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Thinking About Using an Air Source Heat Pump to Heat Your Home?
When you engage someone to fit an air source heat pump, you want to be sure that they are fully qualified and know just what to do. This is the very reason the Microgeneration Certification Scheme ( MCS ) was created. It certifies, quality assures and provides that all important consumer protection for microgeneration installations. The scheme covers small-scale renewable electricity technologies such as solar PV, biomass, wind and air and ground heat source pumps.
Spartamech is fully certified by the MCS, and one of our specialities is air source heat pumps.So if you want an air source heat pump, you have certainly come to the right place. But what is an Air Source Heat Pump, and is it the right choice for your home or business?
An Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) is a system which extracts the heat from the air outside a property. This heat can then be used to provide heat inside, heating radiators, underfloor heating systems or warm air convectors. It can even be used to provide hot water.
And don’t worry if you think that the air where you live or work is not hot enough, ASHPs can extract heat from the air even when the temperature is as low as -25°C!
The system achieves this incredible feat by passing air across an evaporator (basically a grill with fins), the latent heat in the air ‘crosses’ the evaporator and is used to increase the temperature of the refrigerant within the evaporator. This in turn changes the refrigerant into gas, which is then passed through a compressor which compresses the gas, a process which increases the temperature of the refrigerant by anything up to 75°C.
The last stage is where a ‘plate heat exchanger’ is used to transfer the high temperature from the gas into what is known as the primary water within the heat pump system.
This can then be used to heat the home or to produce domestic hot water. It’s all really clever and is a very efficient way of taking heat from ‘thin air’ to heat your premises.
There are two main types of air source heat pump systems:
The standard air to water system, as detailed above, distributes the heat extracted from the air using your wet central heating system, in just the same way as a gas boiler would.
However, heat pumps are much more efficient than a standard boiler system would be, especially when temperatures are low.
This makes them far more suitable for use with ‘radiant floor’ / underfloor heating systems or where large radiators have to be used.
The air-to-air system uses the captured heat and produces warm air, this being circulated by fans, often using a ducted system. However, it is not deemed as efficient, which may be one reason why it was not eligible for the RHI – Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (now closed). An ASHP (Air Source Heat Pump) is always installed outside your home. The unit can be fitted to a wall or placed on the ground, but it does need to have plenty of clear space around it so a good air flow can be created by the inbuilt fans.
They are cheaper to run than other forms of heating as they only use a small amount of electricity to collect the heat from the air around your home. This reduces your energy costs / electric bill. By using clean-energy and less fossil fuels, you reduce your carbon footprint. The cost of installation is far lower than a Ground Source Heat Pump, geothermal heat pumps require a fair amount of ground space and extensive works.
Maintaining an Air Source Heat Pump
Like all mechanical devices, an ASHP unit requires regular scheduled maintenance, but as long as you take care of them, they should last for 20 years. The main thing to look out for are leaves and other debris around the air inlet grill and evaporator, it being essential to keep them clear so that the air flow is not restricted. It is also best to remove any plants that start to grow near the ASHP unit as these can cause issues if left in situ.
Certain units also use antifreeze in the water system, but don’t worry, we will let you know if required and ensure that the system is correctly installed and maintained.
Please contact us to discuss your requirements as we can then provide advice, answer any of your questions and of course, provide a quote for the installation and ongoing maintenance.
Sparta Mech also install air conditioning systems and cover not only Hereford and Herefordshire but also the surrounding counties, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and South Wales, not to mention London.