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A Complete Guide: Air Source Heat Pump Costs

Views: 3400     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-01-07      Origin: Site

Heat pumps have surprisingly become a ‘necessary’ appliance for their ability to offer a convenient and reliable energy source for anyone looking to warm their pools or stay warm indoors. If you want to invest in a heating or cooling unit, heat pumps are undoubtedly a suitable option to suit your needs. These units are both cost-effective and versatile. But exactly how much do air source heat pumps cost?

On average, it costs around $3,500 - $18,975 to install a heat pump fully. However, the cost is dependent on several factors like premise size and varies depending on how you choose to install them.

In this post, we have debunked how air source heat pumps operate, how they contrast & compare to other heating systems, and how much they cost.

This guide contains simple steps to calculate the average cost of an air source pump and install it, ensuring it’s operating properly. Here is what You will learn about these low-carbon heating alternatives.


What is an Air Source Heat Pump?

Air source heat pumps offer effective cooling and heating solutions for your premises in any climatic condition. These heat pumps are unique low-carbon technologies that convert solar energy from sun rays (outside air) into electricity used for everyday domestic heating purposes.

Domestic ASHP units are among the most cost and energy-efficient heating solutions and offer some of the cheapest air source heat pumps in the market. In fact, according to statistics in the UK, air-source heat pumps represent nearly 90% of the total heat pump units sold for domestic usage. The UK is among the largest markets for air-source pumps as the government seeks to reach the Net Zero Target goal by 2050.

The latest International Energy Agency report insists that their objective is to ensure no sale of new gas boilers after 2025 to ensure the Net Zero target is accomplished by 2050. Ideally, the use of these pumps offers a convenient, low-carbon, and cost-effective alternative for domestic heating needs soon.

How do they Work?

ASHPs are ideally low-carbon heating units that utilize the ambient air to generate heat for your premises. They are applicable for both space and hot water heating.

These units work by absorbing heat from the outside and absorbing the air into a loop with specific refrigerant fluid. After extracting the heat for the air, it passes across a compressor, where it is compressed, resulting in higher temperatures.

What’s more, the air source pumps feature a distinct heat exchanger that transfers the heat through pipes and distributes it to the necessary locations like underfloor heating systems, radiators, air conditioners, and hot water circuits within your premises.

Types of Air Source Heat Pumps

The market features two types of heat pumps mainly:

The functionality of both units depends on the type of heat pump you use.

Air to air heat pump

These pumps usually generate energy by moving air from one location to another, a process that needs electricity. In warm seasons, the pump extracts heat from the inside and then releases the warm air outside, ensuring the inside of your premises remains cooler. As such, these pumps operate as air conditioners.

Ideally, these heat pumps only offer space heating, although when you combine them with other types of heating systems, like boilers, the heat generated can subsequently heat water.

Air to water heat pump

Alternatively, these pumps can offer both water and space heating, rendering them a more versatile type of heat pump. Generally, they operate using unique hydronic technology and works like boilers where the purpose is to offer a home both hot water and space heating.

What is the difference between Air to Air vs. Air and Water Heat Pumps?

Since there are two types of air source pumps available, the critical question is which is the most appropriate option for your needs. Both units extract heat from external ambient air using outdoor heat pump units. Despite sounding similar, these are different water and space heating needs packages.

Both options use electric power for optimal operation but are relatively more energy efficient than traditional heating units. Air to air units is popularly used as air conditioners. In contrast, the latter (air to water units) works well for water and space heating through underfloor heating and radiators.

Nonetheless, air to air units are cheaper to install than air to water units.

Pros and Cons

There are numerous perks and shortcomings of using air source pumps, and it's essential to familiarize yourself with each of them before you invest.


  • Easy installation process

  • Rational capital costs

  • High efficiency-with a regular CoP of 3.2 on average, these units perform efficiently without energy wastage.

  • Low operating costs; resulting in lower energy costs

  • Renewable Heat Incentive eligibility


  • Outdoor fans may be somewhat noisy

  • Condensed air can generate water which can freeze at relatively low temperatures, subsequently interrupting the proper flow of heat.

  • Lower maximum water temperature compared to traditional heating units

What Size of ASHP Do you Need?

