Air pumps used to heat council houses in Taunton trial

A new trial to heat council houses with air is being carried out in Somerset.

It is being run by Taunton Deane Borough Council which is using air source heat pumps to heat four homes.

Fresh air contains low-grade energy and the pumps which are attached to the side of the house take in that air and convert it to high-grade energy which in turn generates heat.

The council is trialling the pumps in homes currently using electric storage heaters.

The cost to the council of installing the pumps at each home is comparable to fitting a new gas supply, but is cheaper for tenants who have previously been paying electrical fuel bills.

Funding in place

For every 1kwH of energy that the pumps take in, they output it at 3 to 4kwH, making them more energy efficient than an electric storage heater.

Executive councillor for housing services Jean Adkins described the initiative as "the way forward".

"We're hoping the system will prove very economical for our tenants," she said.

If the trial, which is due to run until the winter is successful, the council has funding in place to install the pumps in 40 other homes.

The environmentally-friendly air source pumps have previously been trialled by councils around the UK, such as West Lothian and South Norfolk, where CO2 emissions were found to be cut by nearly 50%.

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