What is an air source heat pump and how do they work ?
An air source heat pump is a low carbon heating system
An air source heat pump is a low carbon heating system and works differently to a boiler. Rather than burning a fuel like gas or oil, it uses electricity to transfer heat from one place to another. In this case, from the outside air to your home to provide space heating and hot water.
You have unknowingly been using a heat pump for decades in your own home - a refridgerator! The technology inside an air source heat pump is very similar to that of a domestic fridge - transferring heat from one place to another - the back of your fridge is warm because it is removing heat from the food inside the fridge out into your kitchen.
There are lots of myths surrounding air source heat pumps - Do see our Air Source Heat Pumps Myths explained page for clarification on common misperceptions too!
Keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer
An air source heat pump takes heat from the outside air and transfers it to a working fluid. It can do this even when the air is well below freezing. The heat pump then uses a compressor to change the pressure and temperature of the fluid until it's warm enough to provide heating for your home. In the Summer months the technology can work in reverse and generate cool air when attached to a ventillation system. They are very quiet operationally too. The physical pump unit is usually installed to the side or rear exterior of a property, with fairly minimal construction work required.
The heat pump uses electricity, so it is not free to use and it is not yet zero carbon. But provided that the heat pump is properly installed it will produce more energy as heat than it uses as electricity. If it runs efficiently it can be cheap to use and will be a low carbon heating option for your home.
Heat pumps are more efficient when they give out heat at a relatively low temperature. They're often used with underfloor heating, as this can operate successfully at low temperatures, but they can be also be used with conventional radiators.
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