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Ground source heat pumps explained

Ground source heat pump costs and savings

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Ground source heat pump costs and savings

We reveal how much you should expect to pay for a ground source heat pump, and how much it could save you on your heating bills.

Installing a ground source heat pump can cost as much as £18,000, so you'll want to think carefully about how much you could possibly save on your energy bills.

Read on to find out if the savings you could make from a ground source heat pump are enough to justify the cost.

Ground source heat pump costs

Ground source heat pumps (GSHP) differ in size and complexity, so pinpointing a typical cost is tricky. The Energy Saving Trust (EST) estimates it can cost between £10,000 and £18,000 to install one in your home. 

The payback period (the time it takes for the initial cost of the system to be recouped in energy savings) is also difficult to predict. 

This is because it depends on how efficiently your system works, the type of system you're replacing, whether you qualify for Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments, how well-insulated your home is, how efficiently you use the system's controls and how you'll be using the heat generated from the pump. 

The EST estimates that, depending on what system you're replacing, an average performing ground source heat pump could save you per year:

  • Old oil-fired heating (non-condensing) - between £390 and £425
  • Old gas-fired heating (non-condensing) - between £555 and £600
  • Old electric heating (storage heaters) - between £835 and £930
  • Old LPG-fired heating (non-condensing) - between £1,105 and £1,200.

This is based on an average four-bedroom detached home, so how much you'd save would depend on the type of home you have and the energy-saving measures you have in place. 

Financial help is also available, courtesy of the government RHI scheme. The EST estimates the RHI scheme could provide an additional £2,380 to £2,585 a year for properties in England, Scotland and Wales. 

But if you’re replacing a newer A-rated oil boiler heating system, a ground source heat pump could actually add £50 to £55 to your annual bill in comparison.

To find out more, go to Renewable Heat Incentive.

What you need to know about ground source heat pumps 

Underfloor heating is best suited to ground floor heat pumps. It requires lower temperatures than radiators and the heat produced by a ground source heat pump is at a lower temperature than other forms of heating. 

Ground source heat pumps are generally better suited to new-build properties than retrofitting to an existing home. This is because costs could be reduced if the heat pump is included as part of the building's specification, rather than having to fit underfloor heating later on. 

If radiators are used, they should be properly sized. 

If you want to retrofit an existing home with a ground source heat pump, remember that payments from the RHI can help with offsetting the cost of replacing an old heating system.

A well-insulated house is essential to make the most of the heat generated by your ground source heat pump. Otherwise the heat escapes more easily.

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Running costs can be higher if you're also using the system for your hot water supply, and you may require a supplementary electric immersion heater to keep up with your heating needs. Find out more in our dedicated guide to electric immersion heaters.

The ground loop element should need little maintenance once it's in place. They usually come with warranties of two or three years, but should operate for 20 years or more.

Whether or not you decide to get a ground source heat pump, it's worth making sure you're on the best energy deal for you. Use our free switching service, Which? Switch, to compare gas and electricity prices.