An air source heat pump is a heating method compatible with electric or oil-fired boilers. The generators are located outside, so they are a great option for those with outdoor pools as well as owners of new build properties, which are typically both better insulated and smaller than older houses these days. Consultancy and installation firm ISO Energy (http://www.isoenergy.co.uk/air-source-heat-pump) has a wealth of information relating to all kinds of renewable heating, of which the air source heat pump is just one example.
Like solar power, the controller in an air source heat pump compensates for the traditionally iffy British weather with sensors to adjust temperature and output. This means that the pump distributes heating and hot water as and when needed, and only then.
It converts energy from the air into heat using a fan and an evaporator heat exchanger. The low boiling point of the refrigerant (well below freezing) means that no matter how cold the air temperature is, the system will still work.
An air source heat pump system then distributes the heat thus generated to the home, generally via a normal domestic central heating system. This is known as an air-to-water system. The rarer air-to-air type circulates warm air through ducting, and is generally used only for environmental heating and cooling.
An air source heat pump system may not seem particularly suited to the chilly British weather, but for outdoor pool owners, it is an ideal method of heating the pool water. These systems also perform particularly well when air temperatures are higher than ground temperatures, as can happen in the spring and autumn here.
Some air source heat pump systems are not ideal for use in the UK, so buyers should research the manufacturer’s target market before purchasing. Those pumps with smaller heat exchangers are generally not recommended for the UK market, as they do not cope well with the damp climate. When an air source heat pump freezes up, it needs electricity to defrost the heat exchanger, which makes it less effective (and more expensive to run) until it reaches optimum working temperature.
A good installer will be able to advise on the ideal location for an air source heat pump unit, as well as providing assistance with associated building works, electricity supply and plant room considerations. It is also important to take into account the heating system which the unit will be powering, as some types of interior heating system work better with air source heat pumps than others.
An air source heat pump system may not be suitable for every property, but these systems should not be discounted when looking for renewable energy solutions.