West Wales Heating

Air Source Heat Pumps


What is it?

An air source heat pump extracts the heat from the air outside your house. It is like an air conditioned unit sized box that is installed alongside your house that has a fan on it. It then draws the air through the heat exchanger to the mechanics inside the heat pump. The mechanics are very similar to a workings of a fridge apart from where a fridge takes heat from inside the fridge and flows it out the back, the heat pump takes the heat from the air which then goes through a compressor, multiples the heat up and then sends it to where you need it. Generally with a heat pump, this is a buffer cylinder.

What is an air source heat pump buffer cylinder?

A buffer cylinder is like a battery for heat and the air source heat pump will supply heat to that buffer and the buffer is then your heating and hot water demand for when you need it.

What size is a buffer cylinder?

An air source heat pump buffer cylinder is sometimes around 100-200 litres, but more commonly between 100-150 litres. It is a round cylinder, generally around 500mm in diameter that the heat is stored in, ready for use when your house needs it.

How efficient is the air source heat pump?

Something that you will see in the manufacturer’s literature of a heat pump is a COP, which is the coefficient of performance. This effectively measures the efficiency of the machine. Generally with an air source heat pump, you are looking at something between 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 COP’s. This means that it is between 350% and 450% efficient. When you compare that to a modern oil or gas boiler, it is a lot less as they are typically around 98% efficient.

What kind of customer would use the air source heat pump?

For West Wales Heating, 70% of air source heat pump customers are generally domestic and the other 30% is the more commercial side.

Commercial heat pumps

For the commercial side, air source units tend to be used because instead of an air source heat pump that is air to water, you can also have air systems. This is where you take heat from the air and give it out again as air via a unit on the wall, which can be seen on large commercial buildings.

Domestic air source heat pumps

Domestic air source heat pumps can be used on any kind of domestic place like a housing estate, farms or detached properties. With an air source heat pump, you only require very little space in which to install it and has even been seen to be hanging off a bracket on the wall. A ground source heat pump system can also be used for domestic installations of heat pumps