Air Source Heat Pumps: Explained & Reviewed

A heat pump is an electrical device that extracts the heat & transfers it from one place to another. Air Conditioners & Refrigerators are the most common examples of this technology. Heat Pumps transfer the heat by transmitting a substance called a refrigerant through a cycle of condensation & evaporation. A compressor pumps the refrigerant between the two exchanger coils. In one of the coil, the refrigerant is evaporated at low pressure & absorbs the heat from the surroundings. Then the refrigerant is compressed to the other coil, in which it condenses at high pressure.

The heat pump is fully fickle, heat pumps can give year-round climate control for your home, heating in winter & humid in summer. Since the air always accommodates some heat, a heat pump can give heat to a house even on the cold winter days. An air-source heat pump soaks heat from the outdoor in the winter & flotsam the heat into outdoor air in the summer.

What is an air source heat pump?

An air source heat pump is a renewable, or low-carbon, heating system that heats your home and domestic hot water by extracting heat from the air outside. Air source heat pumps are made up of an outdoor unit which includes a fan that rotates to draw air inwards. The system then extracts the heat and, thanks to a heat exchanger, warms it further to provide central heating. This is similar to a fridge which extracts heat from within itself.

And if you’re wondering how an air source heat pump can heat your home during the winter, many models can continue to work in temperatures as low as -15°C to -25°C. ASHPs can heat water for your radiators and taps and are particularly effective with underfloor heating systems.

Types of air source heat pumps

While all air source heat pumps heat the home using air outside, they do so in different ways. First of all, there are air-to-air and air-to-water heat pumps. The key difference here being that air-to-air models heat the property using fans while air-to-water heat pumps are compatible with wet central heating systems, such as radiators or underfloor heating.

Secondly, the units themselves are either ‘split’ or ‘monobloc’. And these terms refer to how the heat pump will be installed. A split heat pump is made up of two units – one for outdoor installation and another which must be installed within the property. The outdoor unit includes a heat exchanger and refrigerant while the indoor module works very much like a boiler.

A monobloc, on the other hand, houses all components within a single outdoor unit. However, it’s worth noting that a separate hot water cylinder will be needed to store the domestic hot water. For the majority of properties at the Costa Blanca, an air-to-water monobloc heat pump is often the most suitable option.

Living with an air source heat pump

It will be no surprise to learn that the heating system of choice in at Costa Blanca is the gas or diesel boiler. Over 60% of homes rely on gas for heating and we’ve grown accustomed to seeing them in homes. Renewable heating systems, on the other hand, are unfamiliar to most and make up around 3% of heating systems installed in Spain. Roughly 2.5% of these are air source heat pumps. As a result, few people know what it’s like to live with a heat pump. And you’ll probably want to know what it will be like before having one installed.

Pros of an air source heat pump

Installing an air source heat pump comes with almost countless benefits. From a lower carbon footprint to lower heating bills. Below are the pros of an air source heat pump explained.

Help to shrink your carbon footprint

ASHPs are a low carbon heating system that don’t release carbon into the atmosphere as they work to heat the home. This is because they’re taking heat from a renewable source of energy (the air) rather than burning fossil fuels.

Highly efficient performance

Heat pumps are an incredibly efficient way of heating a home. For every kilowatt-hour of electricity used you can be getting 3-5 times as much heat making them 500% efficient – depending on the model.

This is opposed to gas and oil boilers which are unable to convert all of the fuel used into heat. Meaning that their efficiency ratings sit below 100%, typically 70-93%.

They don’t burn fuel

A key difference between an air source heat pump and a boiler is that they don’t burn fuel. This instantly makes them a safer heating system as they don’t produce waste gases and aren’t at risk of a carbon monoxide leak.

Running costs can prove less costly

To operate, an air source heat pump needs electricity. And while they can produce 3 to 5 times more energy per kWh of electricity used, electricity is currently an not very expensive fuel. Same or less so than natural gas.

According to the latest data, average electricity prices in Spain sit at 13.20c/kWh while natural gas is 11.17c/kWh. Even now, energy companies like Lucera are offering 10-11c/kWh. However, as supplies of natural gas run lower and ‘green’ electricity generation (e.g. solar and wind) increases, the price gap will shrink.

Can last twice as long as a boiler

Heat pumps don’t need to be replaced for between 20 and 25 years. This is around twice as long as a modern gas boiler. Plus, a professional servicing every 3-5 years will keep them running reliably as opposed to the annual servicing needed for boilers.

Cons of an air source heat pump

As with any heating system, there are some considerations to make before having an air source heat pump installed.

Hot water and radiators may not be as hot

Heat pumps heat water to a lower temperature (up to 60°C)  than boilers (up to 90°C) which means that the heating may not be as hot. For this reason, they’re most well suited to underfloor heating and large radiators as the bigger surface area allows for the heat to spread around the room more effectively.  However, the local climate at Costa Blanca makes this difference not noticeable, as far as high numbers are needed when the external temperature is below 0.

Can be noisy

ASHPs have a reputation for being noisy. It’s true that there will be some noise as it works but modern pumps are far quieter than early versions. It’s advisable to install the pump as far away from your main living or sleeping rooms as possible to prevent this being an issue.

How much does an air source heat pump cost to install?

When having an air source heat pump installed, you’re looking at total costs of between €5,000 and €14,000. This is for the heat pump itself and the installation.
Air source heat pump installation can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including:
  • Difficulty of the installation
  • If it’s a spilt or monobloc heating system
  • Heat pump manufacturer and model
  • The size of the heat pump
  • Whether it’s air-to-air or air-to-water
  • Rates charged by the installer
  • As there are so many variables when it comes to having a heat pump installed, it’s highly recommended that you hire a certified installer in Spain, which successfully passed RITE courses. You may also need to improve the insulation of your property or have a hot water cylinder installed (if you don’t have one already).

    How much does a heat pump cost to run?

    Air source heat pumps need electricity to operate which isn’t exactly the cheapest of fuels. Particularly when compared to gas and oil. So, while an ASHP will likely help heating bills to go down, your electricity usage will increase. Fortunately, air source heat pumps are highly efficient. While a boiler will never use 100% of the fuel (roughly 6% to 12% of energy is wasted), an air source heat pump can produce 3 to 5 times as much energy as it uses.

    The running costs of an air source heat pump will vary from property to property. Factors that will impact the running costs include the heat distribution system and whether the heat pump will be providing domestic hot water too.

    Get quotes for an air source heat pump

    As we’ve seen, heating your home with an air source heat pump can lower your heating bills and get rid of expensive gas or oil tank revisions. You’ll also be lowering your carbon footprint. So, there are numerous reasons why you’d want to install an air source heat pump.

    We can provide you a free no-obligation quote for different air source heat pumps. This will give you the greatest chance of finding the most competitive price from the most suitable installation option.

    To get your free quotes, all you need to do is [wd_hustle id=”4″ type=”popup”]complete our simple online form[/wd_hustle].