Aira Heat Pump Review & Clean Energy Product Offering

Aira Heat Pump Review & Clean Energy Product Offering

Aira has just moved into the UK clean energy space having established firm roots in their home of Sweden. They’re all about delivering efficient, eco-friendly heating solutions, such as solar panels, insulation and air source heat pumps. They have big plans to roll out their offering and be nationwide by the end of 2024. 

Their recently launched Aira heat pump is set to progress the industry, combining super energy efficient heating with smart technology.

In this comprehensive review, we’ll discuss the features, benefits and costs of the Aira heat pump, plus plenty more to give you the full picture on what you can expect.

Who are Aira?

Aira are a clean energy-tech company that has recently expanded its operations to the UK. Founded in Sweden, Aira has built a strong reputation in its homelands, where heat pump installations of 60% are some of the highest in Europe.

Led by CEO Martin Lewerth, Aira has established a quick presence in the UK with a team of over 200 employees. The company currently operates from two hubs located in Sheffield and Crayford, serving customers in the South East and Yorkshire regions. 

Aira has ambitious plans to expand its reach, with a new hub opening soon in the North West to serve homeowners in Manchester, Liverpool and the surrounding areas. The company aims to achieve nationwide coverage by the end of 2024.

What do Aira offer?

Aira’s main line of business is to install heat pumps. Previously they installed other manufacturers’ heat pumps, such as the Vaillant aroTherm. But in March 2024 they announced their own brand new, swish-looking air source heat pump. 

As well as manufacturing and installing heat pumps, Aira want to provide the full remit of clean energy solutions for homes, including solar panels and insulation. The company’s mission is to accelerate the transition to clean energy in homes across the UK and beyond. They are also currently operating in Germany and Italy and plan to serve 5 million homes with renewable energy solutions in the next 10 years. 

Aira are looking towards the future and are investing in training the next generation of clean energy experts through its UK-based Aira Academies. These academies focus on retraining gas installers, providing them with the necessary skills to work with clean energy technologies. 

This is great to hear as a lack of qualified heat pump engineers in the UK is one of the problems preventing a greater number of installations.  

Are there different types of heat pumps?

To give a bit of heat pump background, there are two main types of air source heat pumps: 

  • Air-to-air
  • Air-to-water

These are in addition to the large and more costly ground source heat pumps

Aira specialises in air-to-water heat pumps, which are a little more versatile than their air-to-air cousins. Air-to-air heat pumps are mainly used for space heating by blowing hot air into a room. They are not compatible with traditional water-based radiator systems and each room requires its own unit for heating.

On the other hand, air-to-water heat pumps can heat both space and water. They extract heat from the outdoor air and transfer it to water, which can then be used for hot water supply, radiator heating and underfloor systems. Air-to-water heat pumps are the direct replacement for traditional gas-fired combi boilers.

Benefits of switching to an air-to-water heat pump

Switching to an air-to-water heat pump offers a number of benefits for homeowners looking to reduce their energy costs and carbon footprint – heat pumps are zero emissions at the point of use and can be run fully on green energy. 

One of the key advantages is that these highly efficient systems can provide both heating and hot water, making them an excellent replacement for traditional gas boilers. This is unlike an air-to-air system that just provides space heating and cooling. By using outside air to heat water, air-to-water heat pumps can deliver four times the amount of heat per unit of electricity consumed.

Air-to-water heat pumps can operate in cold weather, providing reliable heating even when outside temperatures drop to -20°C – as long as the house is well-insulated of course. Additionally, these systems have a long lifespan, often lasting 20 years or more without the need for too much maintenance.

There are some disadvantages to consider as well. Air-to-water heat pumps can be more challenging to install than air-to-air systems, and in some cases, existing radiators may need to be replaced to meet the heat pump’s requirements. You’ll also need to install a few bulky units inside and outside of your home, which take up space. 

The upfront costs of installation can be high, although there’s a government grant under the Boiler Upgrade Scheme that’s currently available to offset the majority of these expenses. 

Aira heat pump: Product details

The Aira Heat Pump is a state-of-the-art, air-to-water heat pump designed to provide efficient and reliable heating for homes. 

First up, the design is great. A lot of heat pumps look ugly, but the Aira features a sleek, modern appearance with curved edges. This is certainly different from the standard, off-white, air conditioning style units that many are accustomed to with heat pumps.

In total you need three units installed with the Aira heat pump:

  • Outdoor unit – This extracts the heat from the air and transfers it to the refrigerant
  • Indoor unit – This stores hot water for taps and showers
  • Buffer tank – This stores more hot water for radiators and underfloor heating

The size of the outdoor unit is important, as it’s this that generates the energy. The Aira unit is available in three sizes:

  • 6kW
  • 8kW
  • 12kW

This is a good range of heat pump sizes that will suit most homes across the UK. 

