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July 3, 2023

How Does an Air Source Heat Pump Work? A Kent Homeowner’s Guide

Discover the benefits and functionality of air source heat pumps in this comprehensive Kent homeowner’s guide. Understand why this system might be the ideal heating solution for your home.

Understanding Heat Pumps in Kent: Embracing Air Source Heat Pumps for Energy Efficiency

As Kent homeowners increasingly pursue efficient, affordable, and environmentally friendly heating solutions, the appeal of air source heat pumps has risen dramatically. From the cosy homes of Maidstone to the tranquil settings of West Malling, this cutting-edge technology is transforming how homes are heated in Kent. But what is an air source heat pump, and how does it work? Join us as we unravel the science behind heat pumps.

What Is An Air Source Heat Pump?

Air source heat pumps (ASHPs) are a green alternative to traditional heating systems. They extract heat from the air outside your home and use it to warm your indoors, even when the outside temperature is below freezing! Sounds like magic, right? Well, it's purely science, and we'll break it down for you.

Decoding Heat Pumps: From the Basics to the Benefits

An air source heat pump is an energy-optimising system that heats and cools a home. By extracting heat energy from the outside air and transferring it indoors, these heat pumps in Kent provide comfortable heating and hot water. When in cooling mode, the process reverses, effectively cooling your indoor environment.

The ASHP system includes both an indoor and outdoor unit, with the primary unit typically positioned outside. The heat pump propels air over a series of coils containing refrigerant through internal fans. As this refrigerant absorbs the heat energy, it transitions from a liquid to a gas state. This gas is then compressed, increasing its temperature, before being directed indoors through the indoor unit.

After distributing heat, the refrigerant moves through an expansion valve, reducing its temperature and pressure, and it returns to the outdoor unit, ready to start the cycle again. Versatile and efficient, ASHPs meet a variety of household needs, including central heating, cooling, and domestic hot water.

Even though heat pumps in Kent require electricity to function and might need the installation of larger radiators or underfloor heating for optimal performance, the potential energy savings and renewable heat benefits often offset these initial considerations.

However, the potential energy savings, coupled with the benefit of generating renewable heat, often outweigh these considerations.

Maintaining Your Air Source Heat Pump in Kent: Why It Matters

Maintaining an air source heat pump is critical to ensure its efficient operation. Experts, such as those from NDC Plumbing & Heating, offer comprehensive annual servicing for air source heat pumps, which can help prolong the system's lifespan and optimize its performance.

Typical maintenance service includes checks on system operation and settings, cleaning of the heating system filter, checks on the external evaporator heat exchanger, and a review of the heating system's anti-freeze level. System expansion vessels, domestic hot water cylinders and pressure relief valves are also thoroughly inspected. The starting cost for such a servicing session is £275+VAT.

Remember, investing in regular servicing is an investment in the long-term health and efficiency of your heat pump system. With annual checks and professional care, you can ensure that your heat pump continues to deliver optimal heating and cooling for your home.

The Underlying Science of Heat Pumps in Kent

The operation of Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs) is hinged on the principles of thermodynamics. Specifically, they leverage the ability to transfer heat from a cooler area (outdoors) to a warmer area (indoors) via a refrigerant system, which consists of a compressor and a condenser.

Here's a step-by-step exploration of this process:

  1. Heat Absorption: The journey of warmth begins with the ASHP's outdoor unit. It acts like a sponge, soaking up the heat present in the external air and transferring it to a refrigerant fluid. The intriguing aspect here is that this heat absorption can occur even when it's frigid outside, as the refrigerant can absorb energy from the air down to temperatures well below freezing.
  2. Heat Amplification: Next, the heated refrigerant is directed to a compressor. As the name suggests, the compressor compresses the refrigerant, causing its temperature to skyrocket. The act of compressing the gas molecules increases their kinetic energy, thereby amplifying the heat.
  3. Heat Distribution: The now hot and pressurized refrigerant courses its way to a heat exchanger. Here, it gives up its heat to your home’s heating system. This heat could be dispersed through radiators, spread under floors with underfloor heating systems, or blown into rooms via warm air convectors. If your system is equipped, the residual heat can also be used for domestic hot water needs.
  4. Cooling Down and Cycle Repetition: Having surrendered its heat, the refrigerant, now cooled and depressurized, goes through an expansion valve. This allows it to expand and cool down further, readying it to absorb heat from the outside air once again. Hence, the cycle continues in a loop, providing consistent heating to your home.

This system's efficiency is nothing short of remarkable. For every unit of electricity the pump uses to power the compressor and other components, it can generate three to four units of heat. In other words, most of the energy an ASHP delivers to your home is renewable heat pulled from the environment, not electricity it's consuming. This makes it an economical and green option for homeowners, drastically reducing carbon emissions compared to conventional heating methods.

The Benefits of Air Source Heat Pumps

There are many benefits to installing an ASHP system in your home, including:

  • Energy Efficiency: ASHPs are three to four times more efficient than conventional heating systems.
  • Reduced Carbon Footprint: They use renewable heat from the environment, reducing CO2 emissions.
  • Cost Savings: Though initial installation costs can be high, savings on heating bills and potential income from the Renewable Heat Incentive can offset these costs.
  • Versatility: ASHPs can heat your home, provide hot water, and even cool spaces during summer months.
  • Longevity: These systems have a lifespan of around 20-25 years, making them a durable investment.

Why ASHPs Might Be Right for Kent Homeowners

The climate in Kent is relatively mild compared to other parts of the UK, making it ideal for air-source heat pumps. ASHPs work best in moderate climates where extreme cold is rare. They can still function in cold weather, but their efficiency decreases as the temperature drops.

Moreover, the local government and companies are supportive of renewable heating solutions. Firms like NDC Plumbing & Heating, for example, offer expert heat pump installation services and have an impressive portfolio showcasing their work across Maidstone, Sevenoaks, and Medway.

Our Recommendations

Adopting an air source heat pump for your Kent home can provide not only a warm and comfortable environment but also significant savings on your energy bills. Along with its environmental benefits, it's no wonder that more and more homeowners are opting for this innovative heating solution.

Additionally, local companies and government bodies are supportive of renewable heating solutions. Specialist firms like NDC Plumbing & Heating not only offer professional heat pump installation services but also boast an impressive portfolio of projects across Maidstone, Sevenoaks, and Medway. A reduced carbon footprint, cost savings, and versatility in heating and cooling. And with a lifespan of around 20-25 years, these systems are a sound, long-term investment for Kent homeowners seeking an environmentally friendly heating solution.

Now that you've got a grip on how air source heat pumps work, why not explore the possibility of making your home a beacon of energy efficiency? The future of home heating is here, and it's greener than ever!


What is the lifespan of an air source heat pump?

ASHPs can last between 20-25 years with proper maintenance.

How much does an air source heat pump cost?

Cost varies depending on the system's size and your home, but you can expect initial installation costs to be higher than traditional heating systems. However, running costs are significantly lower, and there are financial incentives available.

Can I use an ASHP with my existing heating system?

Yes, you can, although modifications might be necessary. It's best to consult with a local heating engineer to discuss the specifics.

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NDC Plumbing & Heating

Experience unparalleled comfort and efficiency with our expert mechanical contractors, who specialise in managing heating and cooling installations for residential and commercial properties across Maidstone, West Malling, Sevenoaks, and Medway.

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