Air Source Heat Pumps
Air source heat pumps are becoming a more viable option for heating premises thanks to the reducing cost of installation and the better specification of the technology. Usually placed outside the property, to the side or rear, an air source heat pump is used almost like a reverse refrigerator, compressing the ambient air from the outside and turning it into useful heat for the inside.
Air source heat pumps run on electricity, but the idea is that your pump will use less in drawn electricity than it will produce in useful heat energy, and if you choose to use it in conjunction with a PV system or other green electricity producing technology, then you will be developing a very eco-friendly and low cost solution for heating your building.
How air source heat pumps work
The heat pump system consists of three main elements: an evaporator, a compressor and a condenser. Just like your fridge but backwards, this works by absorbing ambient heat from the outside air and compressing it so that the heat is of a higher temperature grade than before. There are two types of heat pumps that you can consider, depending on the current or planned heating set up in your building:
Air to air: These heat pumps take the air from outside your home and distribute it throughout the building via fans. This system is known as a warm air system and cannot be used to produce hot water.
Air to water: This type of system feeds the compressed heat from outside into your wet central heating system. As with ground source heat pumps, this works best with underfloor heating or oversized radiators, so this will need to be considered when installing your new renewable technology.
Heat when you need it, cold when you don’t
Despite the fluctuations in outside temperature, and air source heat pump can generate heat from the air even on cold winter days. As well as this, the system can be reversed in summer, providing you with a green means of cooling your building, ideal for busy offices, when the outside temperature is uncomfortable.
Why choose an air source heat pump?
Here are just a few of the reasons you should be considering an air source heat pump for your next investment on your building:
Low CO2 compared to the conventional forms of heating
Cheaper to install than ground source heat pumps
Can provide both heating and hot water
Few moving parts means very little maintenance
Can be reconfigured to provide cooling in summer
For every unit of electricity you use to power the pump, you will get back 2 – 3 units of heat
Can take advantage of cheaper tariffs such as economy 7 or 10 to maximise savings
Can be combined with a wind turbine or PV to achieve self sufficient heating
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