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Has anyone had an air source heat pump.installed?

(19 Posts)
EmmaGrundyForPM Fri 24-Nov-17 19:47:45

Hi. We are investigating installing an air source heat replace our ageing boiler but are not sure if the promised savings are a reality.

We live in a 4 bed detached house, which is fairly well insulated. We have oil heating and usually fill up twice in every 15 months or so (1000 litre tank).

We have had a couple of people round to quote. They claim.that electicity costs will rise slightly but will be offset by the amount we'll save on not buying oil.

Has anyone had one installed, and can you tell me how much your electricity costs have gone up by? Also, any other pros and cons. It's a big investment for us given that our current boiler is working well. But it won't last forever.

Qwebec Sat 25-Nov-17 02:12:41

I have no experiance with this but here is a publication by the Canadian governement about air source heating and things to take into consideration

Bear in mind that his is for Canadians, where electricity is significantly cheaper than in the UK (to give you an idea by changing from oil to electric heating the bills got split in half)

dontquit Sat 25-Nov-17 03:03:30

We have one but not living in uk. Am in ireland. Best decision ever. Extremely Well insulated house. Maintains a constant temp. (Termostats in each room) we have underfloor downstairs and rads upstairs. Constant hot water which for me is the best part.
We have heat turned off from about April-oct except for bathrooms.
Electric bill approx €300 every 2mths during winter and €150 every 2 mths when it's off.
Much cheaper than oil would be for us. Don't know how this compares to uk.
We installed it on a new build so can't compare to having oil in this house previously.
Installation of air to heat pump was way cheaper than if we had gone for geothermal. We have it serviced once a year.

hevonbu Sat 25-Nov-17 03:25:46

I'm in Scandinavia and "everybody" has them. Here's a description in English from our authorities, explaining the topic:
You see the air pumps on the side of buildings, usually a bit "out of sight".

For block of flats it's perhaps more common to discuss installation of combinations of geothermal heating combined with exhaust air heat pumps. Geothermal heating is very popular too but requires having solid rock beneath your house. Here's a description of that topic:

EmmaGrundyForPM Sat 25-Nov-17 09:32:24

Thanks for the replies.

Dontquit I'm interested in your electricity usage. It sounds as though we pay similar amounts in the summer, so your bill effectively doubles in the winter?

We both work ft so heating isn't on during the day. We only run the heating about 2 hours each evening and 1 hour each morning.

If I understand it right, the heat pump would run for much longer timrs but at a low level. So the house would maintain a constant temperature.

Interesting about Scandinavia hevonbu. The heat pump salesman who came to see us was talking about temperatures down to minus 3C. I asked about temperatures lower than that (rare but not impossible where we live) and he said it would still work "but not as well". Presumably Scandinavia has lower temperatures and the heat pumps cope with that.

dontquit Sat 25-Nov-17 21:20:56

Hi, ok just checked bills there. Bill in august was €160 for the 2 mths. Most recent bill end oct was €200 (heat only turned on end of sept). Hubby says next bill will prob be €300 ish as weather has got a lot colder so pump working more to maintain temp.
We both work full time but both do shifts so coming and going different times and there's only 2 days most weeks that the house is empty during the day. We have 2kids. The constant hot water is brilliant. Can bath kids/ shower/ wash my hair etc without having to turn on heat/immersions etc
Quite a big house 2500 sq foot approx.
Heat is off in 2 largish rooms most of the room hasn't been done yet and just storage at the minute and the other room is guest room so turn on the heat there in the morning if we are having guests that night. Takes a few hrs to reach temp. Most rooms set at 18degrees.
Our living/kitchen area has a lot of glass so is usually 20degrees or more in the summer just with sunlight. We have a stove there we light in winter for the coziness of having a lit fire but mainly to dry clothes overnight. Really only light it when we sit down at night and often end up opening windows as gets way too hot. I have very rarely seen the underfloor heating coming on in living area even in winter.
Definitely the key is in the insulation. Our cavities are pumped and all walls, attic etc well insulated. We also have triple glazed windows (got a deal for same price as double on these..not sure if they make a diff..good for sound proofing though as near main road).
At the time we were doing the house builder tried to get us to put in oil burner as we were over budget and said we could easily convert to heat pump later. We knew we would never get round to it again if we did that. I'm so happy we prioritised this.
I'm a cold creature. When we rented my hubby and I were always bickering over the heat. I found the oil rads heated the room quickly but once heat turned off it was freezing again.

nothingtodotoday Sat 25-Nov-17 21:41:12

I find it cheaper than the storage heaters i replaced.

sall74 Sun 26-Nov-17 06:22:55

Can anyone explain in VERY simple terms just how they work?

When it's only a few degrees outside how do they possibly extract heat from the air to warm the house???

EmmaGrundyForPM Sun 26-Nov-17 07:50:43

Thanks for the info Dontquit. Our house is fairly well insulated for its age (50 years old) - double glazing, cavity walls etc - but it's not perfect. I don't particularly feel the cold and we don't run our heating very much so I'm dubious as to whether we can achieve the savings the salesman claims we can.

The heat pump salesman we had round did say that most of the ones they fit are in new builds but they do also retro-fit to properties like ours.

dontquit Sun 26-Nov-17 10:02:35

Our house also 50/60 years old. Was unlivable when we bought it. We renovated it.
Your best bet would be to talk to an independent plumber to see if it would make financial sense.
Not sure exactly how it works but was told it's something like the reverse of what a fridge does!! I'm sure google would explain.

