Thinking about installing an air source heat pump? Or wondering how much an air source heat pump costs? Find out all you need to know about the low carbon heating alternative for 2023.
Already decided on an air source heat pump?
Did you know heat pumps:
Want to learn more about air source heat pumps? No problem. Watch our quick video.
A heat pump works a bit like an inside-out fridge. It captures heat from outside and moves it into your home, using electricity to do so. Here's how it works:
Air source heat pumps work at a lower internal temperature than a gas or oil-fired boiler, so your radiators will not feel as warm - this is because they are now more efficient and don't need to be as hot. It will provide gentle heating over longer periods rather than quick boosts of heat on demand.
There are a few things to consider before buying a heat pump, such as:
An air source heat pump typically costs between £5,500 and £13,000 depending on the model and size. The heat pump price includes a government grant of £5,000 through the non-means-tested Boiler Upgrade Scheme and installation costs.
Some heat pump system designs, particularly low temperature heat pumps, may also require larger radiators to work at their maximum efficiency.
Heat pumps work best when there’s less of a difference between the inside and outside temperatures. Floors cover a much bigger area than radiators so they don’t need to get as hot to provide the same amount of heat. This makes them a good match for underfloor heating, but it's not essential.
Heat pumps can also be a great source of hot water – but the water is likely to be around 50-55 °C with a heat pump, compared to 60-65 °C with a boiler. This means that if you’re running a bath, you’ll need more hot water and less from the cold tap.
In air-to-water heat pumps systems, the heat is transferred into a ‘wet’ heating system (conventional radiator central heating). This set-up gives you hot water and keeps your home warm. Only these heat pumps qualify for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme.
As their name suggests, air-to-air' air source heat pumps transfer heat directly into the air in your rooms. More commonly known as air conditioning units, they can be switched between heat and cooling depending on the season. It's worth noting, these heat pumps don’t provide hot water.
These heat pumps are combined with a boiler. Depending on the type of hybrid system, the boiler can assist the heat pump by providing hot water or a quick heat boost during a particularly cold snap.
Energy prices vary - and our homes and energy use differ too. So it's hard to give an exact figure for how much money it could cost to run a heat pump. But, based on fuel cost figures from Energy Saving Trust from October 2022, we've put together this example based on a four-bedroom home using 18,000kWh of heat per year.
A four-bedroom house might need about 18,000kWh of heat per year (although this will vary). We divide the heat requirement by the efficiency of the appliance, then multiply it by the price of the fuel to get the total running costs. Therefore, to heat this particular home at the current average fuel prices:
Air source heat pumps have a working life of 15 years or more. But just like a boiler, you should get your air source heat pump professionally serviced annually to make sure it's still working at its best. There are some things you can do yourself:
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