For comparison, Aira also installs Vaillant aroTHERM heat pumps, which are one of the best on the market for energy efficiency and performance. The Vaillant model offers a wider range of outdoor unit sizes, including 5kW, 7kW, 10kW, 12kW and 15kW. With Aira installing both types, it gives them greater flexibility.

Noise

Some people think heat pumps are noisy. But not this Aira model. The only noise it makes is a gentle running sound that’s not audible from inside or by your neighbours, even when they’re outside. 

Refrigerants

All heat pumps use refrigerants. The refrigerant, and its changing state under pressure, is where all heat exchange takes place. 

The Aira uses the R290 refrigerant, commonly known as propane. This is one of the most promising natural refrigerants, which is non-toxic and won’t deplete the ozone. 

R290 has a lower impact on the environment than the likes of other refrigerants made from synthetic hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and other F-gases. These are terrible for the atmosphere, with some HFCs having a global warming potential 3,000 times greater than carbon dioxide. 

App control

The Aira heat pump system is controlled via a user-friendly app and a stylish thermostat. Aira tend to use visual light cues to provide feedback over clunky displays. 

What is Aira Intelligence?

What sets Aira apart from other heat pumps is the smart technology that’s automatically baked in. They call this Aira Intelligence.

In short, Aira Intelligence allows the heat pump to continuously learn and adapt to the home’s individual routines and preferences. This helps it to optimise performance and efficiency over time.

Aira Intelligence uses advanced algorithms to analyse your heating patterns, including preferred shower times and how quickly your home heats up. By gathering and processing this data, the system can intelligently control hot water production and distribution, minimising energy waste and making sure you always have hot water when you need it. If you’ve got surprise guests popping up, there’s a hot water plus setting to account for that too. 

The intelligent software keeps track of your energy savings, providing insights into the amount of CO₂ emissions and money you’ve saved compared to using a traditional gas boiler. This information helps you understand the environmental and financial benefits of your Aira heat pump, reinforcing the value of your investment. It also has a smart weather mode and away mode for when you’re on holiday. 

Everything is available to control from the Aira app and user-friendly thermostat that’s wirelessly connected to the system. 

How efficient is the Aira heat pump?

Efficiency is one of the most important factors of heat pumps. Its main job is to extract and transfer heat from the outside air and pump it into your home. 

Just how efficiently is measured by its Seasonal Coefficient of Performance (SCOP). A SCOP rating above 3.5 is considered good, and the Aira heat pump comes with an impressive rating of 4.7. This means that for every unit of electricity consumed, the heat pump generates 4.7 units of heat. This makes the units extremely energy efficient.

The efficiency of the Aira Heat Pump is a testament to its advanced technology and design. In terms of performance, it’s said that the Aira heat pump results in a 25% reduction in energy costs and up to a 100% reduction in home CO₂ emissions when using green electricity. 

Pair the heat pump with a Solar and Battery storage system and you’ll be saving a small fortune on heating your home. 

How much does the Aira heat pump cost?

The cost of an Aira heat pump varies depending on the size of your home and your specific heating requirements. 

On the website, Aira offer a general guide for costs (these numbers already have the government grant taken off):

  • 1-2 bedroom property: £3,000 to £5,000
  • 3-4 bedroom property: £4,000 and £7,000
  • 5+ bedroom properties: £6,000 to £9,000

They also offer an online quote tool but it’s not the most comprehensive and it doesn’t actually give you a quote. It asks you for your number of bedrooms, type of home and if you’ve got solar panels, then gives you an estimate and potential cost savings over a 20 year period, not an actual quote or price indication. 

To get a quote you have to enter contact details to receive a no-strings call and then arrange a free home assessment. To be fair, this is the only accurate way to provide a heat pump quote as every property is so different.

To give you an idea and a real life example, one person who had an assessment received a quote of £6,000 to install a 6kW heat pump in a three bedroom, three story, new build property built in 2023. 

Aira want to make heat pumps more accessible. As part of this plan, they offer a no up-front cost package. Instead, you can repay the costs via monthly repayments. It’s unclear if there are any additional costs or interest associated with the repayment package.

A bonus is Aira’s ‘all inclusive’ package. Any quote includes:

  • The design and installation of your system
  • Heat pump and water pump system
  • Removal and recycling of your old boiler
  • Application support for the £7,500 government grant (deducted from your invoice) 

On this last point, the costs of heat pumps have been brought down by the UK government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme. This offers eligible homes in England and Wales a £7,500 grant to help cover the cost of replacing an old gas or oil boiler with a clean energy heat pump. In Scotland, this is up to £9,000. 

Additionally, until 31st March 2027, clean energy home improvements, like installing a heat pump, solar panels and insulation, are exempt from VAT. In effect, this provides a further 20% reduction in the overall cost.

On top of this are the Mortgage companies and banks who now look to be offering incentivised discounts on borrowing to make your house more energy efficient. Check out Go2 Green Finance for more information on this. 

Does Aira heat pump come with a guarantee?

Yes, the Aira heat pump comes with an excellent and comprehensive guarantee to provide peace of mind for customers. In fact, it couldn’t be much better. 