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER Mon 27-Nov-17 11:28:15

Friends of ours, living in a converted barn with thick stone walls, had one. I don't understand how it works, but they had it in the hall and it made a real difference - it was always v. chilly there before - they were always very 'careful' about putting the heating on.

EmmaGrundyForPM Fri 01-Dec-17 09:30:14

Thanks for all the answers. We're still musing on this.

For those of you who have one, if you run out of hot water how long dues it take before your hit water cylinder is full again? With our oil boiler it's about 30 minutes. I really wouldn't want it to be longer than that.

BubblesBuddy Fri 01-Dec-17 12:05:27

You do not run out of hot water because you have an immersion on a timer to come on at times of high hot water consumption. In addition, an air source heat pump heats water to a lower temperature than a traditional system.

We have two air source heat pumps- large house! We have four bathrooms so do need a good supply of hot water.

We too removed an oil tank and an old boiler which had its own room because it was pretty big! Air source heat pumps have worked for us and we have a slight saving but do not forget oil prices fluctuate more than electricity prices. You know here you are with the electrcitiy prices. Over 25 years we had hugely high oil bills! Others were reasonable. It all depends on the oil states doesn't it?

The good points: You don't have a boiler firing up all the time. You do not have oil deliveries - bliss. We had a particuarly difficult delivery situation because the tanker could not reach our house and had to use a neighbours land. Difficult. We are friends with them but nonetheless, that was not a sustainable situation.

We retro fitted. It is not always easy so do make sure they know they can do it efficiently and effectively. Most of all, get an immersion heater!

EmmaGrundyForPM Fri 01-Dec-17 12:53:22

Hi Bubbles thanks for all that, very useful. We do have an immersion heater which we rarely use at the monent. But there are times when our ds will suddenly use a while tank of water having a shower and then we bung the boiler on for an hour to heat the water rather than using the immersion. So I guess we'd have to use the immersion more if we had a heatpump?

We jsvent got a huge house - standard 4 bed detached - but we've had 3 quotes and all have suggested a different size of heatpump (9kw, 11kw and 15kw). So I'm a bit wary.

Our boiler is in a cupboard in the kitchen - I'd love to regain that cupboard!

Due to the position of our oil tank one of us has to be in to allow the delivery driver access which is a real pain so I won't miss that aspect!

Still trying to make a decision.....

fishesgirl Sat 02-Dec-17 07:56:33

We installed air source heat pumps when we rebuilt our house 5 years ago. We have had to replace both pumps this year as both original pumps broke and were not repairable as nobody could get parts (Delonghi UK ceased trading). We had quite a few problems initially-we had to have another cylinder installed as the original one was way too small-only enough hot water on tap for 2 showers. Electricity bill higher than we had anticipated but less than combined electric/oil bill previously.
New pumps have built in immersion. To be honest, once we had the correct size cylinder, we never used ours anyway (until the heat pumps broke!).
There seems to be a lot more expertise than when we first installed-maybe we used the wrong company but our architect had used them for another project with no problems. Often got the impression they were out of their depth. This time around, much better.

EmmaGrundyForPM Sat 02-Dec-17 13:19:09

Thanks Fishesgirl.

The company who we feel most confident about at the moment install Mitsubishi heatpumps. They claim they are ultra reliable, but they would say that wouldn't they? We keep Googling but there seems to be a limited amount of information out there about retro-fitted pumps. We have been given the contact numbers of people local to us who have had heatpumps installed by the company we are in discussions with, so we can ask them directly about their experiences. But the company aren't going to be giving us the numbers of dissatsified customers so it's a bit skewed.

I'm just really worried we'll make this huge financial commitment (we will have to get a loan for part of the cost) and find ourselves in a house that is colder with higher energy costs!

BlueFleece Sat 02-Dec-17 21:09:43

Interested as we are in the same position but have a Victorian house with no cavity walls. Have had all new quotes for gas boiler when someone suggested ASHP although have heard different opinions on whether our house is really suitable; we'd probably need bigger radiators for a start.

We are drawn to eco-aspect and have solar panels so wouldn't pay much in summer, but it is a lot of money to find the house is still horribly cold in the winter!

BubblesBuddy Sat 02-Dec-17 21:26:22

We have under floor heating and I have a conservatory style kitchen with acres of glass. It’s fine. We have radiators in the older part of the house and you must have the correct size for the room.

We have Mitsubishi and I think the expertise has improved too. You may need a larger hot water tank but you can be advised about this aspect.

I think with an old house you have much more to think about Blue. We have insulation, insulation and more insulation! Very high spec glazing in the kitchen. If you cannot do this, no heating system will be brilliant. We do have a wood burner in one room and a fire place in two others but rarely use them.

Killerqueen2244 Sun 03-Dec-17 21:00:40

We’re just about to move into a large house which was on oil but now has a air source heat pump fitted. I’ll let you know how we find it over the first few days, I have to admit I’m a bit dubious and not sure the higher electricity usage outweighs the cost of oil (that’s fairly cheap at the moment). One thing I’ve immediately found is there aren’t many service engineers around and because of this they can afford to charge a lot for routine maintenance. Apparently it wouldn’t need servicing as often as an oil boiler so maybe the higher service costs outweigh the regular costs of oil?!

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