

Myth 2 – air source heat pumps are too expensive and won’t save me money on my heating bills

Truth – ASHPs can save you money on your energy bills and government incentives to reach the UK’s carbon net zero targets can make choosing a heat pump a more cost-effective solution than a boiler system.

The upfront costs of installing one can be expensive, but there is plenty of financial support available depending on where you live to help you install an air source heat pump.

For example, in England the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is available for homeowners to help offset the cost of the installation, Home Energy Scotland offer loans up to £10,000 (£2,500 loan plus £7,500 cashback) to Scottish homeowners. And if you live in Wales, we have more information on financial support for renewable systems.

You will still have to pay fuel bills with a heat pump as they are powered by electricity, but you’ll save on the fuel you’ve replaced. Once you have a heat pump installed, you could be eligible to apply to a Renewable Heat Incentive (exclude NI), which will pay you for the heat you generate.

Myth 3 – Heat pumps are not efficient during cold winters

Truth – ASHPs have been used for over 50 years in Scandinavian countries such as Sweden, Denmark and Norway where temperatures are a lot colder on average than the UK

The efficiency of an ASHP will slowly reduce as the outside temperature falls, however, they are still able to extract heat from the air when temperatures are as low as -15°C.

Myth 4 – Air source heat pumps only work with underfloor heating

Although it is true that underfloor offers the best option with ASHPs a well designed and installed radiator system can be just as effective when heating your home

Another top tip is ensuring that your home is well insulated prior to installation, as this will help to minimise heat losses

Myth 5 – heat pumps can only be installed in new homes

Truth – heat pumps can be installed in most properties regardless of the type of building or how old it is. It is of course vital you have a survey conducted on your property beforehand to ensure you get the best solution for your you and your home. 

Modern air source heat pumps can be easily fitted to different types of homes – from high rise flats to semi-detached houses. Air source heat pumps are a very similar size to an air conditioning unit and are a viable solution for retrofitting an older or outdated heating system in your home.

Myth 6 – Air source heat pumps need a lot more maintenance than a gas boiler and must be serviced more frequently

Truth – to extend the life of anything, whether it’s a car or a heating system, an annual service is recommended, and it also ensures your warranty is valid.

ASHPs are a very reliable piece of technology and requires little to no maintenance outside of its annual service. Just like a boiler, in the event something goes wrong you have the peace of mind of the manufacturer’s warranty.

It’s important to note that the average lifespan of a boiler is between 10-15 years, but an air source heat pump has a lifespan of 15-20 years – which is longer than the life of a gas boiler.

This article was written and provided to us by Thermatic Homes, a national M&E contractor based in Greater Manchester that provides a one-stop solution for housing associations, from mechanical and electrical services, to build services, renewable energy installations and training.

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