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Air Source Heat Pumps

With the introduction of the first phase of the Renewable Heat Incentive set to launch at the end of November 2011, and Autumn 2012 for the domestic sector, greener technologies such as heat pumps are likely to become increasingly popular.

An air source heat pump works by extracting heat from outside air, just as a fridge does when it extracts heat from its interior. The pumps operate with your existing heat system and cut down carbon emissions.

Even with an outside temperature as low as minus 15° C heat can be obtained.

There are two main types of systems:

• An air to water system utilises your wet central heating system. It works more efficiently at a lower temperature than a standard boiler, making it particularly good for underfloor heating systems or larger radiators. This is due to the low heat release over long periods.

• An air to air system produces warm heat which is then circulated throughout the home by fans.

The pumps work by absorbing heat from the air into a fluid, which is then pumped through a heat exchanger. Alternatively, low heat is passed through a heat pump compressor then concentrated into a higher temperature. It can be used to heat water and the hot water circuits of the house.


The first phase of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is to be launched for the non-residential sector at the end of November 2011. The domestic side of the scheme will be introduced in Autumn 2012, alongside the Government’s Green Deal. This incentive is aimed at everyone, including households, businesses, schools, hospitals and more. It can also be used by entire communities as a joint investment.

Installing an air source heat pump may in future benefit the homeowner much in the same ways as the Feed-In Tariff (a comparable scheme for electricity) does. If this technology is approved under the RHI, users will receive an estimate on how much heat their renewable system produces and will then be paid a fixed amount based on that estimate.

Furthermore, using air source heat pumps can help cut household heating bills by up to 70 per cent. Heat pumps are also 100 per cent proven technology, meaning there are no risks.

More reasons to switch

In the UK heat production is responsible for around half (49 per cent) of the total energy demand consumed. Almost half of all the UK’s carbon emissions are produced as a result. By switching from fossil fuels to cleaner and more sustainable sources of energy homeowners can reduce the impact that our heat requirements have on the environment and will take advantage of an energy supply that is safe, secure and reliable.

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