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Air Source Heat Pump Installation Guide

Views: 321     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2023-06-01      Origin: Site

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Air Source Heat Pump Installation Guide

Air source heat pumps are becoming more common in households for heating, cooling, and hot water solutions. It eliminates the need for gas or other heating and cooling sources, making the environment more sustainable. Also, it helps achieve significant savings on household energy bills.

source: Istock


Installing a heat pump is straightforward but requires many steps, starting with buying from a reliable air source heat pump supplier. An air source heat pump uses two units, an indoor unit, and an outdoor condenser unit, to absorb heat in one location and move it to another location. This feature makes it excellent for cooling and heating your home. Using the principle of vapor compression refrigeration, the heat pump has a refrigerant system that absorbs the heat, moving it from one place to another.


Its versatile nature means you can use it in different designs, from underfloor heating to hot water-filled radiators. If properly fitted, it could also be a domestic hot water source with the right specifications. To get the most out of an air-source heat pump, you must pick the right one for your home and fit it properly. In this article, we will provide you with in-depth information on air source heat pump installation, including the different types of installation, the essential requirements, how long it takes, how much it costs, and so on.

What is an Air Source Heat Pump?

An air source heat pump (ASHP) is a system that has the capability of transferring heat outside and inside the house i.e., it can perform both heating and cooling functions. Basically, an ASHP uses a refrigerant system that consists of a compressor and condenser to absorb heat from the inside environment and release it outdoors, and vice versa.


For domestic heating applications, the air source heat pump absorbs heat from the outside environment and transfers it into the indoor space as hot air or domestic hot water supply. The ASHP does the reverse in the summer, as it absorbs heat from the indoor and transfers it outdoors.

Types of Air Source Heat Pump Installation

There are 4 major ways of installing an air source heat pump. Each of these techniques are unique and come with different advantages and disadvantages.

  1. Ducted Air Source Heat Pump Installation

This installation type involves having a network of pipes around the home to each room. It’s an air-to-water heat pump setup, where a central heat pump unit is connected to a network of ducts throughout the building.


In a ducted installation, the ASHP extracts heat from the outdoor air and transfers it to the central heating system before it’s distributed around the home through water. It works with water-based internal heating equipment like radiators and underfloor heating.


Air-to-water heat pump systems can also be used for domestic hot water solutions. It typically requires the use of a suitable hot water tank to work alongside the heat pump and to serve as a storage and dispenser of hot water across the home.

Ducted Heat Pump Installation

Advantages

  • Even Heating, Hot Water and Cooling: Ducted air source heat pumps provide consistent temperature distribution throughout your home.

  • Energy-efficient: Ducted air source heat pumps are highly efficient and often come with inverter technology for precise temperature control.

  • Aesthetics: The system is kept hidden as the ductwork is installed within walls or ceilings.

  • Perfect for Larger Spaces: This type of installation is very suitable for whole-house heating and cooling, especially in larger homes.

Disadvantages

  • Ductwork Requirements: Need existing or new ductwork setup, which adds to the installation costs.

  • Zoning Difficulty: With this type of installation, zoning can be challenging. It can be quite difficult to control individual room temperatures.


  1. Ductless Air Source Heat Pump Installation

This installation type is similar to the ducted ASHP setup except that it delivers absorbed heat directly to the indoor space; no central heat pump unit is involved. Ductless air source heat pump installation comprises an outdoor unit containing the compressor and heat exchanger. They are connected to indoor units (air handlers) through refrigerant lines and power cables.


This is an air-to-air heat pump setup that does not require any duct network. Instead, it uses air handlers to provide conditioned air directly into the home.

Ductless Heat Pump Indoor Unit

Advantages

  • Simplicity: No need for extensive ductwork, which makes installation simpler, quicker, and more cost-effective. It’s perfect for homes without existing duct setup or where duct installation is impractical.

  • Zoning: Each indoor unit can be independently controlled, allowing for customized temperature in different rooms.


Disadvantages

  • Upfront Cost: The initial cost is quite high, especially if many rooms are needing different indoor units.

  • Less-aesthetics: Indoor units are visible and may influence the room’s aesthetics.

  • Unsuitable for Whole-house Application: While ideal for individual rooms or zones, ductless ASHPs are not the best option for whole-house heating in larger homes.


