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The Cost of an Air Source Heat Pump Service

Maintenance Tips for Your Low Carbon Heating System

Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Mar 20, 2024
7 minutes read
  • The technology behind the heating
  • Cost of an air source heat pump, servicing costs and advice
  • How to look after your system

Opting for a low carbon alternative to a fossil fuel boiler marks the start of a journey to reducing household emissions. Even though heat pumps are reasonably expensive, they last longer than boilers, and are even much more energy efficient. In terms of maintenance, how much does an air source heat pump service cost?

This article will explain the inner workings of a heat pump and provide help in maintaining them. From checks you can perform yourself to what a professional will look at annually, you can find it here. The article will then explain how air source heat pump service costs can differ, and why.

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A heating technician in red working on an outdoor heat pump unit

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How a Heat Pump Works

Usually, air source heat pumps refer to air-to-water models. These draw out ambient heat in the outside atmosphere and compress it through a low temperature refrigerant.

The compressor then effectively boosts the heating process and warms water via a heat exchanger. This is then used in your radiators or underfloor heating. It can also be used for hot water stored in a tank.

Once the warmed fluid has been used within the heat pump, it passes back through an expansion valve and into an evaporator. The compression process then starts all over again.

Heat Pump Diagram

With a complicated process like this, it’s no wonder that the service cost for an air source heat pump might seem high. Fortunately, it’s not too expensive when you think about all that’s going on.

Why Maintenance Is Essential

As with all things, they will last much longer if you look after them. It’s important the cost of an air source heat pump service doesn’t put you off, as it’s a necessary process.

Heat pump maintenance is essential to:

  • Maintain low energy bills

  • Keep down emissions

  • Keep your home warm

  • Limit heating downtime should something go wrong

  • Prevent costly repairs and/or replacement

When you think about how efficient heat pumps are, and how much money they can save you, keeping on top of maintenance maximises their effectiveness. In other words, the air source heat pump service cost is a small price to pay for avoiding high energy bills.

Keeping Your Air Source Heat Pump in Working Order

Before you look at air source heat pump service costs, there are common ways to keep them functioning yourself.

Heat Pump Service Vector
  1. Remove any obstructions

  2. Check the fans

  3. Clean the outdoor unit

  4. Check indoor coils

  5. Check refrigerant

  6. Lubricate

Remove Obstructions

The fan in the outdoor unit needs a free flow of air in order to work properly. Any neighbouring trees or bushes need to be at least five feet away to limit how much debris enters the pump. Cleaning out any leaves or twigs can help to keep the cost of an air source heat pump service down.

Check the Fans

If the fans are misshapen, not enough air will be entering the system. Broken, bent or loose fans should be remedied. Something like this will also be included in the air source heat pump service cost.

Clean the Outdoor Unit

A soft brush is all that’s required to keep your outdoor unit looking good. This will remove dust, dirt and debris, which will prevent the pipes from becoming clogged up.

Your air filters will do most of the heavy lifting, but you can keep them working for longer by doing some of their job for them. This will also be included in the cost of an air source heat pump service.

Check Indoor Coils

The interior part of your heat pump will feature coils. These are designed to remove heat from your home as the refrigerant condenses back into a liquid. They can easily build up with dust and debris over time, reducing their effectiveness.

Any service cost for air source heat pump maintenance will look into these for you. As they can operate in reverse, it’s extremely useful for defrosting the outdoor coils, should you need to do so.

Check Refrigerant

Wall Mounted Heat Pump Unit Vector

Usually, refrigerant will stay within the heat pump throughout its entire life and doesn’t wear out. However, if there is a leak somewhere, your system will have to work harder to maintain set temperatures.

There’s also the danger of overheating with low levels of refrigerant. Your unit will quickly wear itself out and you’ll then be looking at a replacement rather than repair. Refrigerant level checks are included in the cost of an air source heat pump service.


The manufacturer’s literature will explain which moving parts need lubrication. From time to time, a little help will be required to ensure parts aren’t wearing out or causing undue stress to the system.

