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Everything You Need To Know About Air To Air Heat Pumps

Air to air heat pump

In recent years, the use of renewable energy sources has been in the spotlight of the world community. Inventors and scientists have been working together to come up with greener and eco-friendlier ways to heat our homes.

Even though boilers become more energy-efficient each year, they can still be improved from an efficiency perspective. Since the government announced that the installation of gas boilers in new builds will be banned from 2025, the renewable technologies will have to step in as a necessary alternative.

Luckily, nowadays ‘green’ technology manufacturers offer a wide range of appliances crafted to meet and even exceed people’s expectations when it comes to environmentally friendly and low-cost energy solutions.

From photovoltaics and solar panels to heat pumps and condensing boilers, now there is enough variety on the market to give the freedom to decide which renewable technology will be better for one’s household needs.

What’s more, while the Feed-in Tariff scheme is no longer offered to homeowners installing solar panels and other renewable technologies generating electricity, the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme is still in force.

Under the RHI scheme, those with renewable heating technologies are paid back for the heat they generate for seven years, which is a real bonus for those considering investing in the technology.

Air to air heat pumps have been in the limelight in recent months. They are low maintenance and semi renewable, and they could cut your home heating costs.

But what is an air source heating pump and how does it work?

What is an Air to Air Heat Pump?

Most of the leading companies that are producing and developing air conditioning systems and air ventilation are also engaged in the production of devices that are capable of operating in a heating mode, which are also known as air source heat pumps.

Air to air heat pumps have really drawn a great deal of interest among ‘green’ energy seekers due to the relatively low operational as well as installation costs and ease of operation.

An air source heat pump (short ASHP) is a system that can heat or cool a space by transferring heat from outside to inside (for heating) and from inside to outside for cooling the house. ASHP operates under the same principle the air conditioners do, the only difference is that ASHPs extract the heat from the outside air and transfer it to the pump’s indoor unit compressor while air conditioners function the other way around.

The air heat pump has to be installed outside the building it needs to heat. If you are buying it for your own home, you will probably want it installed at the back or around the side of your house, as they are quite big.

Picking a sunny spot will work best, as then the pump does not need to work as hard to heat the air. However, the ASHP can be suitable for your home, even if you have a tiny, shade covered back garden because it can absorb heat from the air even at sub-zero temperatures.

How Does it Work?

Air source heat pumps function under the principles of vapor compression and refrigeration by using a condenser and a refrigerant system involving a compressor, which absorbs heat at one place and release it in another.

ASHPs can be used to heat up or cool down a space and are sometimes referred to as “air conditioners with inverter”.

In domestic heating use, it absorbs heat from outside air and releases it inside the building as hot water-filled radiators, hot air, domestic hot water supply or underfloor heating. In summer the same system can work in reverse to cool down the building.

How Much Does an Air Source Heat Pump Cost?

A good quality system can cost between £7,000 ($8,760) and £11,000 ($13,770) including installation. The running costs will depend on the size of your home, how old it is, how well insulated it is, how warm you want it to be and if you have underfloor heating or radiators.

You might be able to qualify for help from the Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme and the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.

There are also 2 Renewable Heat Incentive schemes: Domestic and Non-Domestic. They both have joining conditions, separate tariffs, application processes and rules.

The government’s Green Deal also offers help with air heat pumps.

Pros of Air to Air Heat Pumps

  • When it comes to using air to air heat pumps all year round they are proven to be universal. They can provide heating during the cold season and in the hot days of the summer, they can help you cool your house.
  • Air source heat pumps are cheaper to install. They are not installed the same way as ground source heat pumps which require a large garden or deep boreholes. There is also no need for expensive equipment to install an ASHP.
  • Air to air heat pumps have a considerable heat transfer capacity.
  • Complex heat distribution systems, such as underfloor heating or radiators are unnecessary to install.
  • An autonomous climate control thermostat that helps to monitor the ASHP’s functioning parameters, ensures the ease of use.
  • ASHP’s installation and operational costs are affordable for people with average income.
  • Efficiency levels are high, with a seasonal efficiency rating reaching 3.0-4.0, which means that for every 3 to 4 kW of generated heat 1 kW of electricity is used.
  • The background noise produced from the pump is insignificant and therefore it won’t be an annoyance factor for anyone who will be in the same room with the pump’s indoor unit.
  • ASHP won’t affect the room’s indoor climate.
  • By choosing to heat your property with ASHP you won’t harm the environment. The pump doesn’t release any toxic components or gases into the atmosphere.
  • Cons of air to air heat pumps

    Even though, the list of benefits is quite impressive, air to air heat pumps have few disadvantages as well:

  • Outside temperature is a big factor in the air to air heat pump performance.
  • In case of ambient temperature levels of -10°C (14°F) and below, the rate of electric power consumption increases, in order to ensure the optimal operation of the heat pump.
  • The pump also moves the dust contained in the air when transferring it from one place to another.

You can find out more detail about air source heat pump costs here.


Air heat pumps are low maintenance, however, they still need yearly check to clear any debris or leaves from the evaporator and air inlet grill.

You will also have to weed out any plants that start to grow around the air heat pump unit. The unit should be checked by a professional every 3-5 years.

And as with almost every heating system, the central heating pressure gauge in your home should be regularly checked.

Article written by:

I write about the renewable energy sector, electric cars and climate change issues. I love nature and good food, so I travel all over the world to see new places and meet new people. Magda Savin

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