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Unveiling the Intricacies of Air Source Heat Pumps: Advantages, Disadvantages and Installation Guide

Air source heat pumps are pioneering technologies that offer a sustainable way to heat your home, potentially reducing energy costs in the process. However, like all heating options, they have their pros and cons. In this blog, we delve into the mechanics of air source heat pumps to help you make an informed decision.

How Does an Air Source Heat Pump Work?

The core functionality of an air source heat pump involves:

  1. Heat Absorption: Capturing low-temperature heat from the external air into a liquid refrigerant.
  2. Heat Amplification: Using a compressor to elevate the refrigerant’s temperature, which then converts it back into liquid form, releasing stored heat.
  3. Heat Distribution: Transferring this heat to your home’s radiators or underfloor heating systems, while excess heat is stored in a hot water cylinder for later use.

Think of it as a refrigerator working in reverse. Despite using electricity, they are energy-efficient, as they use less electrical energy than the heat they produce, functioning effectively even in sub-zero conditions.

Types of Air Source Heat Pumps

Air-to-Water Heat Pumps

These pumps collect heat from outside air and channel it into your home’s water-based central heating system. They are often a better match for homes with larger radiators or underfloor heating systems due to the cooler heat they produce.

Air-to-Air Heat Pumps

This type captures external heat and distributes it via fans. Though unable to produce hot water, they can act as cooling units during the summer.

Advantages and Drawbacks: An In-depth Analysis

  • Energy Efficiency: High Coefficient of Performance (COP), meaning they generate more heat than the energy consumed.
  • Low Carbon Emissions: Reduced CO2 emissions compared to conventional heating systems.
  • Ease of Installation: Simpler and less invasive to install than ground source heat pumps.
  • Potential Cost Savings: Lower operational costs when compared to older systems like gas boilers.
  • Space Requirement: Need a large external area for the condenser unit.
  • Noise: Condenser units can be noisy.
  • Not Entirely Green: Require electricity, making them not 100% carbon-neutral unless powered by renewable energy.
  • Compatibility Issues: May need new, large radiators or underfloor heating systems to work optimally.

Installation Essentials

Installation involves proper planning and calculations. Before proceeding, ensure your home is adequately insulated for efficient heat retention. Local authority permission may be needed for certain residences like listed buildings. After installation, you’ll receive an MCS installation certificate, crucial for eligibility in various funding schemes.

Efficiency Metrics and Maintenance

A typical air source heat pump has an efficiency range between 250% – 300%. Regular servicing and grille maintenance are essential for optimum performance.


Air source heat pumps are a sustainable, energy-efficient heating option but come with certain limitations like space and compatibility requirements. As with any major home improvement, due diligence is vital before making your choice.

Now that you’re armed with knowledge, making an informed decision should be easier so why not speak to our team for tailored advice today.