Thankfully, all of these steps are included in the service cost of an air source heat pump. If you want your system to last its full lifespan, you can always help it along.

Air Source Heat Pump Service Cost

The important question is how much you should expect to pay out for maintaining your heating system. In good news, the service cost for an air source heat pump will always be lower than for a ground source system, as there are fewer parts.

According to Checkatrade, the average cost of servicing is £200 for an air source model and £250 for a ground source model. You will also need to factor in the hourly rate of labour and where you are in the UK. Heat pump repair, on the other hand, can be anywhere from £150 to over £2,000.

Minimum callout charges can be from £100, and hourly rates can start at £40. If you’ve been looking after your heating system, your air source heat pump service cost shouldn’t be too dear.

Cost of an Air Source Heat Pump Service Compared to Boilers

Heat Pump Repair Vector

If you have a boiler, a yearly service will cost you around £80. These are recommended to keep them working efficiently and to ensure they’re safe. Gas boilers can leak deadly carbon monoxide and become inefficient over time. With a heat pump, no flames are used, which makes them inherently much safer.

In terms of efficiency, heat pumps only change throughout the season. Colder weather introduces higher prices as they become less efficient. However, they will still be outputting more energy than they take to operate in electricity. When it comes to the service cost of an air source heat pump, you’re paying to ensure efficiency is maximised.

Common Questions About Heat Pumps

Plenty of people get confused when it comes to low carbon systems. We’ve prepared a short section with common queries to dispel misconceptions.

Are Heat Pumps More Likely to Break Down Than Boilers?

Both boilers and heat pumps need to be regularly serviced to keep them in working order. With both heating systems, you’ll find similar levels of reliability. Having said that, a well designed heat pump will outlast a gas boiler.

Air source heat pump service costs are what you pay to keep the system enduring. Gas boiler service costs are to comply with safety standards and minimise efficiency loss.

Do They Need an Annual Service?

Even though a heat pump will outlast a gas boiler and is easy to maintain, it’s still recommended to give them a yearly service. Despite air source heat pump service costs being more expensive than for boilers, this is an important step.

In most instances, an annual service is required to keep the manufacturer’s warranty active. Should you encounter any problems within this time frame, they will be covered. Despite the service cost of an air source heat pump, the efficiency isn’t dictated by this process. Where gas boilers become inefficient over time, heat pumps only become less efficient if they’re not cleaned properly.

Installers Vector

Are Heat Pumps More Susceptible to Wear?

Perhaps one reason why the cost of an air source heat pump service is higher is due to it being outside. Despite this, they are designed to withstand the elements and still outlive traditional fossil fuel boilers. The only thing to watch out for is how clean the unit is, and how the airways should be clear.

When you pay the service cost for an air source heat pump, you’re also paying for antifreeze to be topped up as needed. Most services will take place before the winter so you know your outdoor unit will be better protected. Extremely cold weather can wear out a heat pump more quickly as it has to work harder.

How Long Does a Warranty Last?

The warranty length for your heat pump will vary depending on the manufacturer. Some offer a 5 year warranty for parts, while others offer a 10 year warranty like you’d see with a boiler system. Unfortunately, the cost of an air source heat pump is not included in this warranty.

A heat pump is expected to last 15-25 years, but this depends on the model and how well it’s looked after. Once a warranty comes to an end, it’s important to pay an annual service cost for your air source heat pump. This will make sure it lasts as long as possible before needing to be replaced.

Ready for a Heat Pump?

With the promise of low energy bills and a reduction in your carbon footprint by 23 tonnes over 10 years, there’s a lot to live up to. Luckily, the technology can deliver. Even before you install an air source heat pump, servicing costs shouldn’t impact your decision.

Despite the hefty price of installation, as well as the bigger service cost for an air source heat pump, you can still benefit from a grant of £7,500 thanks to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme. This helps make them much more affordable for the average household. More importantly, it will save you money in the long run.

If you’re eager to start your journey into getting a low carbon heating system, why not see how much you’d pay for a heat pump by clicking on the button below?

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