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What is Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP)?
ASHP extract heat from the outside air. This heat can be used to heat your home with radiators, fan coil radiators or underfloor heating systems. An ASHP works in a similar way to a fridge excepts the fridge extracts heat from inside, and the ASHP extracts from outside, even at low temperatures as low as -15°C.
Types of ASHP.
• There is air to air ASHP split system, which have an indoor and outdoor unit units for heating a single room.
• There is air to water ASHP mono systems, is single outdoor unit which transfer the heat to water for underfloor heating and radiators.
• There is air to water ASHP split systems, which have an indoor and outdoor unit which transfer the heat to water for underfloor heating and radiators.
How much will I save?
The savings depend on how you are currently heating your home. The biggest saving are replacing electric heating, followed by solid fuel, oil and LPG. If you have mains gas, an ASHP is probably not the best option, as the running costs could be similar and installation costs lower.
For every unit of electricity used by the ASHP to produce heat, 2-4 units of heat are produced.
Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a payment for generating heat from renewable sources set by Government and administered by Ofgem. The RHI is due to be introduced late summer 2013 and will last for 7 years. As well as the savings you will make on your fuel bills, you will be paid per kW hour for hot water and heat you generate. Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is due to announce exact tariff and conditions for domestic users spring 2013. Only installations fitted by Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) approved installers using MCS approved equipment will be eligible to claim the RHI. Ecotec Energy have MCS accreditation for ASHP. All systems installed after 2009 with MCS certificate will be able to apply for RHI, subject to conditions.
How does it work?
An air-source heat pump has three main parts: • The evaporator coil absorbs heat from the outside air; • The compressor pumps refrigerant through the heat pump and compresses the gaseous refrigerant to the temperature needed for the heat distribution circuit. • The heat exchanger transfers the heat from the refrigerant to air or water. In an air-to-water system, the heat produced is used to heat water, which is used to pre-heat water in a buffer tank, then circulate through underfloor heating, fan coil radiators or radiators. Heat pumps produce hot water that is at a lower temperature than standard boiler systems (typically 35-50ºC), which makes underfloor heating the most effective or fan coiled radiators. Existing radiators may be under sized for ASHP, because of lower circulating temperatures.
Is it suitable for my home?
Things you need to consider before installing an air source heat pump: • You will need space outside your house to fit the unit.
• The hot water cylinder will need to be changed to heat pump version, these have bigger heating coils compared to standard cylinders.
• Most ASHP need a buffer cylinder to work efficiently and for defrost cycle.
• If there is not enough space to fit hot water cylinder and buffer, there is combined version.
• The heating system needs to be filled antifreeze to protect the ASHP.
• Compared with traditional boilers, air source heat pumps are designed to work at a lower ambient temperature, thus producing a lower comfortable constant temperature. It is essential that your home is insulated and draught proofed to help reduce your heat demand and make the system more effective; • Consider what fuel is being replaced: if it is electricity, oil, Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) or coal, the payback will be more favourable than with gas. If you have mains gas, a gas boiler will always work out cheaper to install, but heat pumps are a good option where gas is unavailable.
Do you need a back-up heating system for additional space or water heating?
The ASHP is sized for 100% of properties heat loss, in some properties this may not be possible due to size of property and single phase supply. An existing boiler can be retained as backup and the system setup to use 2 heat sources, this will depend on your overall heating needs and how you would like the system setup.
Is your home still being built?
If so, it will be cheaper to install the air source heat pump and underfloor heating system at the construction stage rather than when construction is complete.
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