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Heating your home

Air-to-air heat pumps


  • Highly efficient, low carbon heating solution
  • Provides heating in winter and cooling in summer
  • Can be mounted high to maximise wall space

Air-to-air heat pumps transfer heat from the outside air to air inside your home, increasing the temperature of the air in each room. This warm air enters your home through a series of fan coil units, or ‘blowers’.

Air-to-air heat pumps are sometimes referred to as air conditioning. While many people think of air conditioning as a way of cooling buildings, it can also be used for heating.

An air-to-air heat pump does not heat water delivered to the taps, so you will need to consider an alternative way of heating water for showering and bathing.

Find out how a heat pump works here.

Is an air-to-air heat pump right for me? 

In the UK, air-to-air heat pumps are not typically used for heating larger homes, with most domestic air source heat pumps installations using air-to-water systems. More often, air-to-air heat pumps are installed in smaller properties, such as park homes or flats.

Elsewhere in Europe air-to-air systems are more common, partly because they can be used for cooling as well as heating, which is especially useful in warmer climates.

There are a few things to consider when deciding whether an air-to-air heat pump is right for you.

Installing ducted systems

Ducted systems are typically used in very energy efficient houses such as ‘Passivhauses’. Some types of ducted systems are referred to as exhaust air heat pumps (EAHPs), though EAHPs can also supply hot water. Air is not able to carry large amounts of heat in the same way that a wet central heating system can, so ducted systems may not be suitable for older or larger houses with a high heating requirement.

The ducts used by installers are designed to allow large volumes of air to be moved around the house through pipes that are slim enough to be hidden inside the ceiling voids. All that is visible inside each room is two grills mounted in the ceiling, one for flow in and one for flow out of the room. The air is warmed in an air handling unit, which is roughly the size of a boiler and would normally be installed in a loft or utility room.

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Last updated: 15 November 2021