Air Source Heat Pumps

Last Updated on August 8, 2014 by Mark Lavington

The benefits of Air Source Heat Pumps for Holiday Homeowners

Heat pumpWhen you say the words ‘renewable energy’ for most the mind will immediately be trained on solar panels and wind turbines. One technology that has perhaps garnered less attention than others is the air source heat pump, which uses the warmth from the air surrounding a holiday home to heat the property itself.

A common myth associated with air source heat is that it won’t work unless it is particularly warm; quite the potential barrier to implementation in the inclement British climate.

The system is in fact able to operate in temperatures as low as -15 Celsius, suggesting it will generate some heat even in the bleakest times of a British winter.

The benefits of Air Source Heat Pumps for Holiday Homes

  • As with other renewable energy technologies, an air source heat pump has the potential to lower fuel bills in comparison to like for like usage on electric or oil systems. This is particularly attractive for holiday homeowners given the cost of heating can quickly eat into profit margins during the winter and even shoulder months.
  • Air source heat is supported by the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, which pays those that generate and use renewable energy to heat their buildings. This will further increase potential savings over electricity or gas alternatives.
  • As the heat is being generated from the air holiday homeowners will not need fuel to be delivered.  This will be a bonus for those living a significant distance from their holiday home as they won’t need to organise delivery and receipt of supplies. It also removes the risk of any potential future price increases in fuels such as wood chips or oil.
  • Air source heat pumps can significantly reduce holiday home carbon emissions. The eco credentials of holiday homes and accommodation has come more sharply into focus in recent years; one in three now consider the environmental impact of where they’ll be staying with 40% willing to pay a premium to stay with providers able to meet their green expectations.
  • The system requires little maintenance and is commonly referred to as ‘fit and forget’ technology, making it suitable for owners living away from their holiday home.

Is your holiday home suitable for an air source heat pump?

  • Do you have space? It is worth checking that you have enough space to accommodate an air source heat pump.  Whilst the unit can be fixed to an external wall or to the ground, it will require clear space around the unit to ensure an adequate air flow.
  • How well is your holiday home insulated?  The pump will generate heat at a lower temperature than an electric or gas alternative meaning your holiday home will need to be well insulated and draught free to make this a suitable technology for you.
  • Do you have under floor heating?  Due to the lower water temperatures involved air source heating is far more suited to under floor heating systems than radiators or storage heaters.
  • What heating system will you be replacing?  The quickest pay back period will be against those currently using electric or coal fired heating systems.  Air source will be less suited to replacing a mains gas heating system.

The costs and savings

A system can cost in the region of £7,000 to £14,000.  Whilst the pay back period will depend on the size of your holiday home, the demand for heat and the temperature you’d like your rooms, it is estimated that the cost of your system can be recouped in four to seven years.

If you are currently looking at renewable energy for your holiday home ensure that you speak with a range of quality suppliers.

Before proceeding with an installation please speak to your holiday home insurance insurance broker to increase your buildings sums insured and to clarify that your air source heat pumps will be covered in the event that they are damaged by a peril, such as storm or fire. For further information or if you require a quotation from a specialist for your holiday home insurance call our team on 01237 429444.

5 replies
  1. Debra Storr
    Debra Storr says:

    I installed an ASHP at Varis in late April. You can see the energy consumed by the ASHP and the internal temperature of the house (measured at a fixed point) at http://my.currentcost.com/device/1189895837
    We also installed PV Panels – the theory being that the electricity we generate will offset the electricity used by the ASHP. We’ve fiddled a bit with the controls to get it working that way – the ASHP was operating at night a lot.
    And of course the system is only as CO2 neutral as your electricity supplier – so we use Good Energy to ensure 100% renewables.

    Reply
  2. Debra Storr
    Debra Storr says:

    One thing not covered here is Planning Permission. In Scotland, ASHP do benefit from permitted development rights – IF they are 100m from neighbours. There is a proposal to change this as the concern was noise but anyone considering this technology should take this into account,
    Haven’t looked at PD rights in England or Wales as I only work as a Planning consultant in Scotland but do check this out – it would be embarrassing to be unable to use you new heating system.

    Reply
  3. tim bushe
    tim bushe says:

    As far as I know you are not entitled to make use of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme if the home in question is not your principle residence. It could be misleading to suggest your clients could benefit from this.

    Reply
    • Mark Lavington
      Mark Lavington says:

      Thanks for your comment, there is a non-domestic RHI scheme available to commercial properties such as holiday lets. Of course goal posts do change regularly so we would advise owners make their own investigations, quality suppliers of alternative energy products should be able to assist.

      Reply
  4. Billetdoo
    Billetdoo says:

    I would advise very careful diligence when considering ASHP.

    I investigated it with 4 manufacturers / installers who paid site visits this year. When I showed them my 5 years of detailed records of oil consumption & costs, none of them could produce figures or evidence of savings over my current oil system that heats an underfloor heating system. Perhaps more tellingly, they did not follow up after the visits and I had to chase them for these answers

    Their claimed savings were totally unrealistic.

    Reply

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