  1. Monoblock Air Source Heat Pump Installation

The construction of the heat pump characterizes this air source heat pump setup. Typically, all the heat pump components, including the compressor, heat exchanger, expansion valve, and fan, are integrated in a single outdoor unit, which is placed outside the home.


Monoblock ASHPs absorb heat from the outside air and transfer it directly into the indoor space through ducts or air handlers.

Monoblock Heat Pump

Advantages

  • Compact: Monoblock air source heat pump installation is compact, perfect for smaller residential or commercial spaces.

  • Simple Installation: Since all the heat pump components are housed in one unit, it is easier to install.

  • Lower Maintenance: In addition to having fewer components, maintenance requirements are generally low.

Disadvantages

  • Limited Capacity: Monoblock ASHPs have limited capacity, making them unsuitable for larger buildings or homes.

  • Larger Weight: Due to the high degree of integration and many parts, therefore, the volume and weight are larger. Suitable for roof, flat and other easy installation projects. Generally, hanging on the wall or on the balcony is very difficult.

  • Not Great for Cold Seasons: This heat pump freezes up in winter if the temperature is particularly low. Tend to be less efficient than air source heat pump split type, especially in cold climates.


  1. Air Source Heat Pump Split Type Installation

This Split ASHP installation is also characterized by its construction. It has two main units: the outdoor unit (contains the compressor and heat exchanger) and the indoor unit containing the hot water side heat exchanger, circulating water pump, expansion tank, water refill, water drainage, etc. The outdoor unit is connected to the indoor unit through the chiller pipe.

Mini-split Heat Pump

Advantages

  • Anti-freeze function: because there is no waterway in the outdoor part, the anti-freeze performance of the split heat pump system is better than that of the whole machine. They're ideal for colder weather.

  • Ideal for Small Spaces: the volume and weight of the outdoor and indoor units are smaller, which makes split heat pumps easy to be mounted on the wall or placed on the balcony.

  • Efficiency: In addition to easy hanging,  split-type air source heat pumps are very efficient,  Thus, they are perfect for year-round use.

Disadvantages

  • Complex Installation: Requires refrigerant lines connection and expert installation, which can be more complex and costly.

  • Regular Maintenance: Split ASHPs have more components than monoblock air source heat pumps, resulting in more needed maintenance.

Air Source Heat Pump Installation Requirements

In learning how to install an air source heat pump, there are certain requirements that must be prioritized. They include: location, weather, and installation type. These are factors that ensure the heat pump works as effectively as possible.


Air Source Heat Pump Outdoor Unit Installation


  1. Location

The most essential part of an ASHP is the external unit that’s located outside the home because it handles the extraction of heat from air. Thus, air source heat pump installation starts by picking a great outdoor location.


Other location requirements are:

  • An ASHP is best placed adjacent to the house external wall, where pipes can connect straight through the wall. For aesthetics purposes, it can be installed away from your home and surrounded by an enclosure, as long as it has sufficient access to airflow.


  • A domestic air source heat pump installation should be set up on a flat surface. If the floor area of your house is sloppy, you may need to build a flat surface, like a concrete slab.


  • ASHP does not use combustion heating systems like other traditional cooling systems, rather it uses the energy and heat available in the air. For high effectiveness, the heat pump must have sufficient airflow. That is, there should be enough space on all sides to nearby objects. Also, the air source heat pump should be installed far away from bushes or trees that can stop airflow.


  • It is best that your heat pump is protected from direct sunlight as this can affect its operation and impact the system’s efficiency. Other than choosing a location that’s safe from direct sunlight, you can also use shades.


  • Your air source heat pump should be installed in an area that is easily accessible. This is because you will need to clean it from time to time. Also, there will be a need for a trained professional to perform yearly servicing and maintenance.


  • An ASHP will certainly make a level of noise during operation because of the one or more fans it’s equipped with. In addition to installing the air source heat pump away from windows and neighbors apartments, consider the level of noise the unit emits. In our heat pump factory, we use various sound insulation measures like brushless DC inverter fans, Panasonic Compression dual shock absorption, and strong pads to reduce noise to 49 dB(A).


  • Air source heat pumps use electricity as energy, requiring a good electrical power supply to function. Hence, when considering how to install an air source heat pump, include close proximity to an electrical supply.


  1. Weather

Temperature and snow are essential climate conditions you need to look at for effective ASHP installation. Meeting these requirements will save you time, money, and energy in the long run.



