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Daikin air source heat pump in garden

Debunking the top 6 myths about air source heat pumps

By EDF | Posted July 26, 2023

Looking to make your home heating more environmentally friendly? Air source heat pumps could be the answer you're looking for. These efficient systems are becoming increasingly popular as a low-carbon heating solution. However, despite their benefits, there are still many myths surrounding them that might be holding some people back from making the switch. In this blog, we'll set the record straight and debunk some of the most common misconceptions about heat pumps.

But first, we must ask the question, what is a heat pump?

When surveyed, a quarter of us admitted that we're unsure of what heat pumps are or how they work. It’s simple, really: an air source heat pump works by absorbing heat from the environment, even when temperatures are well below freezing. It extracts heat from the air around us and transfers that heat to the inside of your home, keeping you warm and comfortable.

1. Air source heat pumps are noisy 

Nearly a third of people believe that heat pumps generate excessive noise, but this isn't the case. Heat pumps are designed to be as quiet as possible, and their noise levels are comparable to that of a fridge. The impact of this low-level noise is then reduced further when you remember that heat pumps are installed outside your home. If you've heard of a noisy heat pump, don't blame the tech; chances are, it hasn't been installed properly.

2. Heat pumps are too expensive

We'll be honest: installing a heat pump could cost you a lot upfront. But here's the silver lining - there are government grants available that can make the initial cost much more manageable. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) of up to £7,500 is a game-changer that could bring down the cost of getting a heat pump in England and Wales to anywhere between £4,500 to £10,000.

If you live in Scotland, you could take advantage of the Home Energy Scotland grants, which offer up to £7,500 towards the cost of a heat pump. This increases to £9,000 for those in remote regions that are eligible for a rural uplift. Additionally, if you live in Scotland, you have the option to apply for an interest-free loan, covering a maximum of £7,500 for the remaining costs of a heat pump installation. This means that households in Scotland can get financial support of up to £15,000 for purchasing and installing a heat pump.

While heat pumps do have a higher upfront cost than traditional heating systems, they can save you money in the long run. Heat pumps are more energy efficient than conventional systems, which means you'll lower your carbon footprint, and you may save money on your energy bills. Visit our air source heat pump cost guide to learn more.

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3. Heat pumps don’t work in winter

Don't buy into the winter myth - heat pumps do work during the colder months! Air source heat pumps are designed to handle all types of weather, even the cold. As the outside temperatures drop, the heat pump efficiency will gradually reduce; however, they're still capable of working well when temperatures are as low as -25°C!

4. You can only install air source heat pumps in new builds

23% of people believe that heat pumps can only be installed in new homes. In reality, heat pumps aren't exclusive to new builds, they can work in older properties too, as long as they're well insulated. Heat pumps offer a great solution for upgrading older or outdated heating systems in your home.

Unless you live in a listed building or conversation area, your home probably won't require planning permission to install a heat pump. If in doubt, always check with your local panning authority for accurate guidance. Want to learn more about heat pump installations? Check out our installation guide.

5. Heat pumps don’t work with older radiators, they only work with underfloor heating

Air source heat pumps work perfectly well with radiators. Many homes with radiators are already suitable for the installation of a heat pump, although some homes may require a few radiators to be upgraded to a larger size. Heat pumps work better with a large surface area, this means heat pumps also work well if they’re connected to an underfloor heating system.

Furthermore, if you don't want to change your radiators, you could opt to install a high temperature heat pump. High temperature heat pumps are designed for older and/or smaller radiators as they use higher water temperatures.

6. My radiators won't be warm enough with a heat pump

Before your heat pump is installed, our expert installers will go through a full survey of your property. They'll design a heating system that will keep your rooms at your preferred temperature and comfort level. The surface temperature of your radiators may feel cooler than you're used to but don't worry your rooms will feel just as warm.