Air Source Heat Pumps Review for Rural Scotland Homeowners – Do They Warrant Replacing LPG, Oil or Solid Fuels Yet?

Whether you live in a rural location without access to a mains gas connection, or you are looking to reduce your carbon footprint, air source heat pumps are a viable and beneficial alternative to traditional heat sources.

They take ambient heat from the air, use a comparatively small amount of electricity or other source to boost the heat, and then send this to the radiators, heaters, or hot water tank in a property. There are a lot of benefits to using an air source heat pump, although they are not suitable in all instances.

Many rural areas of Scotland are cut off from the mains gas supply. Homeowners are forced to look for alternative heating sources, including LPG, oil, or solid fuels like wood or coal. LPG and oil are not only expensive and prone to price fluctuations but solid fuels need storing and can easily perish or be stolen.

The Benefits Of An Air Source Heat Pump

Below are 10 of the benefits of installing air heat pumps rather than relying on these carbon intensive heat sources:

1 – Better For The Environment

An air source heat pump uses electricity to power the pump and fans that boost the heat and circulate it around your home. However, on average, they produce three times more power than they use, which means that you can cut your electricity usage by as much as 67%. 

As you’ll see below, this means significant savings on your electricity bill, but it also means a reduction in your carbon footprint. The primary source of power is air, which is freely and readily available, and won’t be depleted.

2 – Efficient Operation In Wide Ranging Conditions

Countries like the USA and Sweden have long been using this type of heat source to power homes and other buildings. One of the reasons for their popularity is that they work even in harsh conditions. 

Some of the more remote areas of Scotland can suffer perilously cold winter conditions, but air source pumps will work at temperatures as low as -20C. The pumps will also work during the hottest summer months, when they can be used to cool your property.

3 – Receive Money From The Government Renewable Heat Incentive

The government renewable heat incentive started in 2014. Homes that switch to eligible heating sources and stick to the rules receive quarterly payments for seven years, according to the amount of clean, renewable energy that they generate. You could potentially receive payments totalling as much as £11,500 over the next 7 years, while also saving money on your energy bills.

4 – Save Money On Energy Bills

Whether you currently have gas, LPG, oil or electricity powered heating system, you could make sizeable savings with a new air source heat pump. 

Including the government renewable heat incentive payments, if you spend £1,000 a year on LPG, you could actually save £1,440 per year. Oil users can save £1,628 per year on a £1,000 spend, and swapping from electricity means that you can enjoy an annual saving of £1,260. Even gas systems, which are cheaper than other energy sources, can enjoy an annual saving of £1,140 per annum. 

That’s a lot of money saved, while doing your bit to help protect the environment.

5 – Heat Your Water Or Your Home

The heat generated from the system can be used to heat your water. This can be used straight away, or the water can be stored in a tank for use later on. This type of pump can also be used to power a wet central heating system, sending hot water to radiators, underfloor heating pipes, and other heating products.

6 – Easy Installation

Air source heat pumps are easier to install ground source heat pumps. Ground source pumps require considerable digging, and can take several weeks. Air source pumps, on the other hand, do not require any digging and the installation process can be completed in just a couple of days. This means that you won’t have to go without heating for long.

7 – 20 Year Lifespan

A traditional gas boiler has a life expectancy of around 12 years, while electrical devices are expected to be replaced after 10 years. Air heat pumps have an expected life of 20 years, which means that you can save money on replacements too. When weighing up the costs, take this into account as well as the cost savings on energy bills and the government renewable heat incentive payments that you will receive, if you are eligible.

8 – Year Round Benefits

Air source heat pumps are most commonly used to power heating systems. They use warm and hot air and usually use this to heat water for a tank or for a wet heating system. However, your new system can also operate during the summer months by cooling the property as well. Check with your installation company that your new system has this capability and you could enjoy year round perfect temperatures in your home.

9 – Easy Installation

Ground source heat pumps require extensive groundworks during installation. They draw heat from the ground, and the pumps must be buried deep underground to achieve the desired heat. With an air heat pump, this isn’t necessary. This type of pump can be installed on the exterior of your property and the work completed within a few days.

10 – No Fuel Storage Necessary

Many rural properties rely on LPG, oil, wood, or coal as a power and heat source. These not only need to be collected or delivered to your property, but they also need to be stored safely and properly. 

Some heat sources, especially coal and wood, can perish during flooding, and opportunistic thieves will always view cylinders and other containers as being an easy target. Air source heat pumps can be converted to use these sources rather than electricity, to power the pumps, but you will need much less of the material, and you can just rely on electricity, which won’t perish and cannot be stolen.

The first step to providing your home with a renewable heating source is to determine whether your property is suitable for this type of system. Start below – you could be saving more than £1,000 a year in heating, within a matter of weeks.

Shaun Woods

Shaun is one of our heating & renewable product experts, who you can rely on for the most up to date information in the industry.

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