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How Does an Air Source Heat Pump Work?

heat pumps

Although not as popular in the UK as they are in Europe, air source heat pumps are gradually on the rise as a method of heating. In this article, we explain how they work, the pros and cons, and why you should consider investing in air source heating.

What is an air source heat pump?

Air source heat pumps, also known as ASHPs, are a modern way of heating the home that is more energy-efficient than its traditional counterpart. Though not suitable for every home, they are a great option for those who want to start using a renewable form of energy, as they use existing warm air which is constantly being renewed naturally.

How do air source heat pumps work?

Heat pump systems work by absorbing heat from the outside air and moving (or pumping) it from one place to another. It does this by using a compressor and circulating liquid or gas refrigerant – the same system that is used to keep a fridge cool, but in reverse.
There are two main types of air source heat pumps, one being air-to-air and the other being air-to-water. The former works by producing warm air that is circulated by fans, whereas the latter transfers heat via your central heating system. Heat pump systems can also reverse the process to cool the home during the summer months.

What to consider before getting an air source heat pump

You may want to think about how well insulated and airtight your home is, as this will help to reduce your heating needs and make your heat pump more effective. A surface area that is larger than a conventional central heating system (for example underfloor heating systems or large radiators), that emits a small amount of heat over long time periods, is generally preferable.

Although their running costs are low, a disadvantage is that the upfront air source heat pump cost is quite high, which can be a potential barrier. This is due to the complicated installation process which requires significant work to your house and garden, but it’s worth it in the end for an energy-efficient heating and cooling system.

Heat pump benefits

There are many advantages to investing in air source heating. After the initial cost, most people will see their running costs reduce dramatically. You could also potentially earn some extra income through the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive.

Heat pump systems are also better for the environment. Although not completely carbon-neutral as they require electricity to run, heat pumps make use of existing warm air outside the home. So, depending on what fuel you are replacing, they can lower your home’s carbon emissions and can heat your home as well as your water.

Last but not least, there is the added benefit of providing cool air during the summer months, meaning your heat pump system can meet two needs in one. With a life span of 50+ years, heat pumps can be relied upon for decades.


Here at Air Conditioning Services (GB), we supply and install the latest air-to-water heat pumps to give your home or business a heat source that can be relied on for years to come. We also install energy-efficient domestic hot water cylinders to enable your heat pump to heat your water. For more information on our services, don’t hesitate to get in touch today.