A Guide to Hybrid Air Source Heat Pumps: Everything You Need to Know
If you are new to air source heat pumps, you can read our in-depth guide on air source heat pumps. If you have done a little research, you may already have an idea of how an air source heat pump works. Simply put, an air source heat pump draws energy from the ambient heat found in the air outside and converts it into energy that can be used to heat your radiators, underfloor heating and hot water. Some heat pumps can also act as an air conditioning unit would, giving you cool air too.
Hybrid air source heat pumps work in a very similar way, only they work alongside your existing system. A hybrid air source heat pump can be configured to work in a number of ways to reduce your carbon footprint, whilst reducing your energy costs at the same time. Your installer will program your hybrid system to work in the most efficient way, depending on your circumstances.
What's On This Page?
Click the links below and head straight to a specific section of the article.
- Why Choose Hybrid Air Source Heat Pumps?
- How Can I Use a Hybrid Heat Pump Efficiently?
- Advantages and Disadvantages of a Hybrid Air Source Heat Pump
- The Advantages of Hybrid Air Source Heat Pumps
- The Disadvantages of Hybrid Air Source Heat Pumps
- Optimising your Hybrid Heat Pump in the Future
- Hybrid Air Source Heat Pump Conclusion
Why Choose Hybrid Air Source Heat Pumps?
If you have a particularly large home or your existing gas boiler cannot handle your current heating demands, a hybrid air source heat pump could be a great option. Air source heat pumps can handle temperatures of –20 degrees, but they become less effective when it is colder outside. This is when your gas boiler will need to take over and produce more energy than your heat pump can produce.
Hybrid air source heat pumps may be appropriate for smaller homes too, especially if it is poorly insulated or there are many household members. A good indicator that a hybrid system may be suitable for your home is that you need to take short showers in order to ensure that the hot water can stretch between everybody, before it starts to run cold.
How Can I Use a Hybrid Heat Pump Efficiently?
Hybrid air source heat pumps can produce approximately 75% of your energy, with your gas boiler producing the remaining 25% during colder months. It is a good idea to research your current tariff rates in order to maximise the hybrid system efficiency. Your installer can set your system to kick in automatically at different times. Your energy costs may be higher at certain times, which is where the hybrid system would be most beneficial.
You may want your hybrid air source heat pump to handle just your heater requirements and your gas boiler to handle just hot water. With this option, you could even install a system that produces both hot and cold air. You would also not need to install a new water storage tank, which would reduce the cost of your hybrid air source heat pump installation overall.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Hybrid Air Source Heat Pump
There are plenty of advantages when it comes to installing hybrid air source heat pumps but it is always best to speak to a professional MSC qualified installer before you go ahead, to make sure it is the best option for you. If your property is older, you could end up paying more to install a hybrid system, as the pipe layout was designed to fit a different system.
The Advantages of Hybrid Air Source Heat Pumps
Reduced Carbon Footprint
Your hybrid heat air source heat pumps use the air from outside to produce energy instead of burning gases or oils, it is more environmentally friendly. However, it does require electric to be used and your gas boiler will still work for part of the time. This does mean that you are not completely eliminating your carbon emissions, but it is a step in the right direction. The Government will ban the installation of new gas boilers from 2035, so you will be a step ahead.
Less Maintenance Required
Air source heat pumps require very little maintenance and with your gas boiler being used far less, it will also last longer and be subject to less wear and tear. The most you are likely to have to do to maintain your hybrid heat pump is remove leaves and debris from the fan and surrounding areas, and possibly clean or replace the filter. How often you will need to replace the filter will depend on its usage.
Hybrid Systems in Homes with Poor Insulation
If your home suffers with poor insulation and it would be too costly to improve, a hybrid system may be the best option for you. It will not reduce the amount of energy you lose through insufficient insulation but it will ensure that you have enough to be comfortable throughout the year. Many tenants with a singular system struggle to heat their homes to a comfortable level, especially during the winter.
Reduce your Energy Costs
With a hybrid air source heat pump producing most of your energy from natural sources, you will spend less than when you would be from burning gases. How much you save will depend on the setup of your system and the circumstances in your home.
The Disadvantages of Hybrid Air Source Heat Pumps
High Upfront Cost
Getting a hybrid system installed can cost in the region of £7,000 to £13,000. This can seem high when you consider that a regular gas boiler tends to cost between £2,500 and £4,000 on average. However, the longer lifespan of a hybrid system and reduced energy costs can often offset this cost.
Limited Professional Installers Available
Hybrid systems are relatively new compared to regular gas boiler installers and therefore there are fewer professional installers available. This is part of the reason that it costs more to get a hybrid heat pump installed. However, more installers are being trained regularly to install hybrid heat pumps, so this is becoming less of a problem.
You May Need to Upgrade Your Radiators
Many homes have smaller radiators installed, which are optimised for gas boilers. Hybrid air source heat pumps are better suited to larger surface areas and are most effective for larger radiators and underfloor heating systems. This means that you may want to upgrade your radiators to larger radiators or double panel radiators in order to get the best from your hybrid system.
Hybrid Heat Pump Installation Can be Complex
Some hybrid heat pumps can be complicated to install. This is particularly true in older homes where the piping layout is optimised for gas boilers. This means that your piping may need to be altered, which can push up the cost even further.
Optimising Your Hybrid Heat Pump in the Future
When gas boilers are no longer an option, you may want to look at how you can fully optimise your hybrid system to be even more efficient and cost effective. One option would be to add solar PV and a solar power battery to your installation. This will give you a more self-reliant option to powering your home, based on completely natural sources.
With your solar PV system generating energy from the sun's rays and your hybrid heat pump generating energy from the air, you will reduce your emissions and energy costs even further. You will of course need to think about the cost of adapting your hybrid system, but ultimately this can be offset against the further savings you will make. You can find out more by taking a look at our guide on solar panels and solar panel batteries.
Hybrid Air Source Heat Pump Conclusion
There are clear benefits to getting a hybrid system installed, but you will need to weigh up whether this is the best option for your home, based on individual circumstances. You may find that a standalone air source heat pump would be a more practical option. This will cut your carbon emissions even further and most homes are suitable for a standalone heat pump.
Check out more of our articles for information about the various options available to you.