Take a fresh look at air source heat pumps

Technological progress has made air source heat pumps easier to install and a more practical choice as a domestic and commercial heat source, says Darren McMahon, Marketing Director at Viessmann.

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Despite something of a rocky start in the UK, renewable heating technology and air source heat pumps in particular are here to stay, and they are a more practical and reliable choice than ever.

Today, the market is buoyant thanks to RHI tariffs (at their highest level currently, due to inflation), because the Blue Planet effect has tuned people into environmental causes again, and due to new products being installed by more experienced and better trained heating engineers.

Air source heat pumps are a great option for homes that are designed from the outset in energy-efficient way, particularly in off-gas areas. More and more independent housebuilders are stipulating them, which reflects how well they are now accepted and understood. Even a large house can deal very well with a 10kW heat pump. A pertinent point, given the heatwave conditions we experienced last summer, is that heat pumps have cooling functions, and could therefore be a suitable option for those considering investing in air conditioning.

For architects considering a heat pump for renovation projects, it is essential to have a full energy evaluation undertaken by an experienced installer first, to ascertain the future state energy demand, for both comfort and cost reasons. Underfloor heating, high-efficiency, low temperature convector radiators, window replacements and wall or roof insulation, for example, can be employed to reduce heat demand and make the property a better fit for a heat pump.

Plan ahead! There is no point in deciding at the end of the planning process that a heat pump is desirable.

Standard domestic heat pumps have single phase power, which limits heat output. So if the property is very large and the heat demand requires a larger heat pump of 10 to 12kW, the standard heat pump should still be considered, but used in conjunction with an additional heat source, such as a boiler, to create a hybrid or bivalent system. The heat pump would cover between 80 to 90% of the heating, with the other product kicking in in the coldest winter temperatures. This would avoid having to oversize the heat pump and create an inefficient system. All Viessmann products are designed to work seamlessly together with integrated controls that are easy to use.

Viessmann recently launched an innovative new air source heat pump, the Vitocal 200-A, as well as its storage counterpart, the 222-A, that is exceptionally quiet and therefore suitable for the most densely built-up townhouse complexes. The heat pump has an innovative Advanced Acoustic Design, which delivers a noise pressure level of only 35 dB(A) at a distance of three meters (in night mode).

Both are of compact monobloc design, with separate indoor and outdoor units connected by water pipes. The outdoor unit, containing one or two fans (depending on power output), is distinguished by its elegant German design and superb finish. The wall-mounted indoor unit is quiet enough to be installed close to the living area. This contains a high-efficiency circulation pump, three-way changeover valve (with an effective cooling function thanks to three cooling circuits), safety group, control, and an instantaneous water heater. Maximum flow temperature is up to 60°C when the temperature outdoors is as low as -10°C.

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