What Does Everyone Think About Air Source Heat Pumps?
Heat pumps are making headline news again. This is following from the governments scheme to roll out as many installations as they can to try and achieve net zero by 2025.
Now that heat pumps have had a good run at trying to prove themselves as a viable option, it’s clear that not all aspects of this system were considered at the time of the initial proposals.
Last year around 27,000 heat pumps were installed following on from the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and the most recent green heat incentive. This means the heat pump systems have been put under scrutiny by the public.
There’s actually an extensive list as to why ASHP aren’t favourable and we’ve compiled a lot of information from the likes of the renewable energy hub, greensquare.co.uk, the telegraph and the express. Each point mentioned below has been extracted from one of these four sources.
There are 5 main issues that appear time and time again on countless articles online. The main problems include upfront cost, the running costs, functionality, the installation criteria and the general practicality of the system.
The price for a heat pump can range massively. Anywhere from £7,000 all the way up to £35,000!! ‘’Installing air source heat pumps can cost up to £20,000 in older properties, while some homeowners have been quoted £30,000. They may also be less efficient in cold weather, and generate a lot more noise, too.’’ – Express
“Existing homeowners can be looking at costs between £10,000 and £14,000. If you are paying any less, I would be concerned about the quality of installation, the likely running costs and the unit’s lifespan.” – Jack McGovern, director of heating engineers.
“Let’s be frank, these things cost about 10 grand a pop. This is a lot of money for ordinary people.” – Prime Minister Boris Johnson to a Parliamentary committee
‘’A survey for the RSK Group, the services provider, found that on average the public believe heat pumps cost around £3,290 to purchase and install.’’ ‘’… an air source heat pump can cost between £7,000 and £14,000 to purchase and install, and ground source heat pumps can cost between £15,000 and £35,000.’’ – RSK Group.
At a time where every penny counts, it feels like people are being pushed to go for this heating system on the basis they’ll be saving money each year on bills. Which has now also been proving to not be as much as initially thought.
‘‘Under normal circumstances, in a typical home a heat pump will be £400 to £465 cheaper to run each year than a G-rated gas boiler. However, A-rated gas boilers are still around £35 to £55 cheaper to run each year than a heat pump.’’ – Telegraph
From our experience, compared to an A rated gas boiler, infrared is around 10-20% cheaper to run despite gas prices being lower per kilowatt. In a typical 3 bedroom home, we’d replace a 29KW boiler with around 6.5KW of infrared heating.
£0.08 per hour average gas price x 29KW boiler = £2.32
£0.30 per hour average electric price x 6.5KW IR system = £1.95
Not only are the running costs higher and the upfront costs can be astronomical, it turns out the system doesn’t actual function that great either.
‘’Air source heat pump problems in cold weather include less efficiency and lower heat supply. When temperatures drop below zero, air source heat pumps have to work harder and so aren’t as cost effective as during the summer’’ – Green square.
‘’A key drawback of air source heat pumps is that they simply don’t provide the same level of heat that some homeowners have grown to expect’’ – Green Square.
‘’They can take quite some time to heat up, leaving your home cold in the mornings‘’ – Renewable Energy Hub.
‘’At present, heat pumps can be slower at heating a home than a conventional boiler or electric heater. Traditional central heating systems heat water by burning gas, which can take radiators to around 75C. Heat pumps only heat water to a maximum of around 65C, meaning houses that use them take longer to warm up ‘’ – Telegraph.
‘’Installation costs are high because radiators will generally need replacing. Heat pumps run at a lower temperature, so need bigger radiators.” – Express
‘’The technology works better in new-builds, but most of us don’t live in them. Those likely to benefit from the installation of an air source heat pump are few and far between. They are just not cut out for retro fit to existing properties,” – Express
‘’Around 25 million homes in Britain do not have adequate insulation. Bringing a poorly-insulated home up to scratch can cost thousands of pounds’’ – Telegraph
‘’…the installation is at least a metre from the boundary of your home, will be used only for heating, is installed on a suitable surface such as the ground or a flat roof (1 metre from the edge), has a maximum volume of .6 cubic metres’’ – Green Square
‘’To have a high return in terms of saving from purchasing and using an air source heat pump, it is important to have a well-insulated home, with especially loft insulation. This makes sure that the heat generated within the home does not escape’’ – Green Match
Despite the above, if you wanted to go ahead and install a heat pump on your property there are a few other factors to consider.
As mentioned above the system needs to be pretty much constantly for you to get the benefits. Air source heat pumps are very loud and to have it running 24/7 is not fun for you or your neighbours.
Let’s be honest, they also don’t look great. The big white box with the industrial looking fan is not the prettiest thing to have stuck onto the side of your property. Alongside this big white box, you also have to consider that you need much larger radiators in your home to compensate for the lesser heat output.
Why infrared heating?
Although the upfront cost for an infrared system can vary quite a bit depending on your personal circumstances, you can expect to at least half the upfront cost of an air source heat pump.
As shown in the example above gas boilers are cheaper to run than the air source heat pumps, and infrared is 10-20% cheaper to run than a gas boiler.
As infrared isn’t heating the air, it isn’t affected other variables such as outside temperatures. The infrared system is worked out on a basis that it’ll barely need to be called upon in spring/autumn time and only needs to be used for longer durations during those few extra weeks in the middle of winter. If specified correctly, no infrared heater should struggle to heat your home, regardless of the temperature outside.
To be honest, there really isn’t any criteria that you need to be able to fit infrared heating. Insulation is not super important, the age of property doesn’t really change much and they work either in a retro-fit or in a new build.
Infrared heaters need to run for a fraction of the time that a gas boiler does, so compared to ASHP you can probably reduce running times by about 90%. Infrared heaters will work for 5-15 minutes to heat your rooms, turn off once they’re up to temperature and might not turn back on for another hour before needing to top up the heating.
There’s no noise at all and no moving parts. No corrosion, nothing to wear away and very little that can cause your heater issues. They also look pretty nice as well!
From the articles we’ve read and the information we’ve compiled, there seems to be an issues with almost every single aspect of heat pumps.
If you want to get in touch for some more information on how infrared heaters compared, give us a call on 0300 303 9625 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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