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AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMPS VS. BOILERS

genational_admin
May 30, 2023

Are you looking at heating systems and trying to determine which is the best option for you? There are several ways to heat your house, but they’re not all options for everyone. You’ll need to look at the pros and cons to help you make a choice.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the more common options for heating your home and get into the pros and cons of everything.

BOILERS

Boilers are essentially heaters that use oil, gas, or biomass to heat up a tank of water. The water is then pumped through the building and into radiators where it radiates heat to warm up the space.

Boilers heat rather rapidly; thanks to the fact they use fire. The temperature can go up quite rapidly and then you have radiators that are very hot. The end result is a room that is toasty warm in no time.

TYPES OF BOILERS

You have three main types of boilers to choose from.

Conventional Boiler

This boiler is the more common one you’ll find throughout the UK. It’s not quite as popular now, but that may change again later on. The conventional boiler has a hot water cylinder, a cold-water tank and feed and expansion tanks, plus the actual boiler. These tend to take up more space than other types of boilers and that means they are a little more awkward.

When it comes to conventional boilers, they work very well in places with low water mains pressure. If you are interested in a boiler that will provide you with a number of benefits, you may consider this one. The benefits include:

Ongoing Hot Water: When the boiler stops working, you still get hot water, since there is a tank full of hot water. Of course, once it runs out, it’s gone, but it’s still helpful.

Cost-Effective: If you’re going to replace an existing conventional boiler, it is quite affordable to use another one that is the same. All the fittings are already installed and the space cleared out. You can just pop a new, more efficient conventional boiler into the same spot and connect it all. Unfortunately, there are downsides too. For example, a conventional boiler is not as efficient as a combi boiler and they require considerable space, including a couple of tanks in the loft or attic. Once the hot water tank has run out, you have to wait for the hot water to heat again.

Combi Boiler

The main benefits of combi boilers include:

Instant Hot Water: The hot water happens fast and there is plenty of it if you have a large tank. Since the boiler is heating water at the same time as it is warming the house, you can easily use it for bathing, washing dishes, etc. The heating is constant, so you’ll just keep getting more and more hot water.

Don’t Take Up Much Space: The truth is that boilers require surprisingly little space. Unlike heat pumps, they also don’t require an outdoor part. All they need is a chimney to exhaust the smoke and fumes from burning the fuel. Everything needed for the heating system is right inside the boiler. Many don’t even require outside water tanks for the hot water.

Energy Efficient: Depending on the type of heater you use; they can be quite energy efficient.

Of course, there are downsides, as well. If the boiler breaks down, you won’t have heat, but you also won’t have hot water. This can be annoying, but your boiler shouldn’t be out of commission for long if you have been maintaining it. Poor water pressure may be another issue since the boiler can only give you the same sort of pressure you have in the house. If the mains water pressure is poor, you may need to look at other options. 

Boilers and Fuel

Boilers run on gas, oil, or biomass. These three options are definitely dependent on where you are. If you have natural gas running to your house, you can use a gas boiler. However, you can also opt for oil. This is a little dirtier when it comes to heating the house and hot water. Biomass means wood in most cases, but this type of boiler burns actual wood or coal. In most cases, it will burn wood, so you have to keep wood on hand and check it frequently to avoid any issues with the biomass burning.

AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMP

The air source heat pump uses a network of tubes to move heat throughout the house. Inside the tubes is refrigerant. This is in a liquid when cold, but as soon as it heats up, you get a gas. The gas is then passed through a compressor to build up the pressure. The compressor also makes the gas warmer, thanks to the compression.

The now hot gas can then be moved into the heat exchanger. This exchanger either has air or water around it and the gas passes through the tube relay and warms up the water or air. This is then moved throughout the house to build up the heat throughout the entire building. You’ll find that underfloor heating is quite popular due to this method.

Once the refrigerant has transferred its heat to the water or air, it cools enough to return to liquid form. This is then sent back through the network. The cycle is repeated endlessly, ensuring you always have heating and cooling in your home.

The heat pump is slower than a boiler to warm the house up and it doesn’t get as hot. However, it still has plenty of potential, particularly since it can be used in underfloor heating.

The main benefits of using an air source heat pump include:

High Efficiency: The air source heat pump warms up the house, as well as hot water, if you use it for this, too. That makes it surprisingly efficient and eliminates the need for a separate hot water heater.

May be Zero Carbon: There’s no doubt that you can seriously reduce your carbon footprint with a heat pump, but often it is zero carbon, particularly if you use it with solar power.

Low Maintenance: This type of system is fairly self-sufficient. It doesn’t require much from you and will continue to work without any input.

Hot and Cold: Depending on the system, it may also provide cooling in the summer when you have a heatwave.

Similar in Cost: The cost of installing and running a heat pump is similar to managing any other home heating system.

There are some disadvantages, such as needing access to the outdoors. It also heats slower than conventional boilers and it doesn't heat up as much. When it comes to green energy, though, you can’t go wrong with air source heating.

WHICH CHOICE IS BEST FOR YOU?

Every home is different, but it also comes down to whether you want to be green. With air source heating, you save a lot of energy and can prevent pollution which is all too common with boiler systems.

Boilers are definitely the least efficient option, but they’re also not nearly as eco-friendly as a heat pump. With the heat pump, you simply allow the system to work and it hardly requires any input from you. The entire process is quite high tech, yet it’s also using the oldest science around. If you want to reduce your carbon footprint and make sure that you’re doing your part for the earth, you can install a heat pump. This is preferable to a boiler, which can cause more pollution. While boilers are certainly workable and don’t have to release a lot of pollution, even a little is not great.

In the end, the best choice for most people is the air source heat pump. It’s efficient, easy to use and it gets the job done. You’ll warm your home without having to burn anything and it is all-natural. Not only is this a fascinating piece of technology, but it also becomes even better when you add solar energy.

Are you looking for air source heat installers? At GE National, we’re ready to help you install your new air source heating. We can set you up with the best possible air heater and use a heat pump to move hot air throughout the house. We also provide solar energy if you would like to really stay green.

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