Air source heat pumps can be a fantastic way to generate electricity and heat for your home. Like the majority of heat pumps, they are often better for the environment too, leaving less of an impact and little to no emission. While it comes with a wide range of benefits, everything has a set of disadvantages, and air source heat pumps are no exception.
In this article, we will explore air source heat pumps’ disadvantages in more detail and give you all the information you need to make an informed decision about whether an air source heating system is the right choice for you or not. Make sure you take some time to read this new blog in Linquip before you make your choice.
What Is an Air Source Heat Pump?
Before we look at the disadvantages of an air source heat pump, let’s be clear about exactly what air source heat pumps are and how air source heat pumps work.
Homeowners are increasingly looking to upgrade to newer, smarter, and more energy-efficient technologies like air source heat pumps. An Air Source heat pump is a device that sucks air in and uses it to heat a liquid refrigerant which then finds use to heat your home and your hot water. This system is simple but extremely effective.
It is capable of heating radiators and a hot water cylinder just using the air source pump and a small amount of electricity. According to the air source heat pump reviews 2020 list, it is growing in popularity day by day because it offers an efficient system.
Air Source Heat Pump Operation
The air source heat pump looks a bit like an air conditioning unit. The process it performs is both simple and extremely effective. This process can be summarized in five simple steps:
- The air source heat pump sucks in air from outside. It uses this air to heat a liquid refrigerant using a process a bit like a reverse refrigerator.
- The pump, powered by a small amount of electricity, compresses this liquid to increase its temperature.
- It then condenses back into a liquid in a process that releases the stored heat.
- This heated liquid is then pushed around your radiators or underfloor heating system to heat your home.
- Any excess heat will be used to power a hot water cylinder providing enough hot water for washing and showering.
Air Source Heat Pump Disadvantages
There are some disadvantages to choosing an air source heating system, and these are often overlooked by some in their enthusiasm for all the positives. When people are making such a huge investment, they need to have all the facts. With that in mind, we are going to delve a little more into the disadvantages of an air source heat pump and give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.
- High Upfront Cost
- Lower Heat Supply than Boilers
- Extra Spending to Install Underfloor Heating
- Lower Efficiency In Cold Weather
- Your Home Must Be Well-Insulated Already
- Operating Noise
- Relying on Electricity
- Planning Permissions
- Requires Outside Space
- Shorter Lifespan
- The Need to Provide a Good Visual Aspect
It is important to consider the following disadvantages of air source heat pumps.
High Upfront Cost
For a large percentage of people, the initial cash outlay is a disadvantage of heat pumps as it is expensive when you have to purchase and install heat pumps for the first time. The biggest downside to an air source heat pump is also an upside; the upfront costs. While they are substantially cheaper than other renewable heating solutions, especially when the installation is taken into account, an air source heat pump cost will still be substantially more than a regular gas boiler.
Lower Heat Supply than Boilers
One of the most commonly cited air source heat pumps disadvantages is that they provide a lower supply of heat compared to conventional oil and gas boilers. This can mean there is a need for larger radiators in some properties, especially if you have larger rooms. Some air source heating systems will specify that they work best with an underfloor heating system.
Extra Spending to Install Underfloor Heating
Due to the lower heat supply, air source heat pumps are most commonly used with underfloor heating to get the most out of the system. This is because you will not need as high temperatures to operate this. This can mean that your installation costs may be higher if you do not already have an underfloor heating system installed. You can get an air source heat pump grant 2020 or financial support to cover some or all of the cost of your air pump installation.
Lower Efficiency In Cold Weather
One of the air source heat pumps disadvantages is that the colder the air outside, the harder the heat pump has to work to extract heat. For this reason, heat pumps will use more electricity during the winter making them less efficient. If you’re experiencing any of these air source heat pump problems in cold weather, don’t panic. There are possibilities of an upgraded air source heat pump system that surmounts this problem. Always check the Seasonal Performance Factor of your heat pump.
Your Home Must Be Well-Insulated Already
As air source heat pumps produce hot water at a lower temperature than boilers, the property needs to be well-insulated to make it an efficient system. In order to reap the full benefits of an air source heat pump, you will need a well-insulated home, to begin with. However, this is true for any heating system. If heat can easily escape from your home through windows, doors, or walls, then you will need more energy to keep the space warm. Therefore, ensure your home is insulated well enough.
Air source heat pumps can make some noise while operating, but it must be said that it is not generally considered to be one of the serious air source heat pumps disadvantages by homeowners living with heat pumps. Fortunately, this is something that has been improved over time. If you are concerned about potential noise issues, your installer should be able to install the heat pump away from your main living areas and bedroom.
Relying on Electricity
Air source heat pumps need electricity to operate. This means that, during grid outages when you lose power, you can’t run your air source heat pumps. It also means your air source heating system cannot be a carbon-free system unless you also generate electricity from a renewable source. However, it’s worth noting that even heating technologies that primarily run on gas, like furnaces or boilers, require electricity to run, even if only minimal amounts.
Special planning permissions are required in Wales and Northern Ireland, whilst in England and Scotland, it depends on your location and size of your property. Many property owners will be put off air source heat pumps because of the prospect of planning permission. However, in most cases, there is no need for planning permission. Here are the requirements you need to meet to keep your installation as a permitted development:
It’s the first air source heat pump on your property.
- The installation is at least a meter from your property’s boundaries.
- It’s only for heating.
- The pump will be installed on a flat surface – ground or suitable roof.
- If installed on a flat roof, it’s at least a meter from the edge.
- Maximum volume of 0.6 cubic meters.
- Your property isn’t listed or within a conservation area.
Requires Outside Space
You need to have outside space for the heat pump itself, including a good amount of space around the unit to ensure it has an adequate supply of air. You will also need space for a large hot water cylinder inside the home. If the outside unit is placed somewhere where it will get a lot of sunlight the air source heat pump won’t have to work as hard.
The air source heat pump has more components that are exposed to the elements than a ground source heat pump. This means that weathering, plus general wear and tear is more significant. This won’t be a problem if you commit to annual servicing, also recommended with ground source systems, but it does ultimately mean the lifespan of an air source heat pump is shorter than that of a ground source heat pump. A well-maintained air source heat pump is likely to last around 15 years, whereas a ground source heat pump is likely to last around 20 years.
The Need to Provide a Good Visual Aspect
The visual aspect of having an external box unit on your property must be considered. Air source heat pumps are mostly above the ground and can be obvious to the eye. If the most suitable space for your external unit is also a highly visible part of your property, you may wish to explore the addition of an air source heat pumps container case, which softens the aesthetic impact.
People have to consider air source heat pumps disadvantages and weigh up when looking into this form of heating. You should do a cost-projection to see how the initial cash outlay balances out over some time, and to understand that disadvantages can be turned into advantages and whether this form of heating is the right one for you.
So, there we have outlined all of the main disadvantages of the air source heat pump for you. User feedback is always helpful for our readers and us, so if you enjoyed this article in Linquip, let us know by leaving a reply in the comment section. Is there any question we can help you through? Feel free to sign up on our website to get the most professional advice from our experts.