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Understanding Air-Source Heat Pumps: A Comprehensive Guide - KlimaTime

Understanding Air-Source Heat Pumps: A Comprehensive Guide

Air-source heat pumps (ASHPs) have become increasingly popular as a versatile and efficient heating and cooling solution. But what exactly are they, and how do they work? Let's dive in.

What is an Air-Source Heat Pump (ASHP)?

An ASHP is a device that can absorb heat from the air outside a building and release it inside. Think of it as a reverse air conditioner. While an air conditioner extracts heat from inside your home and releases it outside, an ASHP does the opposite. The beauty of ASHPs is that they can also provide domestic hot water.

How Does It Work?

Air contains energy, even in cold temperatures. An air source heat pump (ASHP) is able to transfer this energy as heat from one place to another, allowing for the efficient heating of a building and the production of hot water. The technology utilized in ASHPs is similar to that of a refrigerator or freezer. Just as a refrigerator cools its interior and releases warmth through its pipes, an ASHP warms the inside of a building while cooling the outside air.

Main Components:

  1. Outdoor Evaporator Heat Exchanger Coil: Extracts heat from ambient air.
  2. Indoor Condenser Heat Exchanger Coils: Transfer the heat into the indoor air or an indoor heating system like water-filled radiators or underfloor circuits.

Types of Air-Source Heat Pumps:

  1. Air-to-Water Heat Pumps: Use the water system in radiators or underfloor heating to heat a whole house and can provide domestic hot water. View...
  2. Air-to-Air Heat Pumps: Simpler devices that provide hot or cold air directly to internal spaces but usually don't provide hot water. View...

Efficiency and Performance:

In a typical setting, an ASHP can gain 4 kWh of thermal energy from just 1 kWh of electric energy. They are optimized for flow temperatures between 30-40°C, making them suitable for well-insulated buildings. With certain losses in efficiency, they can even offer a full central heating solution with temperatures up to 60-70°C.

Benefits of Air-Source Heat Pumps:

  1. Cost-Effective: ASHPs can provide low-cost space heating. A heat pump can produce four times as much heat as an electric water heater while consuming the same amount of electricity. 1 kW eletricity can give you 4 kW in heating capacity. 
  2. Environmentally Friendly: They don't emit harmful gases like carbon dioxide or nitrogen oxide. They use a small amount of electricity to transfer a large amount of heat, which can be sourced from renewable sources.

Considerations in Cold Climates:

In extremely cold temperatures, the efficiency of a heat pump can decrease. However, modern ASHPs designed for cold climates can extract useful heat from ambient air even as cold as −30 °C. This is made possible by variable-speed compressors from manufacturers like Mitsubishi, Panasonic and other high-end brands.

Usage and Installation:

ASHPs are versatile and can be used for both heating in winter and cooling in summer. While the installation cost can be high, it's generally less than ground source heat pumps. They come with back-up heaters for extremely cold temperatures.


Air-source heat pumps are a sustainable and efficient solution for heating and cooling needs. They are especially beneficial for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint and energy bills. When considering an ASHP, it's essential to consult with professionals to ensure the system is tailored to your specific needs and environment.

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