Last updated 6th September 2019
All you need to know about air source heating, including costs of air source heating installation, equipment, labour and time frames.
Getting your money back from the cost of installing an air source heat pump will depend on the efficiency of your system and the type of heating fuel you are replacing. Annual savings you can expect in a four-bedroom detached house are around £450 per year if replacing an oil heating system, around £1,800 per year if replacing an LPG heating system and around £1,000 if replacing an electric night storage heating system.
With mains gas, there are hardly any savings at all so no payback figures can be calculated. The actual installation costs will differ regionally across the UK, as well as depending on the type of system you choose to install and the size of your home.
The systems prices can vary quite a lot, from as little as £500 up to £7000 - your own cost of a system will likely be proportional to the property in question. The system itself will be the majority of the expense of the project, so the choice of system should be thought over carefully, to ensure that a suitable system is selected that meets the property needs and not paying for unnecessary/excessive additional features.
As an installation will typically take a few days to complete, the expected labour cost would be between £150-£250 per day, depending on factors such as the difficulty of the installation, time taken and where in the country that the work is being completed (as labour rates can vary regionally).
|Job Description||Avg. Cost||Duration|
|Air source heat pump installation||£7500||1-3 Days|
Individual costs of air source heating - Total Cost: £7500
An air source heat pump can offer the same benefits as a conventional gas or electric heating system by transferring heat from the outside air to a wet central heating system to heat radiators and provide hot water. An air source heat pump works much like a refrigerator in reverse, absorbing heat from the air and transferring it into your home or office. They can also function as a cooling system in hot weather and are usually placed outside where there is adequate space.
There are two main types of heat pumps to choose from: air-to-air heat pumps which transfers heat directly into your home, or air-to-water heat pumps which transfer the heat into your central heating system to provide hot water and radiators.
Air source heat pumps offer a low carbon footprint and the pump can even be powered by wind or solar power. They can heat hot water for immediate use or store hot water in a cylinder for later use. Air source heat pumps can deliver heat at a lower temperature and you can potentially receive payments in the UK through the Renewable Heat Incentive.
You can save on your energy bills using an air source heat pump and they have an operational lifespan of up to 20 years, plus it only typically takes a few days to install the air source heat pump and all you need to do is clean them every few months and get a technician in once a year to service them. No fuel storage is required either and you can even use them to provide cooling in the summer months!
The main disadvantages of air source heat pumps are that they supply water at a lower temperature so you will need larger radiators to keep rooms at the same temperatures. In fact, air source heat pumps perform much better with underfloor heating or warm air heating than when coupled to larger radiators.
So if you are building a new home, it is better to integrate a heat pump with underfloor heating in the planning stage. In the UK right now, gas is so cheap that if you live in a home with mains gas you would not save much, if anything, by installing an air source heat pump. In addition, to reap the most benefit from an air source heat pump you need to have a highly insulated home.
Renewable heat installations (RHI) can receive a cashback subsidy based on heat generated. The RHI is a major incentive for homeowners to invest in air source heat pumps and the tariffs are exempt from income tax too! This means that domestic users will not be taxed on any income received from the Feed-In Tariffs or RHI scheme. The Renewable Heat Installations scheme is administered by Ofgem.
There are no actual air source heat pump grants available in the UK at the moment, but owners can apply to Ofgem who will pay tariffs based on the metered heat generated to provide space heating or hot water. To qualify for the subsidies you need to show that the equipment is maintained according to the manufacturer's instructions and the installers will need to be MCS certified, or equivalent.
The two main factors that impact the running costs of an air source heat pump are the heat demand and the efficiency of the system. The annual running costs will always be less than fossil fuel running costs, but the demand and efficiency of the system can make a huge difference to the running costs and therefore total savings over traditional heating fuels such as gas or oil.
The heat demand is simply that which is required to heat the property. This essentially boils down to the property size, number of rooms, and the optimal temperature desired. The more energy required, the bigger the heat pump, and the higher the initial and running costs.
The efficiency of the heat pump also affects the running cost so when choosing a pump get advice on the most suitable model to keep running costs at a minimum. Some types of heat pump installation are just naturally more efficient than others. For example, air source heat pumps installed with underfloor heating reduce the amount of work that the pump needs to do. But in a typical installation the monthly running costs are minimal, with just a small amount of electricity required which is more than offset by the reduction in heating bills.
While the the two types of heat pump work in much the same way, the cost of having a ground source pump installed is around twice as much as an air source pump. Much of this extra cost comes from the costs of excavation. However, despite the greater upfront installation cost, ground source pumps are more efficient so have cheaper running costs.
Renewable Heat Incentive payments are also higher for ground source heat pumps. But not every home is stable for the installation of a ground source heat pump and for many, the slightly reduced efficiency of an air source pump is a price worth paying when they are saving up to £10,000 on the upfront installation costs!
Air source heat pumps are not expensive to run and are not noisy in operation. They do work in cold weather and will provide heating and hot water even in in winter. However, in extremely cold temperatures, some homes may require an additional heating source.
Air source heat pumps can be used to run radiators or under-floor heating and are extremely economical, cheaper than gas, oil or electric heaters. This type of heating works best in homes which are already well insulated and draftproofed. In the UK the installation costs are relatively small, the running costs are minimal, and the payback on investment is rapid.