Air Source Heat pumps and how the RHI works

Ever since the Solar Feed-in-Tariff expired, the government has had to find new ways of incentivising everyday households to take up renewable means of heating and fuelling their home. With the increase in the number of homes demanding a large amount of energy the government took steps to ensure that houses are a little more self-sustained by installing an air source heat pump.

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This isn’t always easy, as many people have qualms about the cost of installation of environmental energy sources, such as solar panels.

However, since the Feed-in-Tariff’s expiration, the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has happily continued. This has lead to a surprising increase in other, less obvious means of heating homes, however.

What is the RHI?

To understand why so many people are jumping on unconventional means of heating their homes, it helps to really understand what the Renewable Heat Incentive is.

This is a government scheme which was devised to encourage households to adopt more modern and progressive heating technologies.

In a similar fashion to the Feed-in-Tariff, this has once again been done with financial incentives, and rather unbelievably, is actually the first of this nature in the whole world.

The government has cited meeting green targets as its main reason for pushing this incentive.

Air Source Heat Pump

While it may have succeeded the Feed-in-Tariff in its continuation, it was actually founded in 2014. It gives financial support to those who use renewable methods of heating their homes.

It aims to specifically help those who are not connected to the gas supply, but this is by now means the exclusive purpose of it. If you are curious to know if you qualify or not, do check Ofgem’s website to see who can qualify for this scheme.

Why air source heat pumps?

The first distinction to make is the difference between a ground source heat pump and an air source heat pump. The latter takes heat from outside air, which is likened to the way in which a fridge pulls out the heat from its inside.

Ground source heat pumps do exactly as you might expect, and pull their heat source from the ground, and is used to heat your radiators and hot water.

Incredibly, an air source heat pump can generate heat even if the temperature is incredibly low – even at a minimum of -15° C. As with ground source pumps, they are used to heat your radiators and water supply, and so they are an incredibly useful eco-solution to cutting down on central heating bills.

These pumps are not entirely carbon-neutral, however, as they do actually require some electricity to function. But because the source they extract from is completely natural and is being constantly renewed, they are inevitably far less damaging to the environment than gas or pure electricity.

You will need to make an application to Ofgem if you wish to benefit from the RHI scheme. If you are successful, you can anticipate that the first payment will come to you just three months after your application. These payments will be based on the tariff rate that was used when you applied.

If you want to heat your home in a way that is far more environmentally-friendly, then air source heat pumps could be beneficial in a number of ways. You could not only save on your heating bills but also benefit from the RHI scheme.