Air Source Heat Pump benefits Your Client Wants to Know
7 benefits your clients want to know
As a heating engineer, you may have been aware of the benefits of air source heat pumps for a while now.
But when it comes to discussing potential installations, you want to be able to articulate those benefits for maximum impact.
Here are the 7 benefits of air source heat pumps that your clients really want to know!
But first, a quick recap: What is an air source heat pump?
There are two types of air source heat pump system: air-to-water and air-to-air.
Air-to-water heat pumps are most common and the most likely thing you’ll be asked to install. They capture heat from the air and transfer it to a fluid inside the pump.
This fluid is compressed to produce a higher temperature of heat which, in turn, warms up the home’s hot water supply for central heating, underfloor heating, taps and showers.
Air-to-air heat pumps are less common. They typically use fans to circulate warm air around the home and aren’t used to heat water.
And now…the benefits.
1. Lower carbon emissions
Unlike fossil fuel-based heating systems, like oil or gas boilers, air source heat pumps do not rely on depleting resources and so contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
They're often referred to as a form of 'low carbon heating'.
The air used by an air source heat pump is freely available; with any warmth or coolness in that air generated from the outside climate.
An air source heat pump does not directly burn fossil fuels to create heat like a boiler does.
And whilst an air source heat pump does need some electricity to run, it is 3-4 times less than your average boiler. According to EcoExperts:
“To produce the average 12,000 kWh of electricity needed to heat a home, a heat pump only needs to use around 4,000 kWh of electricity. A gas boiler, on the other hand, would use around 13,200 kWh.”
All of these factors lower the dependency on gas and other fossil fuels, and so help to lower overall carbon emissions you would normally associate with heating a home.
2. Lower energy bills
Air source heat pumps are much more efficient than gas boilers.
Most heat pumps have an efficiency rating of 300%, whereas most gas and oil boilers are only about 90% efficient.
This means heat pumps can produce three units of energy for every one unit of electricity they consume. So, they use much less electricity to heat your home.
In today’s cost of living crisis, this is particularly important.
Though there is an investment to install an air source heat pump (of around £10,000) the reward is often a significant saving in the price of electricity.
Especially noticeable in winter when we tend to spend more money to keep our homes warm.
3. Works for heating and cooling
Most people understand that air source heat pumps will allow them to heat their homes - as it's in the name!
But they probably don’t know that they can work the other way, too. So this point is well worth a mention when you’re next pitching an installation.
Just as air source heat pumps extract heat from the outside air and transfer it to your water pipes to provide hot water, they can be used the opposite way (known as their ‘cooling mode’).
If a house is too hot in summer, anything that is cold is likely to absorb this residual heat energy. And that includes water in radiators and the central heating system.
So, as warm water moves around the house and inevitably through the pump, the heat pump takes heat from the water and expels it to the air outside. This cools down the water and in turn removes heat from the building.
4. Long product lifespan
Air source heat pumps are durable and have a relatively long lifespan.
With proper maintenance, they can last for 15 to 20 years or even longer.
This longevity ensures a stable and efficient heating system for an extended period. By comparison, the average life of a boiler is 10-15 years.
5. Low Maintenance
Air source heat pumps generally require less maintenance compared to traditional heating systems.
For example, whilst a boiler requires servicing once a year for optimal performance and safety, heat pumps are every 2-3 years.
For people whose boilers are powered by an oil reserve on their land, a heat pump installation can also reduce the amount of oil refill deliveries needed per year.
Regular cleaning of filters and annual servicing is typically sufficient to ensure optimal performance.
6. Minimal space requirements
Whether it’s a heat pump, wind turbine or solar panels, a drawback of renewable energy can often be the assumed space required.
There’s sometimes an impression that only detached houses with land are viable. Which is not the case.
Air source heat pumps require minimal space to be installed - the equivalent or less room than the average boiler. And if you’re switching from a boiler, you will almost definitely have a hot water tank already, which is the only other consideration.
