Can I install an air-to-water heat pump myself?

Can I install an air-to-water heat pump myself?

The air-water heat pump is a heating device that works with renewable energy. Although it consumes little energy, its installation cost is generally quite high. Therefore, it may seem attractive to install your own heat pump. But can you really install an air-to-water heat pump yourself? And is it a good idea? Let's take a look at the subject.

Can I install my own heat pump?

When it comes to installing a heat pump (HP), you may wonder who to trust with the installation of such a heating device.

It is important to know that the price of a heat pump including installation can exceed 10 000 euros. It is therefore tempting to install a heat pump yourself in order to save a few thousand euros on installation. But is this really feasible?

Is it possible to install my heat pump?

In fact, installing your own heating system without calling on the services of a heat pump installer is theoretically possible... but that doesn't mean it's easy ! The installation of a heat pump requires skills in plumbing, but also in masonry and electricity.

A heat pump system is quite complex by nature. Doing the installation yourself should therefore be reserved for very experienced handymen (or even professionals!).

If the installation of an air-to-air heat pump is already a challenge, the air-to-water heat pump is even more complex (especially in new buildings).

The advantage of an air-to-water heat pump is that it can replace the existing hydraulic heating network. You can therefore "just" replace the boiler, without having to redo the entire hydraulic circuit.

However, this is a task that we advise you to entrust to a specialized heating engineer.

To know: If you can install an air-to-water or air-to-air heat pump yourself, it is pointless to imagine installing a geothermal or aquathermal heat pump without calling on experts. And for good reason, such installations require complex preliminary studies and drilling work.

Why would I still need a professional?

However, it should be noted here that heat pumps use refrigerants (the same refrigerants used in air conditioners and refrigerators).

Now, the handling of refrigerants must absolutely be entrusted to an authorized professional. They are indeed very dangerous gases, for the Man as for the environment.

The commissioning of an air-to-water heat pump, as well as its twice-yearly maintenance, must therefore be entrusted to specialist heating engineers.

You will never be able to carry out the entire commissioning of a heat pump alone.

How to install an air-to-water heat pump?

Air-to-water heat pumps are clearly not heating systems designed to be installed by individuals. Therefore, it is imperative that you consult your heat pump's manual in detail and learn about all the steps involved in installing a heat pump beforehand.

We propose here some general information, which can give you a global idea of the different steps of installation of an air-water heat pump.

Installation of the indoor unit

An air-water heat pump is composed of an indoor unit, which will replace the boiler, and an outdoor unit. The outdoor unit will capture the energy present in the air, to reconstitute it indoors, using for that a circuit of refrigerants.

This is what allows the air-water heat pump to consume significantly less energy than an electric heater.

The indoor unit of a heat pump must be connected to both :

  • To the central heating system,
  • And to the outdoor unit.

As a general rule, the heat pump is installed next to or in replacement of your boiler, since it must be connected to the central heating circuit.

We assume here that you are working on a renovation, on an existing hydraulic heating system. In new construction, you would obviously have to create the hydraulic heating system, which would require even more complex skills.

Installation of the outdoor unit

For obvious reasons, the outdoor unit should be located as close as possible to the indoor unit, so as to limit the amount of trenching and wiring required for its use.

The installation of the outdoor unit will require various works:

  • The bracket must be installed in the intended location. Consult the instructions to determine the ideal installation conditions (wind exposure, distance from the indoor unit, etc.). The unit is usually placed on a terrace or in the garden.
  • The outdoor unit must, of course, be connected to the indoor unit. It is therefore necessary to create a small opening in the front to connect the unit to the rest of the installation (electrical cables and refrigerants). You should also provide a cable duct to hide the cables.
  • The unit must be mounted on its base, which may require several people (this unit is quite heavy).

Should I install my air-water heat pump myself?

As you can see, the installation of an air-to-water heat pump is particularly complex, especially since a specialized installer must systematically commission it.

Overall, we do not advise a private individual to do without an installer. And for good reason, doing the work yourself exposes you to many worries:

  • A poorly sized heat pump will not be very efficient. The expertise of a professional can help you choose the right model or the right power for a heat pump adapted to your home.
  • From a hydraulic and electrical point of view, doing the work yourself exposes you to greater risks of breakdowns or malfunctions.
  • The manufacturer's warranty may not apply to a self-installation. In case of failure or problem, you have no insurance.
  • Similarly, your own insurance may refuse to follow you if your heating system was installed without a professional.

In other words, the savings made on the installation could quickly be lost, if a defect damages your heater, or even your home!

Installation of a heat pump and state aid

Whether in Switzerland, Belgium or France, governments tend to finance certain energy renovation works.

Thus, there are different State or local government aid for the installation of a heat pump. Very often, replacing a gas or oil boiler with an air-water heat pump allows you to receive several thousand euros in aid. We invite you to get in touch with your municipality or the authorized organizations to know the aids which can apply to your country and your region.

One thing is certain: Installing a heat pump yourself does not qualify for government assistance. The gain made on the installation could therefore in reality be lost, since it prevents you from receiving aid.

It would be a pity to install the heat pump yourself, when the installation costs (and even some of the purchase costs) could be financed by grants!

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