However, at SPRSUN, we produce low temperature heat pumps specifically designed for freezing climates. They are equipped with advanced technologies like anti-freezing and defrost options for improved functionality. SPRSUN cold climate heat pump can operate greatly at -30℃.


Hence, it’s imperative that you consider your local climate, especially the maximum and minimum temperatures that can be experienced throughout the year.


  • Snow: In the same vein as cold climates, if your house is situated in regions with heavy snowfall, you may not be at liberty to keep your ASHP on the ground or roof. This is because if snow piles up around the system, the airflow can get compromised.


Thus, your air source heat pump should be set up high enough that snow will not pile up against it. This can be achieved by mounting the unit on a wall. You can also achieve this by building a platform or stand above the ground where the unit will be installed.

  1. Type of Installation

As earlier explained, there are 4 basic types of air source heat pump installation namely: ducted, ductless, monoblock, and split installation. Each of them have different installation requirements.


  • Ducted Installation: Involves having a network of pipes connected to each room. Equal amount of air is distributed to each room and there is no room for customization to any room. It’s perfect for whole-house heating and cooling, particularly for larger homes.


  • Ductless Installation: Simpler installation with no need for ductwork. It supports zoning, meaning you can customize the temperature of different rooms. However, it has a high upfront cost and it’s more suitable for smaller domestic buildings.


  • Monoblock Installation: Monoblock heat pumps are designed to have only one unit that’s installed outdoors.


  • Split Installation: Split heat pumps are designed to have two slightly smaller main components (indoor and outdoor units). This system helps to save outdoor space if there is limited room outside.

How to Install Air Source Heat Pump

There are three basic processes involved in installing an air source heat pump. However, each of these processes have specific steps.


Air Source Heat Pump Installation by a Professional


  1. Pre-Installation: Survey and Inspection

The installation process begins with a proper survey and inspection of your home. This is done for so many reasons, such as ensuring that the ASHP recommended for you is the best for your needs, and to inspect your house for possible complexities that will be experienced during the process. To do this, you can fix a mutually convenient time with your professional installer.


The installer will also check your heating requirements, how big your home is, the installation level within the home, how you would like heat to be distributed (radiators or underfloor heating), and so on.


Once all this is completed, the installer will submit a report with sketches of the property for proper installation of the system.

  1. Installation: Step-by-step Process

There are 6 key steps involved in the installation process. They are discussed below:

Step 1: Installing Indoor Units

Oftentimes, the installation process is started by setting up the indoor unit of your ASHP. If you’ve chosen a ductless system of installation, the installer will locate an unobstructed place on the wall, inside the zone to fix the unit. A mounting place will be installed to hold up the indoor unit for firmness.


If you’ve chosen a ducted system of installation, the installer will require access to your ductwork (whether in the attic, basement, or anywhere) for connection to the indoor unit. Perhaps you have existing ductwork that can be used, the installer may just have to do necessary repairs to optimize the efficiency of your new heat pump. And if you don’t have existing ductwork, you will have to install ductwork for air circulation.

Step 2: Create an Access Point in the Wall for Connection

There should be an access point between the indoor unit (also known as air handler) and the outdoor condenser. To do this, the installer will need to make a hole in the wall to run pipes and lines. This will offer an outlet for the refrigerant lines, electrical lines, and condensate drain lines to transfer water from the indoor unit to the outdoors.


The installer will use a hole saw on your building exterior and the room where the indoor unit will be installed (for split system of installation). In a ducted installation system, the access point is where the air handler is going to be located in your home (oftentimes, it’s the basement or attic.)

Step 3: Connect the Pipes to the Indoor Unit

The next step is to connect the refrigerant line and condensate line to the indoor units. The refrigerant lines are saddled with the function of letting the refrigerant cycle through the indoor and outdoor condensers. Depending on whether your ASHP is performing a cooling or heating solution at the time, the lines will transfer warm or cool liquid to the indoor units. This will then be transformed as air in the zone.

Step 4: Install the Outdoor Unit

After the indoor unit has been installed, the next line of action is to set up the outdoor unit. For larger outdoor units, the installer will mount a concrete slab on the floor to hold the condenser. And for smaller outdoor units, the installation can be set up on the side of your home.


In colder regions where the heat pump system is liable to come in contact with snow, the installer must ensure that the outdoor unit is lifted above the ground.

