What Is An Air Source Heat Pump?
How Do Air Source Heat Pumps Work?
A good way to think about the way air source heat pumps actually work, is to imagine them performing in the opposite way to a fridge, thus heating your home as opposed to cooling it.
The air from outside travels over a conglomeration of tubes containing refrigerant fluid. This heats the refrigerant up, transforming it from a liquid into a gas.
At this point, the gas journeys through a compressor to enhance the pressure and ramp up the heat. The compression process harbours similarities to topping up the air pressure in car tyres, with the air hose heating up simultaneously.
From there, the warm, compressed gases make their way into a heat exchanger, shrouded by water or cool air. The refrigerant will then shift its heat to the cool air or water, all the while warming it up. This energy is then distributed around the indoor space to deliver a heat output.
Whilst your home is warming up, condensation leads the refrigerant to return to a cool liquidated state before the cycle begins again.
What Types Of Air Source Heat Pumps Are There?
Do Air Source Heat Pumps Need Electricity To Run?
What Is The Difference Between Air Source Heat Pumps and Ground Source Heat Pumps?
There are several standout differences between air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps, and the main one sticks out like the thumb you clobbered with a hammer whilst putting together one of our radiator covers.
That is, of course, the way they source their heat. As each moniker would suggest, air source heat pumps take heat from the air, whilst ground source versions will make like Paul Weller, and go underground to consume inherent heat.
Ground source heat pumps would tend to deliver a slightly more efficient performance than their air source counterparts as well. Making use of the SCOP measurement method aforementioned, air source heat pumps will usually garner a SCOP rating in the 3.4 region, whilst ground source heat pumps will generally be in the 4.2 range.
With regards to installation, it’s more of a rigmarole to fit ground source heat pumps, with significant invasive groundwork required to provide a suitable foundation. Either a large surface area will need to be dug up, or a deep borehole created to store the system pipes underground. Unless you’re qualified to carry out this sort of work yourself, you’ll experience much higher initial installation costs for ground source heat pumps, as no such efforts are involved in fitting air source options.
However, the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme does offer bigger rewards for ground source models, so you can expect to see a better return on your investment for selecting that type. Whilst the figures are subject to change and it can be a volatile barometer, the use of ground source heat pumps would allow the owner to claim 21.16p per kW of energy used, according to the latest published statistics from the Ground Source Heat Pump Association. By contrast, air source heat pumps fetch RHI payments of 10.85p per kW at this time, but as stated, these values are prone to fluctuation.