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What's the big deal about Air to Water Heat Pumps?

Updated: Sep 16, 2022

Air to water heat pumps are an energy efficient alternative for heating your home or business. They can be used in the coldest of climates, where the temperature drops below freezing, and can even be used for air conditioning. It is a relatively new technology compared to conventional boilers, but they are already proving themselves to hydraulics engineers as an efficient and cost-effective alternative.

Air to water heat pumps work by transferring heat from the air outside into water that circulates through your radiators. This means you’ll always have hot water at the tap, even in the depths of winter.

Air to water heat pumps are often used by design consultants in combination with solar panels because they produce more energy than they use, meaning they will help you reduce your carbon footprint.

Air to water heat pumps are more expensive than conventional boilers or electrical water heaters, but they offer many benefits over traditional heating systems and a good return for your hydraulic services investment. Here are some of the advantages:

Air to Water Heat Pump Advantages

  • Energy Efficient — Air to water heat pumps use much less energy than conventional boilers or electric baseboard heaters. That means you’ll save money on your utility bills, which means that you’ll also save money on your taxes. If your state offers a tax credit for installing an energy efficient heating system, an air-to-water system may qualify!

  • No Fossil Fuels — Air-to-water heat pumps do not burn fossil fuels like natural gas, propane or oil—they simply use electricity to generate heat and circulate it through your home or business. This makes them very ecofriendly!

  • Simple Installation — Air-to-water heat pumps don’t require any special installation —just run a pipe from outside into your home and connect it to your existing duct work!

  • Less maintenance cost — Low maintenance costs and long-term expenses. Most air to water heat pumps last longer than conventional heating systems because they do not require ductwork or grilles. Because these units are installed outside, they don't need regular maintenance like furnaces or boilers do.

  • Improved comfort — The temperature inside your home will be more consistent and comfortable because an air-to-water system is capable of regulating temperature much better than other types of heating and hydraulic systems — especially those that rely on fossil fuels such as gas or oil. This means you can leave the thermostat set at a lower temperature without worrying about drafts or feeling chilly in your own home!

  • Noise-free operation - unlike gas boilers and electric boilers that can make a lot of noise when they're operating. This makes them ideal for design consultants in areas where there are noise restrictions, such as flats or close to bedrooms.

How Does an Air to Water Heat Pump Work?

Fundamentally similar to direct expansion air conditioners, air to water heat pumps work by drawing in cool outside air through a special compressor unit. This compressed air is then passed through a condenser coil that cools it down by taking advantage of the latent heat of vaporization (the amount of energy required to change a liquid into a gas). The cooled air is then fed into an evaporator coil where it absorbs heat from inside your home before being sent back out again as warm air. Discuss with your preferred design engineers to learn more about specific details.

The two primary types of air-to-water heat pumps

  • Split Systems - A split system has two separate units: an outdoor unit (condenser) and an indoor unit (evaporator). The condenser is located outdoors on your roof while the evaporator is located inside near where you need the heat or cooled air. The pipes connecting these two units are called "coils" because they resemble an old-fashioned coil of rope laid out flat on a table top with one end attached to each unit. Split systems usually only require one pipe run from your attic down through your house to connect them together through your walls. This makes them very easy to install compared to other types of mechanical and hydraulic systems.

  • Integrated Systems: This type of heat pumps are often mounted on the top of the storage cylinder and include an evaporator, compressor, and condenser, all in one package. In some cases, the evaporator which is the part that absorbs heat from the air, is separate from the storage tank or wrapped around it. As integrated systems come in a single unit, they are normally bigger and heavier than the split type.

If you study before buying an air-to-water heat pump or rely on your design consultants, it's very important to read the specification from the manufacturer and the efficiency of the whole unit while you want to install this kind of equipment. Those two elements will give you a better point of view on the actual efficiency of that air-to-water heat pump.

Adopting an air to water heat pump in your building can drastically reduce your monthly utility bills and will allow you to take advantage of a renewable energy source: cold air!

Which Heat Pump system to choose?

If you're considering a heat pump for your home, there are many factors to consider. Here are some of the most important things to look for when selecting a heat pump. Here are some things to consider before engaging a design consultant or building service contractor:

  • Your climate zone and impact of that on the performance of the heat pump: In hot climates like Western Australia heat pumps are very efficient. However, in Hobart or Melbourne we may not be able to gain the same benefits as the hotter climate zones.

  • The upfront cost and return of your investment: It is important to calculate your investment versus the return of investment you will achieve through the replacement of the heat pump with an existing or alternative boiler system and have a budget comparison, however in most cases the return of investment is short and provides a big advantage.

  • The right size of the system: Calculating the right size heat pump is one of the most challenging parts of selecting the best system for your building’s hot water needs. On one hand, a larger tank requires a lot of energy to heat up, whereas a smaller tank that will not provide enough hot water for all of a home’s needs. Discuss thoroughly with your building services consultants in this regard.

  • Efficiency: Heat pumps are rated by their energy efficiency in units called Coefficient of Performance (COP). The higher this number, the better! It means that you will use less energy to get the same amount of heating and hot water than with an older model.

  • Temperature range: A good heat pump should be able to operate between -10 degrees Celsius and 40 degrees Celsius. If you live in colder climates and want to use the system as your only source of heating during the winter months, you may want to consider purchasing one with an extended temperature range – up to -20 degrees Celsius or even lower if possible (although these models tend to be more expensive than standard models). You may also want to consider installing additional insulation if your house is too drafty or has large windows that let cold air in through them.

Hopefully this article has helped you in your search for a reliable, high-quality heat pump or building services consultant. There is no doubt about it, heat pumps could save you money especially if you're not using your AC as much as you usually do in the summer. It is likely that you will need to take a few steps to make sure your home is ready for heat pump installation. This can act as a checklist to make sure all bases are covered before calling in the professionals.

Make sure you do your research and get at least 3 quotes from a variety of building services contractors!

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