About air source heating – your questions answered

  • What is air source heating? How does it work?

    Air source heat pumps capture heat from the outside air to heat your home and hot water. Heat from the outside air is absorbed into a fluid. This fluid is then passed through a heat exchanger into the heat pump. The pump raises the temperature and then transforms that heat into hot water. The Manchester weather is no problem for them – they can still extract heat when air temperatures outside are as low as -15°C!

  • Why are air source heat pumps better for the environment?

    The pumps are powered by electricity, but they produce much more heat for your home than the amount of electricity they need to run. And as they capture heat that is already in the environment, they don’t burn any fuel. This makes them much more efficient and environmentally friendly than traditional gas systems.

  • How can air source heat pumps save me money?

    Even though electricity is more expensive than gas at the moment, the air source heat pump is much more efficient, so you use less energy to heat your home.

    Did you know that a gas boiler loses a lot of energy up the flue – about 30%. This means only about 70% of the energy it creates is heating your home.

    For every 1,000 kWh of gas produced – only 700 kWh is used to heat your home.

    An air source heat pump creates much more energy than it uses to power itself – and this is all turned into heat for your home.

    For every 1,000 kWh of electricity used to power the system – 3,500 kWh is created to heat your home.

    This means that an air source heat pump is almost five times more efficient than a gas boiler!

    According to Ofgem, the energy regulator, the average household (2.4 people) uses 2,900 kWh of electricity and 12,000 kWh of gas per year.

    Based on October 2022 prices, changing to an air source heat pump and disconnecting the gas supply could save households hundreds of pounds.

    Did you know?

    Prepayment customers could save £517.79 per year and Direct debit customers could save £409.71 per year.

    And if you also take advantage of the Gas Cooker Replacement Scheme, then you will save over £100 per year by not paying the gas standing charge.

    Download our factsheet for more information about why an air source heat pump is cheaper than a gas boiler.

  • The Gas Cooker Replacement Scheme – what’s that?

    Southway is offering to replace tenants’ gas cooker with an electric cooker. This will save you over £100 every year by not paying the gas standing charge. We will also collect your old cooker and connect up your new one. 


  • Will I keep my radiators? Or will I need underfloor heating?

    The system will continue to use radiators, but we will change your existing old ones for more efficient units. This will happen at the same time that the air source heat pump is installed.

  • Will it keep my home warm enough – and will I have enough hot water?

    Yes, it will. The system works differently to a gas boiler. It is always active, but works at a lower temperature. The system running constantly at a lower temperature is more efficient than a start-stop, heat-cool system. The hot water generated is stored in a tank inside your property. The tank is big enough to provide more than enough hot water for normal use. However, if you need more hot water then you can use the ‘booster system’ – although this will use additional electricity.

  • Is it noisy?

    The pump does make some noise, but it is quite low. It is a lot less noisy than a working gas central heating system, and it should make no more noise than a fridge if it is operating properly.

    All air source heat pumps will be fixed on the outside wall, and will be positioned away from windows, wherever possible. Therefore, it is unlikely the pump will be heard inside properties. Outside, it may be possible to hear the fan from about two metres away. However, noise levels are linked to the outside temperature – the warmer it is outside, the quieter the pump will be as it doesn’t need to work as hard. This means tenants will still be able to enjoy relaxing in their gardens in the summer in peace!

  • When will the work start and how long will it take?

    We estimate that it will take about four days to fit the system in each property. However, we should only be inside each property for two days. We will work closely with tenants to minimise disruption as far as possible, and no-one will be left without heating or hot water overnight.

  • What support is there for tenants while the work is taking place?

    A specially trained team are available now to help advise and support tenants every step of the way. They can help with any questions and will be happy to demonstrate how the system works at the Project Hub on Brookstone Close – that has been heated by an air source heat pump since July 2022!

    Once the system has been installed, the team will make sure tenants understand how it works and how to get the most out of it.

  • Why has Arrowfield been chosen for this new heating system?

    Many of the heating systems in the homes on the Arrowfield estate are old and need replacing. The government is banning gas boilers in new properties in 2025, so replacing like for like doesn’t make sense,

    Replacing old gas boilers with air source heat pumps, as well as other energy saving improvements could reduce households’ carbon footprint by as much as 50%. Arrowfield is one of Southway’s biggest neighbourhoods, therefore, making these changes will make a significant impact on Southway achieving its zero-carbon ambitions.

  • I’m a Southway tenant, but I don’t live on Arrowfield – can I get an air source heat pump?

    At the moment the Low Carbon Living Project is just taking place on the Arrowfield estate. However, if the project is successful, it will pave the way for other neighbourhoods to be next.

  • What else can I do to reduce my carbon footprint and make my energy bill as low as possible?

    The Southway Energy Buddies are available to offer advice on anything to do with keeping your home warm. Find more about the Energy Buddies.


Want to know more?  

If you have a question that hasn’t been answered, contact Abdi and Kevin from the Project Team.


Call us on 0161 448 4200

Email us at zerocarbon@southwayhousing.co.uk

Keep up to date with the latest information and announcements by following us on Facebook

Visit us at Project Hub, 1 Brookstone Close, M21 7UH (open 10-5pm. Monday to Friday)