Busting the most Common Heat Pump Misconceptions

1. Doesn’t Work In Older Buildings/Only Suitable For New Builds

There are countless examples of air source heat pumps running effectively in older properties and saving customers money. So long as the installer designs the system based on the property type and what the heating requirements are then the system can provide efficient heating. There are many factors that go into an air source heat pump installation and various models and sizes to be selected by an experienced installer that matches the home’s needs. There can be additional measures recommended for an older home such as further insolation, draught proofing, and increased radiators to keep running costs as low as possible, and to ensure the client gets the most out of the system, but this certainly doesn’t make it unsuitable for an older building. This same scenario would take place for someone installing any heating system, if a property is older and not insulated perhaps with solid walls, the cost to heat the home will be higher and a bigger boiler would be required to cope with the heat demand.

Overall, energy-efficient home products and technology are now well understood in an established industry, making us better positioned to install air source heat pumps in all types of properties.

Find out if a heat pump is suitable for your home

2. Requires Extensive Insulation


People often believe that for a heat pump to work at all in a home, there must be various extensive insulation measures. While it is true that the system will be more effective and cheaper to run with extra insulation, this doesn’t apply any more to air source heating as it does to using a traditional boiler. If the home has poor insolation, then running costs will be higher with any heating system, however it will not stop them working. A home with poor insulation and an old inefficient boiler could have an air source heat pump installed and still see a reduction in energy bills. For air source heating, the better insulated the home is, the size of heat pump required will be smaller therefore the installation costs will be lower, and the running costs will be less.

3. Must Be On Benefits To Receive Funding

bag of money

The good news with air source heat pump funding (and for most eco-friendly home improvement schemes) is that they are non means tested and your income is irrelevant. Many assume that the large grants are too good to be true, and that to receive any money you must be receiving financial benefits prior when this is certainly not the case.

Find out if you are eligible for up to of £13,900 funding

4. Noisy To Run

creating healthy soundscapes for our living spaces programme

Another common misconception is that the air source heat pump is noisy and disruptive, the stories have gone from keeping you awake at night to a high frequency making dogs bark! We can assure you this is not true. Old models of air source heat pumps may have had a running noise similar to that of an air con unit, however the modern models are much quieter, with the best versions being certified with the official “quiet mark”.

5. Doesn’t Work In Temperatures Below 0 Degrees Celsius

The air source heat pump can still operate in temperatures as low as -20 degrees Celsius and are very commonly used to heat domestic homes in areas that see more extreme conditions than Scotland for example the Netherlands. The technology is still able to extract heat from the air in freezing temperatures, and the idea that they can’t, is a very common misconception.

6. Heat Pumps Do Not Provide Enough Heat


People will often assume that if the radiators are not hot to touch, then the system isn’t providing the same heat that a traditional boiler would. This misconception comes from the fact that a heat pump system operates best differently than traditional systems – let us explain.

Gas, oil, or LPG boilers will run at full heat output when they first come on and heat the home very quickly – hence the very hot radiators. A heat pump, however, works cheaper and more efficiently by being programmed for the heating to come on earlier and for longer periods of time to heat the house slowly, and maintain the temperature throughout the day. It wouldn’t be worth turning off the heating to go out for a few hours, as the heat pump would then have to work harder at a high temperature to heat the home quickly on your return, and therefore cost more than it would have it kept the radiators warm to stop the temperature of the house dropping. The thermostats fitted with the air source heat pump allows all the timings to be set and so you do not need to worry out changing any settings.

So yes, the radiators may not be as hot as you were used to with your previous system, but this is part of the benefits of the system as it will be cheaper to run and set to suit your lifestyle. We can assure you that you will still achieve hot water up to 50 degrees Celsius and a cosy room temperature of 23 degrees Celsius!

7. Costs a “fortune” in electricity to run

As explained above, the air source heat pump system will run most of the day, and so the common misconception is that this must mean it will cost more electricity to run. Again, this is certainly not the case. With the heat pump using renewable technology to provide between 2-4x as much energy for the home as it consumes, the system will not use excessive kilowatts of electricity to heat the home or cost you a fortune. Also as discussed previously, the system only needs a little electricity to keep an even temperature throughout the day and the radiators warm so as not to let the homes temperature drop and so you don’t need to push the heat pump to bring it back to temperature on demand. We often see people question their increased electricity bills however forget to consider that the other fuel source cost is completely gone, and the system is saving up to 60% on energy bills when compared to previous bills.

Find out how much you could save by installing an energy efficient system

To conclude, the technology of an air source heat pump is impressive but differs from the traditional systems we are most used to. For this reason, people still do not understand the way the heat pump system works, and there is shared misinformation around it that is often listened to without knowing the facts. We hope we have put some facts straight and given you a better understanding of the way an air source heat pump system works to save energy, money all while keeping your home at a cosy, even temperature through the full Scottish year.

Click here if you are interested in finding out more about the system from an experienced installer and how it could benefit your home.

By Carla Chalmers

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John Boyd, Aberfoyle, Stirling.

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