Air source heat pumps are compact. They can be installed in various locations, including gardens, balconies, or rooftops, making them suitable for different types of homes.
According to the National Energy Foundation, installing an air source heat pump in a domestic property does not usually require planning permission, as it is classed as permitted development.
The only condition you may have to watch out for is a requirement that all parts of the air source heat pump must be at least one metre from the property boundary and (if installed on a flat roof) be at least one meter away from the roof’s edge.
7. Safer than boilers
Air source heat pumps are considered safer to run than boilers for several reasons.
Firstly, they do not burn fuel internally, eliminating risks such as gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning.
They operate at lower temperatures than boilers, reducing the risk of burns or scalds.
An air source heat pump also has fewer mechanical components and does not produce flames or hot surfaces, minimising the potential for fire hazards.
Finally, heat pumps do not require on-site fuel storage, reducing the risk of fuel-related accidents. Overall, the absence of combustion and lower operating temperatures make air source heat pumps a safer option for heating and cooling systems in homes and commercial buildings.
Why air source over ground source heat pumps?
Now you know all the heat pump advantages it's not hard to see why they are sure to grow in popularity, as the benefits become more widely known.
But a question you may get as an installer is: why air source over ground source?
For some houses, it will be that ground source heat pumps require a lot of outdoor space. Many UK houses simply don’t have that. And if they do - do they want to dig it up?
Because of the invasive nature of installation, ground source tends to cost more to put in place. Up to double, in fact, of air source heat pumps.
Finally, ground source heat pumps have more complex systems due to the ground loop components. So if issues arise with the ground loop, repairs and maintenance can be more involved and costly compared to the simpler setup of air source.
Are there grants for air source heat pumps?
Government information (as of July 2023) states that The Boiler Upgrade Scheme will give homeowners £5000 to purchase an air source heat pump.
As it stands, there are no plans to end the scheme before 2028. Plus, VAT on heat pumps has been abolished until 2028.
The requirements include:
- owning the property that the heat pump will be installed at
- a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) with no outstanding insulation recommendations
- that the heat pump must be replacing a fossil fuel system
Unfortunately, just 90,000 homes will be able to take advantage of the grant over the next three years – so if your clients are interested they’ll have to be quick!
Additionally, homeowners whose installations were done after April 2022 can backdate their claim of the grant. People who have already had funding to make their homes more energy efficient for a different reason e.g. insulation, are also eligible.
This Eco Experts blog provides a run through of five different grants available for heat pump installations in the UK. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme is the most accessible.
Still need to qualify as an air source heat pump installer?
So now you know all the advantages, and useful answers to two big questions, you can continue selling your air source heat pump installation services with confidence.
And if you’re still looking to get fully qualified, as part of an existing role or to start your own business, we have some information on that too!
Air source heat pump installer course at Universal Skills Group
Our Air Source Heat Pump (Installation, Commissioning and Servicing) course is aimed at experienced heating installers who wish to expand their knowledge and skills.
Learn how to fit heat pumps in domestic and small commercial properties. Alongside gaining a Level 3 Certification which increases your credibility and gives you the competitive edge.
Proudly show your customers that you are trained to the highest of standards!
And all in an Ofsted Outstanding learning environment. At Universal Skills Group we are immensely proud of our training mentors and facilities, providing one of the industry’s best routes to get qualified, confident and certified in your chosen skill set.
£500 off your course in 2023/24 with the Heat Training Grant
Universal Skills Group's Air Source Heat Pump (Installation, Commissioning and Servicing) course is also eligible for the government's Heat Training Grant funding.
This means we've been selected to offer our fantastic course at a massively discounted rate. And the best part is, we take care of all the admin when it comes to claiming funding.
You simply go to checkout and claim your £500 off today (with code AIRSOURCEFUNDING) and we sort the rest!
So that's a £654 course for just £154, all thanks to the grant.
As this is a government scheme, there is currently no information on when it ends. So book your space while it's still available!