Air Source Heat Pumps: Your Flexible Friend

As a critical part of the UK’s renewable heat portfolio, air source heat pumps are well placed to help replace fossil fuel boilers, improve home energy efficiency and reduce fuel bill costs. Many fail to appreciate just how many different variants of this technology there are, and indeed why this particular heat pump type is an ideal choice for many homes.

So if you need heating and hot water for an average family home (or to keep your pets warm and cosy), air source heat pumps can provide the solution. This week we explore the available choices.

Air Source Heat Pumps – options

High temperature split systems

These systems have been developed as direct replacements for oil and gas fossil fuel systems where replacing or upgrading the existing radiator systems is not possible or practical.

Most systems of this type offer flow temperatures of up to 80 degrees by using two compressor stages to efficiently raise heating and domestic hot water temperatures in the home. As a result of the added compressor technology these products tend to be more expensive and less efficient than their low temperature counterparts.

The “split” nature of this product allows the outdoor fan unit to be positioned up to 60m away from the indoor unit allowing it to be tucked away out of sight, or indeed out of earshot.

The indoor unit housing the second compressor is often floor mounted due to weight and has the option of an integrated hot water tank in a tower configuration optimising space usage. Companies such as Daikin are leading the way with niche products such as these.

Low temperature split systems

Just like the high temperature split systems, with this option the outdoor unit can be positioned away from the building if required, but the single compressor required for lower flow temperatures of near 50 degrees means the indoor unit is lighter and can be wall mounted instead.

These lower flow temperature systems are perfect when used with underfloor heating or low flow temperature radiators.

In addition the advantage, over and above improved efficiency and weight, is that the indoor unit is virtually silent as the single compressor is in the outdoor unit. As such its size is reduced and it can be tucked away out of site in a cupboard if required.

Low temperature monobloc systems

With identical heating capabilities to the low temperature split system, monobloc equipment as the name suggests is all contained in one single outdoor fan unit. Perfect for homes or flats with minimal available indoor space, the units are best placed near the building.

These units produce hot water straight out of the outdoor units necessitating the need for proximity to the building otherwise good money has to be spent on highly insulated pipe to transport the valuable hot water to the home from afar.

As you can see there is almost an air source heat pump configuration for every conceivable situation and manufacturers have really taken some of the multiple challenges of heat pump integration into existing homes into consideration. As a result these different product forms and temperature variants make it easier than ever to integrate an appropriate air source heat pump product into your energy efficient home.

Doug Johnson

Doug is a chartered mechanical engineer and has had the pleasure of being involved in the UK renewable sector since 2008. With wide-ranging operational and design experience in both the domestic and commercial sectors across a wide range of recognised technologies he hopes to be able to share his experience to help enlighten and save you hassle along the way.