Air Source Heat Pump vs Oil Boiler

Many people call us and ask what type of heating system they should install. Should it be an air source heat pump or an oil fired boiler?

Not surprisingly there are still hundreds of folk in the Western Isles and all over the nation who stubbornly stick by their trusty old oil fired boilers, after all why change something that has worked perfectly well for households all over the country for as long as people can remember? We love our oil fired boilers. Higher flow temperatures from oil fired boilers allow for central heating systems to feature smaller radiators which take up less wall space and oil fired energy provides fast hot water heat up times. Nobody can argue with the technology but more and more people are beginning to argue with the effects the technology is having on our environment. The 21st century is focused on producing green energy and many governments around the world have already become administrators to the green cause, including ours. 

From the year 2025, fossil fuel energy will be prohibited by the UK and Scottish Governments in newly built properties. This is a bold step and a real show of intent for further aggressive changes down the line. The times they are a-changin, and people would be best advised to move with the times sooner rather than later. Why move now? At the moment there are grants available to install air source heat pumps but after March 2021 there won't be. Oil boilers are proven to cost considerably more to run than air source heat pumps, and the volatile price of oil is liable to vary unexpectedly given the finite inheritance of this fossil fuel. 

So what is an air source heat pump and how does it work? Ecodan air source heat pumps use 1kW of electrical energy input and take 2.2kW of low temperature renewable heat energy from the air, producing a high efficient 3.2kW heat energy output. This heats refrigerant in the system which in turn heats water for domestic hot water and space heating. You might be wondering if it is suitable to heat your home. The common myth is that to have an air source heat pump, you have to have a really well insulated house, preferrably a new build. This is not the case because it all comes down to the way the system is designed. A well designed air source heating system will operate efficiently and effectively regardless of the amount of insulation in the home. Don't get us wrong, people do have to continue to upgrade the insulation levels in their homes because the cost of all energy continues to rise, whether the energy source is electric, oil or gas. Regardless of the energy source, every home should be aiming to have a minimum of 300mm of glass wool present in the loft. Heat rises and so without this level of insulation you are effectively allowing your heat to float away into space through your poorly insulated loft. Wall and floor insulation is also important but air source heat pumps can cope with not so well insulated walls and floors so long as the loft is well insulated. Flow temperatures on air source heat pumps can be adjusted to suit the circumstances of the home, ranging from 35 degrees to 55 degree flow temperatures. The design of the system will take the insulation levels into account so that the air source heat pump will provide the most efficient and effective heat to the property. So it really doesn't matter what the energy source is, poor levels of insulation will spell higher energy bills for households whatever the energy source. Don't be fooled by the myth that air source heat pumps are not powerful enough to heat up your home.  

The latest ultra quiet version of the Mitsubishi Ecodan air source heat pump is a brilliant new realease which runs quietly and provides unbelievable efficiency. All of the ultra quiet units (8.5kw & 11.2kW) are manufactured at the Mitsubsihi Electric factory in Livingston, Scotland which provides a huge boost to Scotland's economy.

The technical service we get from Mitsubishi (air source) is just as good as the technical service we get from Worcester Bosch (oil) and both manufactuer's offer similar guarantees of 5-7 years. 

So what would you choose? Would you install the eco friendly but slightly misunderstood air source heat pump or the good old reliable oil fired boiler?

AMC - Alex Murray Construction Ltd