Air source heat pumps can be a great investment for individuals who want to help reduce their heating and cooling costs while also helping to reduce their impact on the environment.
While air source heat pumps are typically used for heating and cooling purposes, they can also be used to provide domestic hot water with the right setup.
Many air source heat pump systems can provide domestic hot water in addition to central heating, but as an air source heat pump can’t provide hot water on demand like traditional boilers, a hot water cylinder tank is required for storage.
Our air to water source heat pump provides heat for both our central heating and hot water, and our hot water cylinder used to store the hot water is located within our cupboard within the utility room.
We explain in more detail below using our own system as an example how air source heat pumps can be used to provide domestic hot water.
Can Air Source Heat Pumps Be Used For Hot Water?
With the right setup, an air source heat pump can be used to provide domestic hot water for a home. However, as air source heat pumps extract and deliver heat over a longer period of time, hot water can’t be provided on demand and so the use of a hot water cylinder is typically required.
We have an air to water heat pump located on the side of our house that extracts heat from the outside air.
This heat is transferred through our home via pipes to the other apparatus located within our utility room cupboard.
It’s from here that the heat extracted from the outside is used to warm up our home through the use of underfloor heating and radiators as part of the central heating system. See our articles on using air source heat pumps with underfloor heating and with radiators for more information.
It’s also where the heat is used to provide domestic hot water for our home by warming up the water located in the hot water cylinder.
Thanks to this hot water tank we always have domestic hot on demand for our taps, showers etc.
However, without this hot water tank we wouldn’t be able to use the air source heat pump for domestic hot water because the water wouldn’t be hot enough.
Heat pumps extract heat over a longer period of time and so can’t be used for on-demand hot water unlike traditional boilers/furnaces. A hot water tank is therefore typically required in in order to use an air source heat pump to provide hot water.
A hot water tank ensures that you have hot water available for when you need it.
See our article on using an air source heat pump with a hot water tank for more information.
However, the hot water tanks installed alongside air source heat pumps are typically water heaters and use one or more electric immersion heaters to bring water temperatures up to desirable domestic hot water temperatures when required.
Our water heater cylinder tank has immersion heaters that are used to top up the temperature of the domestic hot water when the demand calls for it.
If you don’t have space for a hot water cylinder in your home, then using a hybrid system of an air source heat pump for central heating and a conventional boiler for hot water could be used.
What Are Air Source Heat Pumps?
Air source heat pumps are appliances that use the outdoor air to heat or cool your home. They work by transferring heat from one place to another and can also be used for domestic water with the right setup.
Air source heat pumps are an excellent option for homes that are already well-insulated, as they can help save you money on your monthly energy bills.
They can be used in both warm and cold climates, as long as the outdoor temperature allows it.
Check out this video for more information on air source heat pumps:
Types of Air Source Heat Pumps
Air source heat pumps can be classified into two main types:
- Air to air heat pumps
- Air to water heat pumps
Let us look at these pumps in a little more detail:
Air to Air Heat Pumps
Air to air heat pumps work by drawing in heat from outside your home for space heating purposes.
These pumps are used primarily for warming the air inside. As such, you will need a series of fan coil units (blowers) to distribute this warm air throughout your house.
Unfortunately, air to air heat pumps can’t be used to water and so another method for providing domestic hot water must be considered.
Air to Water Heat Pumps
Air to water heat pumps (like the one we have) are used to transfer heat from the outside air to water for central heating purposes (radiators, underfloor heating etc).
Air to water heat pumps may also be used for domestic hot water when used with a hot water tank/water heater, like we use our air to water heat pump for.
See our article comparing air to water and air to air heat pumps for more information.
Benefits Of Air Source Heat Pumps
There are many benefits to using air source heat pumps, including:
- Significant energy savings. Air source heat pumps can be much more efficient than traditional heating systems. For example, around 3000kWh can be saved per year when using an air source heat pump compared to using electric heaters, or more again oil systems.
- Environmentally friendly. Since these appliances don’t rely on fossil fuels to provide heating and cooling for your home, they are much more environmentally friendly. They also don’t produce the harmful emissions that traditional heating systems do.
- Quiet operation. Air source heat pumps are typically very quiet appliances. You will barely hear them running and much of the noise is created by the unit located outside. This is a stark contrast to furnaces and boilers, which can be very noisy. See our article on air source heat pump noise.
- Increased property value. Air source heat pumps will provide you with a significant return on investment when you decide to sell your home. This is because they greatly reduce your energy bills while providing an eco-friendly setup for your property.
- Low maintenance requirements. With proper maintenance, air source heat pumps require very little attention. This is in contrast to traditional heating systems, which can require frequent tune-ups and repairs. See our article on air source heat pump maintenance requirements.
- Can serve as air conditioning units. Air source heat pumps are not only effective at warming your space but also cooling it. As such, they can act as a standalone air conditioning unit in the summertime.
- Renewable heat incentive. By installing an air source heat pump, you may be able to qualify for renewable heat incentive grants from the government.
- Replacing a traditional heating system. Air source heat pumps are a great choice if you’re looking to replace your outdated furnace or boiler. Installation can be pretty straightforward, so you can have your new pump up and running in no time.
- Long lifespan. Air source heat pumps typically have a lifespan of around 15 years. This is longer than the lifespan of traditional heating systems, which generally last for around ten years.
- Do not require fuel storage tanks. Air source heat pumps do not rely on fuel storage tanks to produce heat. This is because they use the outside air as their primary heating supply rather than propane or oil.
Drawbacks of Air Source Heat Pumps
Despite the many benefits that air source heat pumps provide, they do have a few drawbacks.
For instance, their main drawback is the increased cost of installation. While the cost will vary depending on your local market and current prices, you should expect to pay around $4,000 or more to install an air source heat pump in your home, depending on the situation.
See our article on how much an air source heat pump costs to install and run for more information.
As air source heat pumps extract and put out heat more slowly compared to traditional heating systems and so you may need to install more radiators or bigger sized radiators.
A home using an air source heat pump therefore needs to be sufficiently insulated to make the most of them or heat can be lost too quickly.
Air source heat pumps also typically require a new ductwork/piping system and an upgraded water heater.
See all of the pros and cons of air source heat pumps here.
Can Air Source Heat Pumps Provide Hot Water?
Air source heat pumps are primarily used for heating and cooling purposes but with the right setup they can also be used to provide hot water for a home.
As air source heat pumps extract and put out heat more slowly over time compared to traditional gas or oil appliances, a hot water tank will typically need to be paired with a heat pump unit to ensure that hot water is always available on demand and at the right temperature.
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