The size of the appropriate air source pump suitable for your needs is dependent on the size of the premise or space which needs heating or cooling. Ideally, you must install a suitable air source heat unit with the capacity to maintain your house's temperature effectively. For instance, a 400 sq. foot space needing heating or cooling will require an ASHP unit with at least a 9000 BTU rating.

The underlying concept is that the larger the space, the more the BTUs need to offer sufficient heating or cooling power.

How Much Do Air Source Heat Pumps Cost?

The total cost of a standard air-source heat pump ranges between £1,500 to 18,000. Typically, this considerable price range difference exists because the market features different brands, types of ASHPs (air to water & air to air), different sizes, and varying performance strengths, all of which contribute to the different price options.

Air Source Heat Pump Costs

ASHP System Average Price

  1. Air to air pump     £1,500 - £3,500

  2. Air to water pump   £8,000 - £18,000

The prices listed above are extensive estimates of installation costs based on the current rates. For more accurate prices, you can get quotes from different installers.

When investing in heating pumps, you must consider installation costs and potential home altering expenses. As earlier mentioned, the total purchase and installation costs vary depending on several factors, including your unit's brand, size, and model.

What's more, besides the unit itself, you might also need several new components like a heat distribution system (under flooring heating or more oversized radiators), pipes, and perhaps even hot water cylinders.

Underfloor heating and larger radiators are necessary since heat pumps warm water to relatively lower temperatures than boilers, therefore larger surfaces are necessary to deliver adequate heat.

Several other factors that determine the total installation costs for an air source heat pump include:

  • Home/premise size

  • The insulation in your home

  • The heat pump brand

  • The size of your heat pump

  • The heat pump’s efficiency/performance

Here is an example of the total cost of a heat pump unit and its accessories:

Unit                                                      Potential cost

  1. ASHP                                                £4,000      – £9,000

  2. New radiators                              £65 – £300 /radiator

  3. Underfloor heating                     £75 – £100/ meter

  4. Hot water cylinder                     £450 – £1,000

Installation Cost: How much does an ASHP cost to install?

The total installation costs of standard ASHP units vary depending on your existing heating system. Where additional work is needed, like installing underfloor heating and new radiators, you will incur higher installation costs. Typically, you can expect to spend an extra £2,000 - £4,000 for complete installation.

Installers offer you quotes that are inclusive of total costs like extra works and labor costs. For instance, many installers will charge you anywhere from $60-$150 per hour for labor costs. However, this usually depends on the total number of contractors needed to finalize the job, in addition to the competitive rates standard for local HVAC contractors within your locality.

Air source heat pump units are easy to install. The installation process might take up to 20 hours (new systems featuring ductwork). However, it can take relatively less installation time to perform a replacement or a heat pump repair.

Do air source heat pumps have any operating costs?

Air source heat pump units operate on a small electric current. Ideally, electricity is among the most expensive fuel types at 14.4p/kWh, especially when gas costs around 4.17p/kWh. Nonetheless, since these units can convert an electric energy unit into 2-4 times as much (heat) energy, every thermal kWh of heat a heat pump produces with a 4 CoP will cost around 3.6p/kWh.

A typical UK home requires about 12,000 kWh in heat annually. For each 1 kWh of electricity the house uses, air pumps can generate about 3kWh of heat. This essentially signifies that heat pumps use around 4,000 kWh of electricity to adequately generate 12,000 kWh for a typical home. Considering that the average electricity cost is around 14p/kWh, the annual heating costs are approximately £560.

Note: the average home requires 12,000 kWh of heat, which an ASHP can generate for about £560 per year.

Generally, it’s potentially possible that air source pumps costs will reduce significantly depending on the ASHPs.

Air source pumps usually warm your premises using an accessible, reliable, and renewable energy source, i.e., the sun's heat. However, the pump runs on electricity to generate the needed heat.

What’s more, it is worth noting that the overall heat pump running costs can rise if they’re heating a house that doesn’t have proper insulation. Ideally, heat pumps generate heat to a relatively lower temperature than traditional boilers, rendering sufficient insulation significantly essential.

