Air Source Heat Pumps and Renewable Heat Incentive

Published: 31-12-2019

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To some, the inner workings of their household central heating system are an unfathomable mystery. Systems often malfunction in the autumn, when the heating is turned on after a long summer of disuse. Some of the common problems with traditional heating systems are over-heating radiators, noisy boilers, inconsistent temperature and the spike in energy costs during the colder times of the year.


If you are on oil, LPG, all-electric or looking to replace your existing boiler soon then an Air Source Heat Pump is a no brainier. This is for the simple fact you will have much cheaper running costs and the cost of the new boiler could be invested towards your Heat Pump. The technology is brilliant but as with all things it will work for most but there are some situations we advise not to do it.


What is the renewable heat incentive?


RHI, also known as Renewable Heat Incentive, the RHI is a government-sponsored scheme that was designed to financially reward folks in the UK(England, Scotland, and Wales) who use renewable energy to heat their homes. With RHI, you can get quarterly payments for seven years if you are about to install or already use renewable technology in heating your home. While the immediate goal of this incentive is to help users of renewable heat technology offset the costs, the larger picture is to produce 12% of the heat used in the UK from renewable sources by 2020.

All you need is to be eligible to apply for this initiative is to be a homeowner, landlord, or homebuilder. You can then apply to the energy regulator which makes payments to you after you have joined the scheme. The best part is that you even get paid for generating your own heat! There’s even more. You can install more than one renewable technology and still get paid for each system.


At Nationwide Renewables we take care of registration, commissioning and preparing your paperwork, so all you have to do is fill in your personal details and post to ofGem.




As a homeowner, you can earn an additional 10,500 pounds apart from your energy savings within 7 years of using an air source heat pump. 


The technology that allows you to generate your own heat is called Air Source Heat Pump. 


Air source heat pumps (ASHPs) are a popular renewable heating system, suitable for a wide range of homes and building projects. Your regular heat pump looks like big air conditioning units fitted to the back of buildings. But that’s where the similarities end. While air-conditioning units cool things down, heat pumps heat things up. Heat pumps extract heat from their surroundings, which is then pumped into a building throughout the day to keep the building warm and to provide hot water. They have now become the rave of air-conditioning because of reasons that we will explain later in the article. There are three types: geothermal, water source, and air to air (the latter is the focus of this article).

Air source heat pumps (or ASHPs) use a natural source of heat - air - to produce energy. This is done by absorbing warmth from the outside air and converting it into heat.



There are two main types of air source heat pump systems:


· The air to water heat pumps, which distributes heat by a wet central heating system. With this heat pump, you get to heat your space and get hot water.

· The air to air heat pumps, which produces heat by using fans to circulate the air outside your home into your home. You do not get hot water with this system, though.

Domestic air source heat pumps are increasingly popular among individual households because they are cost-efficient and environment-friendly means of air conditioning. You might have to consider the following before getting an air source heat pump: the size and insulation in your home, the brand of the pump, pump size, and its performance.

Air source heat pumps are also great investments because they are highly efficient, providing four times more heat than if you had to heat your home with electricity. This reduces your heating costs and saves you much more money in the long run. They are also perfect for well-insulated properties since they can gradually increase the temperature without losing energy through the roof, windows, and walls. They also work well with underfloor heating or warm air heating and conventional radiators.



What about the maintenance side of an Air Source Heat Pump?


Air source heat pumps are low maintenance, so once they have been installed and are set up properly, you can pretty much go ahead and forget about them except to make yearly checks. You should also contribute to saving the environment by using air source heat pumps that are eco-friendly.



How does an Air Source Heat Pump actually work?


The basic concept of a heat pump is that a small amount of energy is used to move heat from one place to another, from cool to warm or reverse. Air source heat pumps are like reverse refrigerators as heat from the air is gathered and absorbed into a loop with refrigerant fluid. After the heat has been extracted from the air, it passes through a compressor that compresses it, thus producing a higher temperature. The heat exchanger then transfers the heat through piping to the needed locations like radiators, underfloor heating systems and hot water circuits in the house (if you use an air to water system). There are slight differences in the operations of both systems, though.


 With the air to air heat pumps, energy is generated by moving air from one place to another. This system can be used as an air-conditioner as the heat gets extracted from the inside during the warmer seasons is released outside, leaving the inside of the house cooler in the process. During the cooler seasons, the pump takes air from the outside and heats it by compressing it. The warmer air will then be released inside the house and distributed through the pipes to the radiators, underfloor heating, or is used to heat water.

The difference with the operations of the air to water heat pumps is that the heat gets transported to the intended destinations through water piping. One other thing is that while the air to air heat pumps require electricity, air to water heat pumps works based on hydronic technology. Although air-source heat pumps are said to be more efficient in warmer climates, they also work well in colder climates. Air source heat pumps can extract heat from the air even when the temperature outside is as low as minus 20 degrees Celsius!

 What’s the installation process?


Heat pump installation is relatively simple for any plumbing and heating engineer. The heat pump controls and pipework layout are very similar to a traditional gas or oil boiler, configured as a Y or S plan industry-standard layout.

  • The ASHP is placed on a flat concrete base external to the property with the appropriately sized flow and return heating pipes and electrical power cable running from the unit into the property

  • Electrical work should be carried out by a qualified electrician in the conventional way as you would for a gas or oil boiler



Air source heat pumps are efficient, affordable, and relatively eco-friendly. However, their biggest selling point is their cost-effectiveness. You can get renewable heat incentive payments that allow you to save up to 90% on your energy bill.


You can never go wrong with an air source heat pump. What with its efficiency, affordability, and the incentives for owning one or more. In addition, environmental demands, and recent advancements in air-source heat pump technology suggest that it is going to be around for a while. So why not get on the train while you can.




Contact us today for more information and to find out if your house qualifies for an Air Source Heat Pump. Tel: 08000835669. 


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