Self-build homeowners enjoy winter of comfort with Baxi Air Source Heat Pump

Having moved into their self-build Suffolk home in December, Emma and Jonathan Hayes have spent five months living with a Baxi Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP). The couple have given their account of what life has been like with a heat pump and the benefits of the solution for their home.


The 2,600 sq ft three-bedroom house required a heating and hot water system capable of operating off-grid while also maximising energy efficiency. A local heat pump installer, Luke Nichols from Renew East, worked closely with heating and hot water specialist Baxi to fit one of its latest ASHP solutions.


A sustainable alternative to gas


As with any property build, the decision around the heat source was key, not least due to the house being off the mains gas network. A new self-build property, it has been meticulously designed and built to be as well insulated and energy efficient as possible – the perfect conditions for a heat pump.


As an experienced heating engineer, Luke knew he needed to select a solution that would deliver high comfort levels while maximising energy efficiency and carbon-saving capabilities. After carrying out detailed heat loss calculations on the property, Luke recommended the Baxi HP-40 11kW ASHP with a 250-litre hot water cylinder. This solution feeds the underfloor heating, which can emit 11kW of heat even at temperatures as low as -5°C.


Jonathan said: “Discussing our options with Renew East, a heat pump seemed the obvious sustainable choice for heating and hot water in the type of home we were building. And it’s been great! Since moving in five months ago, we’ve found it to be really effective - even in the cold winter months.”


Comfortable heat

Heat pumps are at their most efficient operating at lower temperatures than traditional gas boilers. For this reason, they work particularly well with underfloor heating which operates at low flow temperatures. It’s a highly efficient system that effectively ensures high comfort levels throughout the property.


The heat pump is connected to Baxi’s uSense smart room thermostat, giving Jonathan and Emma have complete control over the temperature in their home through the smartphone app. This provides the optimal space heating from low flow temperature solutions, evenly heating rooms as required throughout the day while the insulation retains the heat.


Emma said: “A heat pump with underfloor heating has given us a more consistent type of space heating to previous properties we’ve owned with gas boilers. There’s a really good distribution of heat throughout the house – no more hot spots or draughty areas – and the temperature has never really dropped below a comfortable 18°C. Our programmed heat schedule means we are always comfortable and don’t even notice it is on.”


No noise complaints

Misplaced concerns around noise levels from the outdoor unit of a heat pump can be a reason why some homeowners are reluctant to explore the solution. Having lived with the Baxi ASHP system through a cold winter, however, the Hayes family are pleasantly surprised to find that this is not an issue in their home.


Emma said: “We were a bit concerned that noise would be an issue, but in fact we hardly notice it’s on, even in the winter months. It’s actually quieter than the boiler in our previous house!”


Running costs

Another potential barrier for homeowners looking to introduce a heat pump into their home, be it a new self-build or a retrofit installation, is the running cost. The Hayes home is able to mitigate any risk of high energy costs through its thermal efficiency. Reducing heat loss as much as possible through insulation and air tightness to suit the low flow temperature of the heat pump solutions has meant that electricity consumption in the property has been kept to a minimum.


Jonathan said: “It’s difficult to do a direct comparison of the energy costs of heating our new home and our old house, because the properties are different sizes and we need to exclude the cost of charging our electric car. But we’re confident that the monthly costs measure up well. The thermal efficiency of our home means the heating only really comes on when the outdoor temperature falls below 10°C. Providing the optimal conditions for a heat pump is key to achieving this, but with the right design and heat loss calculations, we have been able to heat our home very cost-effectively.”


As net-zero homes continue to be built across the UK in line with government targets and the Future Homes Standard, environmentally friendly heat pumps are becoming a popular alternative to traditional gas boilers. A suitably designed, installed and commissioned ASHP system will operate seamlessly for its occupants both in retrofit and new build homes – as the Hayes house clearly demonstrates.

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