If you are thinking about installing an air-source heat pump, there are quite a few advantages. However, there are also some disadvantages that you should be aware of if you are considering this as a heating solution for your home.
In this article, we will go through some of the main benefits and why they could be beneficial to you.
- 1 The Upfront Cost Can Be High
- 2 Power Consumption Can Be High
- 3 Aesthetics Aren’t Great
- 4 They Can Be Noisy
- 5 They Require Regular Maintenance
- 6 You Need Ample Outdoor Space
- 7 You Might Need Planning Permission
- 8 They Don’t Provide The Same Level Of Heat
- 9 Not Suitable For Very Cold Climates
- 10 May Need To Add Additional Insulation
- 11 Hard To Go Completely Off-Grid
- 12 The Bottom Line
The Upfront Cost Can Be High
The price to install an average Air Source Heat Pump is considerably higher than that of a natural gas boiler. This can make it an expensive option for many homeowners and so you need to consider whether the benefits are worth the cost.
Of course, you are able to get assistance through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, so this may help to make the upfront cost more manageable. If you live in Scotland, then interest-free loans are available through Home Energy Scotland.
Related: New Builds and Air Source Heat Pumps
Power Consumption Can Be High
Although air source heat pumps can be more efficient than traditional heating systems, they do still use quite a lot of power. If you have multiple heat pumps in your home or if you rely on one as your primary source of heating, then this could result in high energy costs each month.
Aesthetics Aren’t Great
Let’s be honest, there isn’t really a nice-looking way to install an air source heat pump. They tend to be quite large and bulky, and they can often stick out like a sore thumb in your garden or on your patio.
Unfortunately, there is no way of getting around this and so if you are someone who is particularly picky about the way your home looks, then an air source heat pump might not be the best option for you.
They Can Be Noisy
Another downside of air source heat pumps is that they can be quite noisy. If you have one installed near your bedroom window, then you might find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
There are ways to reduce the noise output of your heat pump, but this will usually come at an extra cost.
A cheaper and more effective way to reduce the noise is to ensure the filters and any vents are clear and unobstructed, this will help the airflow and therefore reduce noise.
They Require Regular Maintenance
Like any piece of machinery, an air source heat pump will require regular maintenance in order to keep it running smoothly. This can include things like cleaning the filters and checking the outdoor unit for any damage or debris.
If you don’t keep on top of the maintenance, then you might find that your heat pump starts to develop problems that could be costly to fix.
You Need Ample Outdoor Space
In order to install an air source heat pump, you need to have enough outdoor space for it. If you live in a small apartment with no outdoor space, then this won’t be an option for you.
On average, you’ll need to install your heat pump two feet (24 inches) away from walls and other obstructions, including plants and bushes, as well as boulders and other such objects.
You Might Need Planning Permission
Depending on where you live, you might need to get planning permission before you can install an air source heat pump. This is because they can be quite large and so they might not be allowed in certain areas.
Even though you might not need planning, your heat pump must local building regulations.
Despite these disadvantages, many people still prefer to install an air source heat pump because of the benefits it offers. As long as you are aware of all the disadvantages beforehand, you should be able to make an informed decision about whether this is right for you or not.
They Don’t Provide The Same Level Of Heat
One of the main drawbacks to air source heat pumps is the fact that they don’t provide the same level of heat as a traditional heating system.
So, a popular option is to install underfloor heating with your air source heat pump, as this will ensure that you get the same level of warmth and comfort – in a more efficient way.
Larger radiators are often required
Oftentimes, you may need to install larger radiators as part of your air source heat pump system in order to get the same amount of warmth. This can be a hassle and so it’s definitely something that you need to consider before making any decisions.
This is because the flow temperature of an air source heat pump can be quite low, which means that you may need to install larger radiators in order to get the same level of warmth.
Not Suitable For Very Cold Climates
Air source heat pumps are designed to work in freezing conditions, down to at least -10°C. If you live in a very cold climate and the temperature regularly drops below -10°C, then your heat pump won’t be able to run as efficiently.
This is also due to low Coefficient of Performance (COP) levels at very low temperatures. So, if you live in a cold climate, you may want to consider another type of heating system instead.
May Need To Add Additional Insulation
It’s so important for heat pumps to be installed in insulated buildings. This is because the lower the flow temperature from the pump, the higher the efficiency. A poorly insulated building means a higher flow temperature is needed which means it will cost more to heat your home.
Hard To Go Completely Off-Grid
Unless you install solar panels or wind generators to your heat pump, there’s a strong chance that you will still need to use the national grid.
So, unless you can do this, I wouldn’t recommend going completely off-grid with your air source heat pump.
The Bottom Line
Air source heat pumps have their advantages and disadvantages. Before making a decision, weigh out all the pros and cons to see if this is the right heating system for you and your home.