Step 5: Wiring and Electricity Connection

When the indoor and outdoor units are completely installed, the next step is to connect them through the refrigerant line and electrical wires. Oftentimes, installers insulate the lines and run them through conduits on the side of your house to protect the wiring from destructive elements.

Step 6: Apply Finishing Touches

The installer will carry out finishing touches like ensuring the pipes are affixed to the sides of your building so they will be secure. Also, most heat pump systems come with sensors, which must be installed so that the heat pumps can help communicate temperature signals to your thermostat.

  1. Post-Installation: Maintenance and Upkeep

When properly installed and cared for, air source heat pumps can last as much as over 20 years. The maintenance you can perform to make sure your heat pump system operates as intended include:

  • Clean or change filters

  • Clean coils and fans when necessary

  • Power off the unit before cleaning fan blades

  • Make sure the airflow is not blocked by debris, dust, leaves, etc.

  • Clean the heat pump system from time to time


A Professional Carrying Out Maintenance on an ASHP


It is also recommended to have the unit serviced by a professional once or twice a year. The professional will carry out a more advanced audit of the components and note issues that could impact the heat pump’s performance.


Some of the checks conducted by the professional include:

  • Check for system leakage and repair if necessary

  • Thorough inspection of filters, blowers, ducts, and indoor coils for debris and other obstructions

  • Measure airflow to see if correct

  • Check refrigerant level and pressure

  • Inspect all electrical contacts and make sure they are safe from destructive elements

  • Lubricate moving belts and motors, as well as check for wear or tear

  • Check and test the thermostat under normal working conditions

How Long Does it Take to Install an Air Source Heat Pump?

The time required for ASHP installation is uncertain. Basically, it depends on the expertise of the installer, the size of your home, weather, as well as the complications that occur during the installation process. The complications could be air duct alterations, electrical challenges in your home, installation of additional accessories, etc.It will take about two to five days on average, but it may be a full day’s work for small properties.  


NOTE: Your house won’t have access to both heating and cooling during this process.

How Much Does an Air Source Heat Pump Installation Cost?

The total cost associated with installing an air source heat pump depends on several factors, such as the heat pump model, the size, and the complexities involved in the process. For a rough estimate, air source heat pump installation cost can be between £7,000 to £9,000. Keep in mind that installing the ASHP with other home improvement projects can lower the cost.


While you might be of the opinion that the installation cost is high, it’s important you think of the cost-effectiveness and savings thanks to its lower energy bills and incentives.


What Affects Air Source Heat Pump Installation?

The installation costs for an air source heat pump vary depending on the type of heat pump, the size of the building, and the size of the heat pump. It also depends on whether modifications must be made to fit the desired heat pump and if any existing systems have to be removed.


Can I DIY Air Source Heat Pump Installation?

Air source heat pump DIY installation is possible, but there are many steps involved. To be candid, you cannot do it all by yourself. the most you can do is assemble the heat pump parts and set them up in their respective locations. You could set the outdoor unit at a desired location and the indoor unit on a wall stand or bracket waiting for installation. Doing this could help you save some installation costs and the time it takes to install the system.


But when it gets to connecting the units and wiring them together, it is best you employ the service of a certified installer with years of experience. much of the work will require a certified technician. The piping and connecting of the wires, along with the electrical wiring, will need an expert for accurate fitting and determining any modifications that will be necessary. There are also sensors that have to be installed on the system and will require someone with knowledge of how the system works in relation to its environment.


For effective operation, it is advisable to invest in proper installation that will not cause problems or affect the lifespan of the heat pump.


Contact SPRSUN to Get Easy-to-install Heat Pumps

Now that you want to know how to install an air source heat pump, it is essential that you source the easy installation system from a reliable manufacturer with a reputation for supplying quality heating and cooling appliances. This is because the heat pump quality plays a huge role in influencing the comfort you will get. Also, a quality and easy-to-install heat pump system makes the installation process simple and less costly.


SPRSUN is a professional heat pump China manufacturer with over 20 years of experience in providing various clients across the world with high-quality and easy-to-install heat pumps. Our products are made with top-grade materials and advanced technologies, ensuring high-quality and efficient performance. With the simplicity of our heat pump design, you will be able to carry out the installation process smoothly without any complexity.


Our experts are ready to recommend and provide you with the perfect heat pump for your needs. Contact us for more information.



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