Renewable energy sources are becoming more popular these days, and air source heat pumps are one option that some homeowners are considering. However, these newer options present challenges of their own.
If you’re considering investing in the latest technology, you’re going to need to know about any potential problems you may encounter. Here, we take a look at some disadvantages that come with air source heat pumps.
What Are Air Source Heat Pumps?
An air source heat pump is, essentially, a box which sits on the exterior of a property, and which functions by turning cold air from the outdoors into hot water which fills the radiators inside the house as well as the underfloor heating system.
Air source heat pumps can make instantly hot water from air temperatures as low as -20 degrees. As an added bonus, they’re able to make cool air during the summer, and they can be used to heat swimming pool water too.
There are two kinds of air source heat pump – the air-to-air system and the air-to-water system. An air source heat pump takes a couple of days to install, and it can last as long as 20 years. It should require minimal maintenance beyond regular cleaning and an annual service. Of course, it’s also an environmentally friendly option.
With all of this in mind, it sounds like air source heat pumps are the perfect heating solution for every homeowner, so what could the problems possibly be?
High Upfront Costs
Whether you choose an air-to-air or air-to-water heat pump, the biggest disadvantage has to be the high upfront cost. Air source heat pumps are extremely costly, particularly because the technology is relatively new so fewer companies offer installation services and those that do charge a premium.
Poor Heating Quality
On top of the high upfront costs, another key drawback of the air source heat pump is that it is simply incapable of providing as much heat as UK homeowners expect. Overall temperatures produced by an air source heat pump are lower than those produced by a traditional gas boiler, and in the UK where the temperatures can drop very low during the winter months (and may not rise especially high even during the summer depending on your home’s location) – this is a serious disadvantage.
Poor Efficiency In Cold Weather
As anyone who lives in the UK knows, the temperature can drop below zero during the winter on a regular basis. Unfortunately, air source heat pumps experience issues when the temperatures are this low. They become less efficient and even less heat is produced. Air source heat pumps must work far harder when the temperature is very cold, and this means that they aren’t very cost-effective during the winter months. Of course, this is when you need heat the most, too!
Insulation And Noise
If you install an air source heat pump at your property, you need to have insulation fitted too. This is an extra cost that you need to factor into the already high installation costs if your home lacks sufficient insulation already.
Also, air source heat pumps are quite noisy. They sound similar to air conditioning units. If you are sensitive to noise, it’s likely that you’ll find the noise that these heat pumps produce quite irritating.
When you install an air source heat pump at your home, you may need to meet certain regulations. While most people won’t need to acquire planning permission to install their ASHP, it’s still important to adhere to council rules which include ensuring the installation is located a minimum of one metre from your home’s boundary. It must also be installed on an appropriate surface such as a flat roof or the ground, and it must only have a maximum volume of 0.6 cubic metres.
One further disadvantage of air source heat pumps is that the condenser will blow out cold air. While this may be an advantage on hot days, in general, it can cause more problems than it solves.
Finally, air source heat pumps are rather unattractive to look at. As they’re located outside your home they can easily be seen from the street which ruins your property’s curb appeal. If you’re worried about your home’s aesthetics, an ASHP may not be the best solution for you.
Gas Boilers Offer More Advantages
Although the idea behind air source heat pumps is a good one, the technology simply isn’t up to being used in the UK on a routine basis as yet. Therefore, gas boilers still remain the best heating option for now. If you need repairs to your existing boiler or if you’re looking for a new one, don’t hesitate to contact Rowlen today. As experts in the industry, we can give you all the advice that you need.