You may have been contemplating investing in an air source heat pump, especially as they are such an effective and efficient way of heating your home. Like most new energy sources, purchasing one of these systems can come with quite a hefty price tag. However, there are some financial benefits to the investment in the form of government grants and incentives. Here is a little more about how air source heat pumps work, their benefits, and also some more information on the financial help you can receive.
The way in which an air source heat pump works, is by absorbing the heat from the air at a low temperature and then turning it into a liquid. The created liquid the passes through a compressor, and it is here that the temperature is raised. Next, it transfers its now higher heat temperature to the heating and hot water circuits that are found throughout your home. However, when we take a closer look at the air source heat pump systems, it is clear that there are actually two types.
Air to Water
The air to water system works by distributing heat by means of your wet central heating system. The heat pumps tend to work far more efficiently at a lower temperature than your standard boiler, which makes them more suitable for use with underfloor heating or large radiators. Both of these give out heat at a lower temperature you see, as well as doing so over a longer period of time.
Air to Air
The air to air systems works to produce warm air that is circulated by fans in order to heat your home. Usually, they are only used for one function, which is most commonly electricity. They are, in fact, highly unlikely to be able to provide you with multiple functions such as electricity and hot water.
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The Available Financial Help
It is actually possible for you to receive some financial help from the government when you start using an air source heat pump. You may be eligible to receive payments for the heat that you generate using the pump, all through the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). It should be noted that domestic RHI is, unfortunately, no longer available in Northern Ireland. However, you can still view details of the previous scheme on NI Direct.
RHI regulation updates that affect heat pumps:
- On 6th July 2015, DECC announced continued amendments to RHI regulations affecting heat pump eligibility.
- The main changes affecting applicants relate to the implementation of the EU directives ‘The Ecodesign of Energy-related Products Directive’ (ERP) and ‘The Energy Labelling Directive’.
Key points of the directives that came into effect for heat pumps from September 2015:
- A minimum performance standard for heat pumps that will be raised over time.
- A requirement that heat pumps will be sold with EU energy labels, which provide an efficiency rating.
- In order to be eligible for the RHI, all new heat pumps entering the market must meet these requirements of these directives. And after 25 March 2016, all heat pumps must meet the requirements, new and existing.
The government estimates that a semi-detached house that is off the gas grid and situated in a rural location, with an average heat demand of 10,000kWh per year, could receive around £500 in RHI payments per year for an air source heat pump. However, the Energy Saving Trust (EST) challenges this, stating that said household could actually be bringing in up to £1,350 per year if the home is fully insulated. Even better is the fact that repayments as high as £2,914 per year have also been achieved – showing that the actual repayment scale can actually vary a great deal.
The Benefits of an Air Source Heat Pump
- Lower fuel bills, especially if you are replacing conventional electric heating
- Potential income through RHI
- Lower home carbon emissions, depending on which fuel you are replacing
- No fuel deliveries needed
- Can heat your home as well as your water
- Minimal maintenance required, which saves money
- Often easier to install than other heat pumps
Heat pumps tend to deliver heat at a lower temperature over a much longer period of time, which is in contrast to gas and oil boilers. During the winter months, they may need to be on all the time in order to heat your home efficiently. You will also note that your radiators will not feel hot to touch when using heat pumps, unlike when you are using a gas or oil boiler.
Want to Know More?
Have you found yourself interested in air source heat pumps? If you want to know more then make sure you head to our Renewable Shop where you can find our full range of products, each with the relevant information. Or simply give us a ring using the number at the top of this page and have a chat.
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