Air source heat pumps

Air Source Heat Pumps

the air source heat pump principle

Air source heat pumps collect heat energy from the outside air, heat energy which has been provided by the sun.  This vast and inexhaustible source of energy warms up our atmosphere and the outer layer of the earth’s crust, creating heat that's available for air source heat pumps to collect, upgrade and deliver efficiently into our homes.

Understandably, it's difficult to comprehend how enough thermal energy to heat our homes and domestic hot water can be collected from the outside air on a cold winter's day, but when you consider that the air around us continues to contain heat energy until it reaches -273°C (absolute zero), then the principle starts to become clear.

As humans, we consider a relatively tight temperature range as being comfortable, and whilst we feel cold when the temperature outside is at 0°C, there's still plenty of heat energy for air source heat pumps to collect.


air source heat pumps

An air source heat pump is a reverse-cycle refrigeration system.  Low-grade heat is collected from the outside air, which is then converted into high-grade heat and pumped into the home.

Once inside, this high-grade heat (carried by the refrigerant circulating around the system) can then be used to heat the home or warm domestic hot water, before returning to absorb more low-grade heat from outside.

The fundamental brilliance of a heat pump system is that the amount of heat energy being delivered into the home, is between 3 and 5 times greater than the amount of electrical energy consumed by the heat pump system itself.


Air source heat energy diagram


Therefore for every 1kW of electrical energy consumed, a further 2 to 4 kW of free and renewable heat energy is gained.


air to air heat pumps

Once efficiently collected, the heat energy being delivered into the home must then be efficiently rejected.  Air to air heat pump systems comprise of two heat exchangers, both highly efficient at transferring heat.

The external heat exchanger within the heat pump machine itself is responsible for collecting the low-grade heat, whilst the internal heat-exchanger is responsible for rejecting the upgraded heat into the home.

The internal section of these air to air heat pump systems therefore takes the form of an air-handling unit, comprising of the internal heat exchanger, low noise fan and some intelligent controls. 

The upgraded heat can be transferred into the home via a single large indoor unit, or via a number of smaller indoor units, each individually controllable and available in varying styles to meet the requirements of the homeowner.

The following air to air heat pump indoor unit styles are most commonly installed into the home:

Wall mounted indoor units

wall mounted type

The most popular, compact and affordable indoor unit available. Designed to be mounted on a wall at high level and available with various styling from discrete to outrageous.

wall mounted air conditioners >

Flexi / Universal type indoor units

flexi / universal type

As the name suggests, this indoor unit is flexible in the way it can be installed. Discharging air from the top, it can be mounted on a wall at low level, or be suspended horizontally below the ceiling.

flexi / universal air conditioners >

Floor standing type indoor units

floor standing type

This indoor unit can be stood directly onto the floor or mounted on the wall at low-level. Being compact in size, it can be installed unobtrusively into any room.

floor standing air conditioners >

Concealed ducted type indoor units

ducted type

The concealed ducted type indoor unit represents the ultimate in discretion. Typically installed within attic space, ceiling voids or adjacent rooms, conditioned air is delivered through grilles, leaving no equipment visible from within the room.

ducted air conditioners >

air to water heat pumps

Air to water heat pumps use the same air source method of collecting heat from outside, but instead of transferring the upgraded heat directly into the air within the home, it is transferred into a conventional hot water central heating circuit, which can then be used to heat radiators, underfloor heating circuits, towel rails or your domestic hot water cylinder.

The internal unit comprises of the hot water heat exchanger and some intelligent controls, and has the appearance of a conventional wall-hung boiler.

Enjoying the same energy efficiency ratios, up to 5kW of hot water can be generated through 1kW of electrical consumption.

Many of the mainstream air conditioning and heat pump equipment manufacturers now offer a range of air to water heat pump systems, with the Daikin Altherma system being our preferred air to water heat pump system at this time.

More details of the Daikin's air to water heat pump system can be found on our Daikin Altherma page.


For further information on air source heat pumps, contact us via our contact page or call us today on 0118 930 4404.

We look forward to speaking with you soon.

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