Disadvantages of Heat Pumps
What is an air source heat pump?
Before we look at the disadvantages of air source heat pumps, let's first figure out what exactly an air source heat pump is and how it works.
Homeowners are increasingly looking to upgrade to newer, smarter, and more energy-efficient technologies, such as air source heat pumps. An air source heat pump is a device that draws in air and uses it to heat a liquid refrigerant, which is then used to heat your home and hot water. This system is simple but very effective.
The radiator and hot water tank can be heated using only an air source pump and a small amount of electricity. It provides an efficient system which is gaining popularity day by day.
Air source heat pump operation
Air source heat pumps look a bit like air conditioning units. The process it performs is simple and very effective. The process can be summed up in five simple steps:
1. The air source heat pump draws in air from the outside. It uses this air to heat liquid refrigerant, a process a bit like a reverse refrigerator.
2. The pump is driven by a small amount of electricity, compressing this liquid to increase its temperature.
3. It then condenses back into the liquid while releasing the stored heat.
4. This heated liquid is then pushed around your radiator or underfloor heating system to heat your home.
5. Any excess heat will be used to power the hot tub, providing enough hot water for washing and showering.
Disadvantages of air source heat pumps:
An important disadvantage to be aware of is that air source heat pumps supply less heat than other alternatives. This means that to get the most out of your ASHP, you need to have a well-insulated home and, ideally, underfloor heating. Also, another common problem with air source heat pumps is that they can be noisy. So choosing where to place them makes a big difference.
1. High upfront costs
For a large percentage of people, the initial out-of-pocket outlay is a disadvantage of a heat pump because it's expensive when you have to buy and install it for the first time. The biggest disadvantage of air source heat pump is also its advantage. Initial expenses. While they are significantly less expensive than other regenerative heating solutions, especially considering the installation, air source heat pumps will still cost significantly more than regular gas boilers.
2. The heat supply is lower than that of the boiler
Compared to oil and gas boilers, this heating method supplies less heat and may require larger radiators. The water circulating in the radiator connected to the boiler may operate at a higher temperature than the ASHP system.
So for the same amount of space heating, you will need a larger cooling surface.
3. Additional expenses for installing underfloor heating
Air source heat pumps are most often used with underfloor heating due to the lower heating supply to get the most out of the system. That's because you don't need that hot to operate it - you don't want to be standing on a 40°C floor.
This may mean that your installation costs may be higher if you have not already installed a floor heating system.
4. Your home must be well insulated
To get the full benefits of an air source heat pump, you first need a well-insulated home. However, this applies to any heating system.
If heat can easily escape from your home through windows, doors, or walls, you'll need more energy to keep the space warm. So make sure your home is well insulated.
5. Lower efficiency in cold weather
One of the downsides of an air source heat pump is that the colder the air outside, the harder it is for the heat pump to work to extract heat. For this reason, heat pumps will use more electricity in winter, reducing their efficiency. If you experience any of these air source heat pump problems in cold weather, don't panic. An upgraded air source heat pump system has the potential to overcome this problem. Always check the seasonal coefficient of performance of the heat pump.
6. Rely on electricity
Air source heat pumps require electricity to operate. This means that you cannot run an air source heat pump during a power outage during a power outage. It also means that your air source heating system cannot be carbon-free unless you also generate electricity from renewable sources. It's worth noting, however, that even heating technologies that run primarily on gas, such as furnaces or boilers, require electricity to operate, even if only very little.
7. Requires outside space
You need to provide outside space for the heat pump itself, including plenty of space around the unit, to ensure it has an adequate supply of air. You'll also need space in your home for a large hot tub. If the outdoor unit is placed in a sunny location, the air source heat pump does not have to be so hard.
8. ASHP can be noisy
Air source heat pumps can be somewhat noisy when running, comparable to ordinary air conditioners or light to heavy rain. However, the company is constantly making technological advancements to improve this and reduce noise.
9. Not so pretty
The visual aspects of installing an exterior box unit on your property must be considered. Air source heat pumps are mostly located above the ground and visible to the naked eye. If the space that works best for your exterior unit is also a highly visible part of your property, you may want to explore adding an air source heat pump container enclosure, which can soften the aesthetic impact.
All in all, the advantages of a heat pump outweigh the disadvantages in most cases. However, it is important that you understand all the doubts about an air source heat pump before you choose to install it.
Do you have any questions that I can help you with? Please feel free to contact us, our experts will give you the most professional advice.