Several factors determine the total operating costs of heat pumps, including:

  • The efficiency of the heating system (CoP)

  • Size of the ASHP system

  • RHI tariffs

  • Room Temperature

  • Insulation of your premises

  • Energy costs

Besides the few factors mentioned above, you should also use your heat pump efficiently to improve its efficacy. Like traditional boilers, all heat pumps feature heating controls, and adjusting the temperature to a lower setting will undoubtedly improve your cost savings.

You must ensure you rely on a professional installer, as they usually guide you on the most effective use of heating controls during installation.

Furthermore, you can produce your renewable energy using standard solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to minimize operational costs. Ideally, solar panels typically convert solar energy into clean and free electricity that you can use to pump your ASHP at no cost!

Are Air Source Heat Pumps practical? And to what extent?

As you would expect, energy prices differ-and our energy use and homes vary too. Therefore, it's rather challenging to develop a precise figure on the total amount of resources you can save using ASHPs annually. However, based on some actual industry-wide estimates, we can create an approximate outline of expected savings from the use of ASHPs.

ASHPs usually generate a significant energy-efficient level known as the CoP (coefficient of performance). Ideally, the CoP is the total energy produced for each kilowatt of power utilized. Hence, the higher a unit's CoP is, the more effective since you are utilizing relatively less electricity to produce the needed heat for your premises.

You must note that air source (heat) pumps have two unique units to refer to their efficiency ratings:

  • SPF (seasonal performance factor)

  • CoP (Coefficient of Performance)

Ideally, these labels represent the same energy efficiency represent a measurement of the total heat delivered by heat pumps for every unit of electricity necessary to operate it.

In essence, standard air-source pumps convert every kW (kilowatt) of electricity into heat (3-4 kW). This results in a distinct efficiency of between 300 and 400 % efficiency-a moderately higher efficiency rate than the 93% generated by standard condensing boilers that operate at a 94 %efficiency rating.

SPF represents a measurement of your heat pump’s efficiency across an entire year. This rating is calculated by dividing the overall heat output per year by the annual electricity intake.

For eligibility of the RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive), the air source pump you purchase must have an average SPF of approximately 2.5.

Do air source heat pumps have any funding or grant programs?

Funding is available for various heat source pumps and is included in the RHI. In the UK, for instance, this government program pays homeowners for every renewable amount of energy they produce.

RHI payments are delivered annually, and for the largest heating systems, you can amass as much as £1,300 per year. What’s more, the UK government will also offer users up to £5,000 to install air-source heat pumps starting in 2022.

According to multiple estimates, you can potentially raise about £4,000-£24,000 in payments extending over seven years through the RHI payment options. Therefore, without even considering the resources you save on standard heating bills, this incentive is enough to help you get a new and modern air source heat unit at the current setting.

Note: The RHI payments in the UK incentive program go to a maximum of 30,000 kWh. Therefore, you shouldn't expect any additional payments-especially if your unit produces beyond this mark!

Do air source heat pumps (ASHPs) have maintenance costs?

ASHPs utilize modern technology and usually boast a working life of two decades (20 years) or more. However, like standard boilers, you must purchase a constantly serviced (professional servicing) air source heat unit-annually (if you boast a compressor within your house, or every two years- to ensure that it's still fully operational. Nonetheless, there are several things you can perform individually:

  • Ensure that there’s an adequate air supply. Typically, this means that you should  regularly check for rubbish or leaves in the grilles of your fan. Also, prune back any plants developing too close to your units or the system’s  piping.

  • In  cold weather, such as snowy conditions, you should remove snow from the unit and ensure that the ice doesn't block the heat pump's grilles.


While it is easy to get tempted and settle for the cheapest price for your air source heat pump unit, you must remember that 'cheap is expensive regardless of the brand or installer! Don't just settle for a unit or an installer simply because they offer a favorable price. With the market still being a niche, it is vital to ensure you pick both the best unit and a professional installer to ensure proper installation and operation of the unit.

Air source heat pumps are an innovative, eco-friendly, and convenient way of ensuring constant heating in your home/business. They come with multiple benefits and disadvantages, as earlier mentioned in this post. With this detailed price guide, you can now head out and pick the best air source heat pump for your needs without any worries.

Happy Shopping!

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