An air source heat pump can be an energy efficient, renewable way to heat your home, and generating your own sustainable heat is a great way to ensure you’re comfortable in your home all year round and help save money on energy bills.
Air source heat pumps must be sized appropriately for the space that they need to heat, as well as have the output capacity for anticipated demand for heating, cooling, and hot water if also required.
The general rule of thumb for sizing an air source heat pump is 1kW for every 10 square meters, or 30BTUs for every 1sqft. When determining the size of an air source heat pump, consider the number of rooms and windows, the layout and size of house, the climate and level of insulation.
Our 11.2kW air source heat pump was sized sufficiently to provide heating and hot water to our home.
Ensuring that the right size air source heat pump is installed essential, as using the wrong size heat pump may lead to extra energy bills or repair costs.
In this article we discuss and explain more about our ASHP, how an air source heat pump works, what sizes are typically available, what can occur if you install the wrong size, and how to estimate the size and capacity of your own air source heat pump.
Air source heat pumps (ASHP) generate heat at lower, more consistent temperatures than the average boiler.
They can help you save some extra money on your energy bills, while giving you an economically friendly, sustainable way to generate heat and hot water for your home.
An air source heat pump works by extracting heat energy stored naturally within the outside air, raising the pressure and temperature using a compressor, and circulating the heat around your home, whether that’s through hot air using an air to air heat pump or hot water using an air to water heat pump.
Air source heat pumps use electricity as the sole source of power for components such as the fans and compressor.
A hot water cylinder can be used to reserve any hot water, ready to meet demand.
Similar in appearance to your typical air conditioning unit, air source heat pumps can also generate cooler air in the warmer months.
Typically, the larger the area required for heating, such as floor space inside a home, the greater the output capacity is required from an air source heat pump.
Higher output capacity ASHPs, which can extract more heat from the air to meet a higher demand for heating and/or hot water, are generally larger in size compared to lower capacity heat pumps.
Our air source heat pump is sized appropriately for our 5-bedroom house, where the heat pump must provide both heating and hot water for our home.
We don’t use it for cooling as we have separate air conditioning units for that.
This is an 11.2kW maximum output capacity appliance for heating, as shown on the information plate on the side of the heat pump.
An installer chose this heat pump based on the level of demand required in our home, and the floor space, along with other factors.
The size of the air source heat pump is a result of requiring the right output capacity.
The dimensions of our ASHP are shown below for reference.
An air source heat pump should therefore be sized as big or small as it needs to be.
The demand for heating and/or hot water, among other factors such as local climate, will dictate the output capacity required.
This in turn can affect the size of heat pump required, and sizes and shapes can differ between manufacturers, models and output capacities.
While an air source heat pump size usually depends on several variable factors, including property age and size, types of rooms, and the number of windows, there’s a universally accepted scale that you can use to estimate what size air source heat pump you might need.
|ASHP recommended output (kW)
|2 bed house / flat
|Poorly insulated 3 bed house
|Well insulated 4 bed house
In the above table, you can see that the size varies based on the house or apartment size.
According to Unique Heating and Cooling, the rule of thumb in most states is one ton of air-conditioning capacity for every 500-600 square feet (46.45-55.74 square meter) of floor surface area.
The size of air source heat pump is usually broken down and estimated using the above-mentioned variables, and so every house will be slightly different.
Sizing the right air source heat pump for a home can be a lengthy and complex process, and so it’s always recommended to have a qualified professional design and install any air source heat pump system.
If an air source heat pump unit is too big or too small for your home’s needs, then you might come across a few problems.
If an air source heat pump is too big, it can waste resources and leave you with a higher energy bill. An undersized air source heat pump can be overworked, also leading to higher electricity usage, and potentially increased deterioration of parts.
Ensuring you have the correct size air source heat pump can help to prevent problems occurring and help to maintain the long lifespan of your ASHP.
An installer will be able to determine the right size of air source heat pump for your home and particular requirements.
When it comes to size, getting it right for an air source heat pump is important.
Unfortunately, you probably won’t get an exact number without proper software and the necessary knowledge to figure it out. HVAC installer can often use Manual J to determine what size is appropriate.
Getting in touch with a certified engineer is always helpful since they can give you honest advice based on the particulars of your home. Make sure you confirm their credentials before allowing them to install the unit and check that the heat pump is from a registered and reputable manufacturing company.
However, before contacting an expert, there are ways you can estimate the size of your heat pump, to help you prepare the location you wish to install it or bear it in mind as a future expense.
First, you will need to work out the size of your home in meters squared. You can use the blueprints of your house, or you can measure it manually. Ensure you also note the number of windows and their locations for future reference.
If you already have a heating appliance installed in your home, you can determine how many kilowatts are necessary to heat your entire house to your desired temperature.
Depending on the device you have, you can often read the meter directly on the tank, or you can contact the company who supplied it, who can tell you your monthly usage.
Most experts agree you need 1kW for every 10 meters (32.80 feet) squared, but the calculation is not limited to this, and you will need to take in other factors. For example, even the number of people who live in the house and their preferred temperature levels can affect the size of heat pump.
The required size of air source heat pump can be estimated to a degree, but there are a number of factors such as floor space, layout, demand and local climate that can all influence the heating or cooling output capacity of heat pump needed, and therefore its size.
If in doubt, get in touch with an accredited professional who is a member of a local recognized organization. They can help provide the right output capacity and size of heat pump for your home.