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Air-to-Water vs. Air-to-Air Heat Pumps: Which Is Better?

Views: 2056     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2021-06-28      Origin: Site

The popularity of renewable energy resources has been gaining popularity very rapidly for the last few years. Currently, alternative energy technologies are at the core of our day-to-day lives and have stopped just being scientific jargons of the future.


Now, because of the skyrocketing acceptance of these eco-friendly energy sources, manufacturers have come up with many solutions, particularly heat pumps, which are excellent options for heating homes.


They offer one of the most inexpensive and energy-efficient ways to cool and heat your home, particularly those in environments with moderate cooling and heating needs. They are also ideal for retrofits and new builds. So, whether it is a new home or you are renovating your old furnace, or you want to enhance your home's energy production, this guide has an overview of the two main types of heat pumps to help you make a decision.


That said, between air to water and air to air heat pumps which one is better?


Air-to-Air vs. Air-to-Water Heat Pumps: Which Is Better?

Air-to-Water Heat Pump System and Its Features

Air to water heat pumps work as water heating as well as cooling and heating air systems. This allows for lesser appliances resulting in less electrical costs. But are they beneficial, or will you be better off having an air-to-air system?


Air to water systems functions by trapping outdoor air and converting it into water required to regulate your house or office conditions. Most of them have an outdoor unit positioned next to the house and an indoor unit located inside the house.


One of the main benefits you will get from the air to water system is that you do not have to install another system to heat water. Essentially, what will be happening is that your air pump will be recycling any heat inside your air pump to produce hot water. This means you do not need to worry about expensive energy bills because the system utilizes a byproduct of its cooling and heating functions to create warm water.


Another desirable feature of air to the water heat pump is that it is a one-time installation that will considerably reduce your operating and utility costs compared to a traditional heat pump or hot water heater.


That said, these types of systems are crafted to replace the entire central heating system; however, some hybrid systems can work in combination with a boiler. Also, though it is possible to use your current radiators, you will be required to replace them with underfloor heating or with larger versions in most cases.


This is because they are only efficient in low-temperature heating needs that are designed to deliver heat over a large surface area. Because of these changes and additional equipment costs, an air to water pump doesn't come cheap. So, if you are revamping your old energy sources, you might want to reconsider, but if you are building a new property or doing an extensive renovation, it can bring down installation and operational costs substantially.


Other Features Include:

  • Lower energy bills if you are replacing an old electric heating system

  • Potential income (some governments offer a renewable heat incentive (RHI)

  • Heats the home and water

  • Low maintenance costs

  • Easy to install

  • Scalable and can be designed to work in conjunction with other related systems or independently.


Air-to-Air Heat Pump System?

Air to air heat pump systems also works by getting heat from the outside environment. The heat is then amplified by a compressor and then pumped into the house. However, unlike air to water systems where heat is moved to the central heating system and then distributed through underfloor heating or radiators, with an air-to-air system, warm air is released directly from the system.


Now, with an air-to-air system, you will be required to have ducting around the home to allow air to circulate around. Ducting works in the same way as an underfloor system or a conventional radiator.


That said, air to air systems is considerably cheaper. It is possible to install a full unit in an average-sized house or property that meets all your heating needs for less than $2000. Also, you do not need to make big changes to your property, and the installation is usually unobtrusive and quick.


These units also have a better heating and cooling efficiency than air to water units, reaching up to 5.5 for some units. Also, there are multiple options available, ranging from central VRV/VRF systems, which can provide heating and cooling when required.


The system can work in conjunction with other existing heating systems, meaning users can utilize it according to their needs. What's more, by assessing your energy use, it is easy to determine at what times it is more efficient for different purposes.


That said, there are some cons that come with using air to air heat pumps as opposed to air to water heat pumps. For example, you will need another hot water system as it cannot provide hot water. More space will also be required for indoor units regardless of whether you are planning on putting them in the ceiling or on the walls.


In addition, air to air systems also produces a distinct type of heat. Though they heat the house faster, there is always some form of noise and air movement.


Notable Features

Air to Air

  • Less expensive to install. It depends on the cost of ducting

  • It can be utilized for both cooling and heating properties

  • Heats faster than radiators and has robust conditioning of the house


Air to Water

  • Renewable heat incentive funding available in some cases to help cover the installation

  • It can be used as a central heating system as well as to hot heat water

  • In most cases, it can link up with underfloor or existing radiators in most cases


Bottom Line

At the end of the day, the right type of heating pump comes down to your personal preference. The exploitation costs of the systems are almost the same. This is mainly because your expenses might increase under certain conditions and then drop under other conditions depending on the system you opt for.


So, if you lose one advantage because you opted for an air to air or air to the water system, you will gain something else in another way. Everything depends on how you will be using the unit.


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