Under their ‘Comfort Guarantee’, Aira make a number of important promises that will stick to for 15 years: 

  • Performance Guarantee – Ensures that your heat pump will maintain a temperature between 18°C and 22°C all year round. If the system fails to meet this standard, Aira will send a technician to resolve the issue at no additional cost.
  • Warranty – If you have any issues with the functioning of your heat pump, Aira will come and fix it for no extra costs, not even labour costs.

Making these guarantees for 15 years, really does set a new standard in the industry and it will be interesting to see how this plays out in real terms over the next few years and decades.

For customers who go for a Vaillant heat pump through Aira, the company offers the same guarantees, but over 10 years rather than 15. I think that’s fair enough too and a good guarantee. 

What’s the installation process like with Aira?

The installation process with Aira is designed to be hassle-free and efficient. Here’s a quick run-down of what you can expect:

  • Free home energy assessment – A Clean Energy Expert from Aira will assess your home’s energy performance, recommend improvements and create an individual heat pump design tailored to the needs of your home.
  • Fixed quote – You’ll receive a locked-in quote. If additional radiator upgrades or a larger heat pump are required, Aira won’t increase the price. However, if fewer changes or a smaller heat pump are needed, they’ll reduce the quote accordingly.
  • Schedule installation – Once you’ve approved the quote, Aira will schedule your installation, aiming to have it completed within 30 days.
  • Heat pump installation – Your old heating system will be replaced with a new indoor and outdoor heat pump unit and a buffer tank. The entire process typically takes no more than a few days.
  • Grant application – Aira will handle the government grant application on your behalf, deducting the amount from your invoice. 
  • Old boiler removal and recycling – Aira will safely disconnect, remove and recycle your old boiler.

Will I need to upgrade my radiators?

If you do decide to switch from your old boiler to a heat pump, you may be wondering if your existing radiators will be compatible or if they’ll need an upgrade. 

The answer depends on the size and age of your current radiators.

For optimal efficiency, heat pumps work best with radiators that have a larger surface area. This is because they work on lower water flow temperatures compared to gas boilers. Having a larger surface area means a greater amount of water (at a lower temperature) can be distributed. The lower flow temperature helps keep your energy bills down while still maintaining a comfortable temperature throughout your home.

If your radiators are older or smaller, Aira’s Clean Energy Expert will assess them during the initial home survey and advise you if any upgrades are necessary. 

Whilst we’re on radiators, have a read of this article on heat pumps vs electric radiators

Other clean tech products from Aira

Alongside heat pumps, Aira have added to other green energy solutions to their offering: solar panels and insulation. Together these three form the holy trinity of creating an eco-friendly and energy-efficient home. 

Solar Panels

Harnessing clean, renewable energy from the sun, solar panels are a smart addition to any home. When combined with a heat pump and battery storage, the energy savings potential is even greater. 

By generating your own electricity, you can reduce your reliance on the grid and lower your energy bills. With a lifespan of 30-40 years, solar panels are a long-term investment in your home’s sustainability.

It’s important to note that solar panels can offset the energy consumption of a heat pump, but it’s not realistic to expect them to power the heat pump entirely throughout the year. Heat pumps do require a lot of energy to run and the number of panels required for complete self-sufficiency would be substantial. However, any amount of solar energy generated will contribute to reducing your overall energy costs and carbon emissions.

To bring a solar panel offering to the UK, Aira has partnered with All Seasons Energy, an MCS and HIES accredited company based in Sheffield. In fact, the Aira UK CEO Daniel Mats Särefjord was added as an All Seasons Energy director in 2023, so I think it’s more than just a partnership. All Seasons Energy also install heat pumps as well as EV chargers. 

Home Insulation

Proper insulation in your loft and walls is crucial for keeping the heat generated by your heat pump inside your home. It’s clear that heat pumps require excellent levels of insulation to operate effectively and efficiently. So this is a smart addition into the offering from Aira.

Loft insulation alone can prevent up to 40% of heat from escaping through your roof, whilst cavity wall insulation can retain another 35%. 

Like with the solar panels, Aira has joined forces with All Seasons Energy to provide eco-friendly insulation solutions in the UK. Made from 100% recyclable materials such as recycled plastic, Aira’s insulation products are both sustainable and effective.

About the author 

Ben Hardman

Ben is a professional writer and the creator of sustainable living website TinyEco.com.
It's here where he helps people to reduce their environmental impact through simple, everyday choices. Away from the laptop, Ben loves spending time in the natural environment with his young family and Murphy the cocker spaniel.

Experience:
First Class BSc Biology degree (environmental and climate change focus)
Six years of working and writing in the environmental sector, including two years working at an international sustainability consultancy
Written for Ethical Consumer magazine, My Mother Tree, Unsustainable Magazine, Happy Eco News, Emission Index, PeakDistrict.org
Commented in The Independent, The Guardian, GreenMatch. Also featured on Radio 1's environmental special 'Minute of Me'

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