Air source heat pumps extract heat stored naturally within outside air for use in a home for heating and domestic hot water.
An external air source heat pump unit needs to be installed outside to work. While these heat pump units typically won’t require too much space for installation and can often be located appropriately around a home, apartments or flats may not have the space available and so can air source heat pumps be installed in flats and apartments?
Air source heat pumps can be installed in apartments, subject to there being sufficient space available for the external heat pump unit such as on an external wall or balcony, and that the installation is in accordance with any guidelines and regulations.
Although we don’t live in any above-ground flat, we have an air source heat pump that serves our house, and we understand the space requirements that an air source heat pump would need for installation.
Air source heat pumps ideally need to be mounted onto the ground and need a certain amount of space around the unit for allow for adequate airflow; both of which can be difficult to find in apartments or flats.
Keep reading to learn more about how you can use air source heat pumps in an apartment. We’ll examine where air source heat pumps work and how much space you need to install a new air source heat pump.
Air source heat pumps can work in apartments and flats if there’s sufficient space outside for installation, sufficient internal heating apparatus to work with a heat pump and if the installation is in line with any manufacturer or local regulations and guidelines.
Air source heat pumps can be one of the best ways of heating or cooling an apartment due to their high energy efficiency and reliance solely on electricity to work.
If there’s a sufficient indoor heating setup and the level of insulation in the apartment or flat is good, then it can be possible to install a heat pump with little to no indoor upgrades required.
Air source heat pumps can also come in a range of sizes, and the larger the property, the larger the heat pump often is. Apartments and flats can typically have lower floor space and so the size of heat pump required can be smaller than those found in houses.
However, flats and apartments may not have the space available for an external air source heat pump unit to be installed.
An installer will need to visit the property to determine whether that particular flat or apartment would be suitable for an ASHP (air source heat pump) installation.
Air source heat pumps can often be installed on an external wall or a balcony that is structurally supported.
Keep in mind that installing an air source heat pump can an expensive long-term investment, and it’s unlikely that renters will be able to install a new unit without permission from a landlord. Even though air source heat pumps are generally space-efficient, they still require installation beyond a simple plug-in.
Almost any home can be suitable for an air source heat pump. They come in varying sizes and power levels, and so they can be suitable for every space, from large homes to small apartments. However, there are factors that can affect how well a heat pump performs, no matter the size of property.
With poor insulation, a home will leak heat and drive up your energy bills regardless of what heating system you use. If you install an air source heat pump and don’t see the benefits in your energy bills, consider adding to your home insulation.
Old homes are more likely than others to have problems with insulation, so don’t be surprised if an air source heat pump is less effective in an older home. If this is the case, you might consider installing better insulation before investing in a new home heating system, as appliance upgrades will be less effective until your insulation is taken care of.
Air source heat pumps work a lower temperature output compared to other forms of heating systems and so the internal heating apparatus must be able to release heat as efficiently as possible, alongside insulation levels being suitable to help keep heat in for long enough.
Space will also be required outside a property for the external heat pump unit to be installed.
It can be easier to find a perfect location for an ASHP in homes with more land available and so if installing in a property with less available outdoor space, such as an apartment or flat, it will be important to speak to installer to see what your options are.
An external air source heat pump unit will typically need to be installed in a more secluded location around a home that’s still open to the air so that airflow isn’t compromised.
As air source heat pumps work by extracting heat from the air, the greater the airflow, the more heat that can be extracted.
The most common place to install a heat pump can therefore be in an open area on the side of a house, installed up against the property while leaving enough space around for airflow.
If space is limited it can also be possible to mount an air source heat pump on a wall, depending on what is allowed by the manufacturer and local regulations.
For apartments and flats where no ground space is available, installed an ASHP on an external wall may be the only option.
See our article on mounting an air source heat pump on a wall for more information.
Noise from an air source heat pump must also be considered, especially when neighbors are in close proximity such as in flats and apartments. Heat pumps will typically need to be located a certain distance away from neighboring properties because they can be quite noisy up close if operating at high capacity.
Air source heat pumps can’t be installed indoors. Air source heat pumps work by pulling the heat out of the outside air and so space must be found outside a property for a heat pump to be installed. Ground installation can be preferable but it may also be possible to install a heat pump on a wall in situations with limited or no floor space.
See our main article on this topic.
An air source heat pump won’t take up nearly as much land as a ground heat pump but will still require sufficient space around the unit for airflow purposes. Manufacturers will specify minimum clearance distances around an air source heat pump.
The exact size of an air source heat pump will vary depending on factors such as the make and model, the indoor floor space and the power output of the heat so make sure that you check with the manufacturer and measure your space before committing.
The space required around an ASHP will also be set by the manufacturer but should be too onerous. For example, the image below shows how far our own heat pump is set back of the external wall of our house.
For installation on external walls for apartments and flats, a heat pump should be offset from the wall and clear on all sides for airflow purposes.
For more information see our article on air source heat pump space requirements.
It can be possible to install an air source heat pump in apartments and flats but the main issue can be finding space for the external heat pump that both meets manufacturer guidelines and local regulations.
Popular places to install an external heat pump unit for flats and apartments are on a structural balcony or on an external wall.
Space around the heat pump will need to be provided for airflow purposes and noise must be considered as part of the installation to locate it far enough away from neighboring properties.