Air Source Heat Pumps - Are They Better Than Traditional Boilers?

New technology has given homeowners more options for heating their homes. Moving away from traditional fossil fuel boilers, air source heat pumps are increasingly popular for their money-saving and environmentally friendly advantages.

If you are considering which heating system to install in your new home or are looking for your existing home’s next upgrade, this article will provide all the information you need to make the best choices.

What Is An Air Source Heat Pump?

Heat pumps are a renewable heating system that has taken off in recent years. They have become a massive hit with eco-conscious homeowners looking to reduce their carbon footprint by switching their traditional fossil fuel boilers for a more sustainable alternative.

Ireland’s residential central heating is responsible for 48% of all annual carbon emissions, meaning that gas and oil boilers have a tremendously negative impact on our environment. The damage is caused by burning fossil fuels, which emit dangerous CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.

Air source heat pumps offer an innovative alternative, using electricity to transfer heat from the air outside to water that runs through your central heating. This system eliminates the process of combustion, drawing heat from renewable sources outside the home.

Air source heat pumps are a much more efficient system. The amount of heat they produce is higher than the energy they consume to operate, giving them excellent efficiency ratings of around 300-400%.

If you want to invest in renewable heating technology for your home, you can explore the best air source heat pumps on GreenMatch.

Types Of Air Source Heat Pumps

There are two types of air source heat pumps that you can install in your home, air-to-air heat pumps and air-to-water heat pumps.

Air-to-water heat pumps transfer heat from the air outside through a heat exchanger and into a hot water cylinder, where it is circulated to radiators and faucets through pipes in your home. They are the best option for large houses with more than one bedroom and provide both heating and hot water for your home.

Air-to-air heat pumps work very differently. They are essentially air conditioning units, transferring heat from outdoors to a unit inside the home that blows out hot, or cold, air. These units are best suited to open-plan style homes with limited rooms to heat.

If you install an air-to-air heat pump in a large house with multiple bedrooms, the warm air would dissipate quickly, and it would fail to heat your home unless you install multiple units at an added cost.

An air-to-air heat pump typically costs between €3,500 to €12,500, with the running costs amounting to €400 - €1200 per year. On the other hand, air-to-water heat pumps can cost between €3,000 - €9,000, depending on the brand you select, the overall power rating, and any special features.

While the upfront cost of air-to-water pumps may seem cheaper than air-to-air heat pumps, they often require additional hardware, such as a specialised hot water cylinder, pipes, and connectors. This can bump the total cost to around €5,500 - €12,000.

While air-to-water heat pumps come with extra costs, they are incredibly efficient and can help you save money on utility bills in the long run.

Air Source Heat Pump And Boiler Comparison

Choosing the right method of heating is essential. Your home is a sanctuary and a place where you want to feel the most comfortable. The perfect heating system can bring peace and happiness to your life, but there are many factors to consider when choosing the best one.

The vast majority of Ireland’s residents have gas central heating, burning natural gas to produce heat that is transferred through pipes in your home. If you already own a gas boiler and want to upgrade your system, it may be easiest and most affordable to stick with the same type of boiler.

However, if you are looking to cut down your carbon emissions and invest in a more efficient heating solution that can save you money in the long term, an air source heat pump is an excellent choice.

We will break down the main differences between air source heat pumps and traditional boilers, giving you clear insight into which would best suit your home and its specific heating requirements.


Air-to-water heat pumps undoubtedly have the upper hand regarding efficiency ratings compared to boilers. Air source heat pumps use electricity to transfer heat from outside to inside the home - and it does so with incredible efficiency. While many modern gas boilers have increased efficiency ratings, they typically don’t reach above 94%.

On the other hand, air source heat pumps have an impressive efficiency rating of around 300- 400%. This means that air source heat pumps are also more cost-effective to run, using less energy to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.


If you want to upgrade your boiler on a budget, air source heat pumps are not the way to go. The upfront costs of heat pumps can be very expensive and are often complex to install. In order for your heat pump to run at optimal efficiency, you may also need to pay for various home improvements, such as insulation.

While prices for boilers depend on the type you get (combi, system, or regular), you can purchase a complete system for anywhere between €1,100 to €4,000. These prices are far lower than air source heat pumps.

Environmental Impact

Air source heat pumps are designed to help households reduce their carbon footprint by limiting the amount of greenhouse gases they produce. Air source heat pumps can also achieve zero emissions if they are powered by a renewable source of electricity, such as solar power.

While installing heat pumps doesn’t completely eliminate your carbon emissions (unless powered by clean electricity), they are a significant improvement from fossil fuel boilers. Gas and oil boilers release damaging greenhouse gas emissions every time you fire them up, causing irreparable harm to our environment.

The best choice can differ depending on each person’s situation, so be sure to consider the heating requirements of your home, your budget, and your environmental impact when making your decision.