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6 October 2020

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.
Heating bill 451053
TM
Tom Morgan

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.

How much does a ground source heat pump cost?

Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) 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 the following per year:

Financial help is also available, courtesy of the government RHI scheme. The EST estimates the RHI scheme could provide an additional £2,335 to £2,750 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 £30 to £35 to your annual bill in comparison. To find out more, see our guide on the Renewable Heat Incentive.

Should I buy one? 

Ground floor heat pumps work best with underfloor heating, which requires lower temperatures than radiators. The heat produced by a ground source heat pump is at a lower temperature than other forms of heating.

Our underfloor heating guide can help you to decide if it's right for your home.

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 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 making 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 Which? Switch, to compare gas and electricity prices.