Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP) are now the most talked-about renewable energy technology and with good reason.

With the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) programme, they offer an excellent way to save money on your heating bills and earn a healthy return on investment.

However, before you rush out and buy an air source heat pump, it’s important to understand the running costs involved.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the typical running costs of an air source heat pump and how they compare to other heating options.


Air Source Heat Pumps How Do They Work? (Explained)

An air-source heat pump works in much the same way that a fridge or air conditioner does.

The refrigerant is circulated through a network of tubes filled with a liquid. This warms up the refrigerant and causes it to change from a liquid to a gas.

The gas is then passed through a compressor, which raises the temperature even further. 

This heat is then transferred to the water circulating through your heating system.

The whole process is reversed in the summer so that the heat pump can be used for cooling as well as heating.

Air Source Heat Pump Running Costs

According to Energy Saving Trust, it costs roughly 4.65p per kWh to heat a home with gas, 4.82p per kWh for oil, 7.70p per kWh for LPG, and about 20.06p per kWh using standard electric heaters. A regular air source heat pump might cost around 5.73p per kWh to operate.

So, an air source heat pump could save you money on your heating bills if you’re currently using gas, oil, or standard electric heating. And, of course, if you’re eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), you’ll also receive payments for every kWh of heat you generate.

Payback Period

The payback period is the amount of time it will take for your investment in an air source heat pump to be paid back through savings on your energy bills.

For example, if an air source heat pump costs £8,000 to install and is expected to save £1,000 a year on your heating bills, the payback period would be 8 years.

However, the payback period can be shorter or longer depending on a number of factors, such as the size of your home, the efficiency of your heat pump, and the price of energy.

To get a more accurate idea of the payback period for an air source heat pump in your home, use our Heating Cost Calculator.

Air Source Heat Pump Maintenance Costs

As with any mechanical device, an air source heat pump will need to be serviced from time to time to ensure it is running efficiently.

Most manufacturers recommend that an air source heat pump is serviced every year by a qualified engineer.

The cost of this service will vary depending on the make and model of the heat pump but is typically around £100-£200+VAT per year.

How to Save on ASHP Running Costs

There are quite a few ways you can save on air source heat pump running costs:

  • Take advantage of free or subsidized insulation measures.
  • Install double or triple glazing on windows
  • Schedule regular maintenance checks with a qualified engineer.
  • Switch to a cheaper electricity supplier or install a solar PV system.
  • Maintain a sensible room temperature of around 18°C in the winter and 20°C in the summer.
  • Install underfloor heating.
  • Install cavity wall insulation.
  • Avoid using your heat pump to heat rooms that are not being used.
  • Use draught excluders and curtains to keep heat in.
  • Ensure your heat pump is installed in a well-ventilated space.
  • Install larger radiators for rooms that are consistently used when the heat pump is heating the home.
  • Use a timer to control your heat pump’s running hours.
  • Turn the heat pump down when you’re not at home.

Air Source Heat Pump Cost Calculator


How much electricity does a heat pump use?

The typical house uses around 12,000-kilowatt-hours (Kwh) of heat each year. As a result, a heat pump with a COP of three would consume 4,000 kWh each year to meet this requirement. This number is determined by the size of your home, the degree to which it is insulated, and how much hot water you use.

How big is an air source heat pump?

Heat pumps are available in capacities ranging from 6kW to 15kW, with the higher-rated ones producing greater heat for your house. A properly sized heat pump should be able to adequately warm your home throughout the year, but that doesn't imply bigger is better.

Air source heat pumps advantages

There are quite a few advantages to installing an air-source heat pump:


  • Can be used in any climate.
  • Lower operating costs than other forms of heating.
  • High Seasonal Coefficient of Performance (SCOP).
  • Reduced emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
  • Can be used to heat water as well as space.
  • Save Money on Energy Bills.
  • Eligible for RHI.
  • Can Be Used for Heating and Cooling.
  • Can Be Used for Space Heating and Hot Water.
  • Easy Installation Process.

Air source heat pumps disadvantages

  • The upfront cost can be high.
  • Not suitable for very cold climates.
  • Can be noisy.

Does an air source heat pump run all the time?

When temperatures fall below 40 degrees, the heat pump is intended to run on a near-continuous basis to keep your house comfortable. So don't be concerned if the weather outside is particularly harsh and your system is running constantly.

Are heat pumps expensive to run?

Heating systems based on combustion are more expensive to run than heat pumps. The greater energy-efficient the systems, the more long-term savings on energy bills there will be.

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