What is a Ground Source Heat Pump?

Ground Source Heat Pumps:
heat from the ground

Ground Source Heat Pump Installation

Ground Source Heat Pumps

Ground Source Heat Pumps extract heat from the ground to warm up your home. A GSHP can be used for heating radiators or underfloor heating or for your domestic hot water system.

Ground source heat pump systems are made up of a ground loop (a network of water pipes buried underground) and a heat pump at ground level. A mixture of water and anti-freeze is pumped around the ground loop and absorbs the naturally occurring heat stored in the ground. 

The water mixture is compressed and goes through a heat exchanger, which extracts the heat and transfers it to the heat pump. The heat is then transferred to your home heating system.

ground source heat pumps installation

Installing a Ground Source Heat Pump

It is important that you seek professional advice from a MSC accredited installer when designing / installing any sort of renewable energy system. To see if your property is suitable for a ground source heat pump installation, please feel free to take our ‘GSHP Reality Check’.

Pros of Ground Source Heat Pumps

The Benefits of A Ground Source Heat Pump Installation

heat pump installer west midlands

Ground Source Heat Pumps save money. Heat pumps are much cheaper to run than direct electric heating systems. GSHPs are cheaper to run than oil boilers and can be cheaper than running gas boilers (depending on the homes thermal properties)

Heat Pump Grants

Once they are fitted, they require little to no maintenance. If you compare this to Biomass Boilers, the upkeep and maintenance of an Ground Source Heat Pump is minimal.

You may be eligible to receive grant funding through The Boiler Upgrade Scheme, which opens in April 2022. This scheme replaces the current RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) with a £7000 grant to cover some of the costs of a new Ground Source Heat Pump installation.

Ground Source Heat Pumps require less space than Biomass systems. The main heating elements are in the ground and unlike Biomass systems, they do not require fuel deliveries. GSHPs require less maintenance than combustion based heating systems. They also have a longer life than combustion boilers. The ground heat exchanger element of a ground source heat pump installation has a design life of over 100 years

Heat pumps save carbon emissions. Unlike burning oil, gas, LPG or biomass, a heat pump produces no carbon emissions on site (and no carbon emissions at all, if a renewable source of electricity is used to power them such as Solar PV.

Low Carbon Heating

Ground Source Heat Pumps are often very quiet and can be used for cooling during the summer as well as heat during the winter.

Cons of Ground Source Heat Pumps

Disadvantages of Ground Source Heat Pump

Ground Air Source Heat Pumps are not always the right solution for your property. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration including the property type, current EPC rating and current heating methods. If you are unsure on whether an GSHP is right for you, please check out our 'Reality Checklist'.

GSHPs are a big capital outlay. They also require intrusive work outside in your garden due to the bore holes or ground that needs moving order to put in the pipework

Ground Source Heating

How Do Ground Source Heat Pumps Work?

Ground source heat pumps work by absorbing heat from the ground and transferring the heat into buildings – to heat the buildings without burning fossil fuels. A ground source heat pump absorbs heat from the ground – by circulating water though piping in the ground – and transfers the heat into the building by circulating hot water though radiators, or underfloor piping circuits

The heat pump increases the temperature it receives from the ground before circulating it into the house. It does this by compressing refrigerant gases. When a large volume of gas is compressed into a small space the heat energy in the gas becomes concentrated – the gas becomes very hot. The heat pump uses a heat exchanger to transfer that heat to the heating circuit in the building.

Ground Source Heat Pump Costs

The cost of installing an GSHP really does depend on a number of factors including the size of your property, type of system and additional work required (underfloor heating etc)

The installation phase and start with the high capital cost — likely to be £8,000 to £10,000 for a typical 3 or 4 bedroom house. There also will likely be disruption to your garden to install both a horizontal or vertical ground arrays. You also need to consider the fact you may need to upgrade your home’s insulation.

Even if you have a wet radiator system already, you may need to upgrade the size of the radiators to accommodate the low flow temperatures of a heat pump system to ensure it runs efficiently

Ground Source Heat Pumps

Ground Source Heat Pump Running Costs

How Much Do Ground Source Heat Pumps Cost To Run?

Depending on the heating system being replaced, it’s highly likely that ground source heat pump running costs will be lower. A ground source heat pump heats your home using a free renewable source of energy – underground heat. To extract that heat the heat pump needs to be powered by electricity. if you’re paying 14.4p/kWh of electricity, each thermal kWh of heat produced by a heat pump with a SCoP of 4 will cost 3.6p/kWh

Ground & Air Source Heat Running Costs

ASHP15.0p/kWh300% efficient 5.0p/kWh
Mains Gas4.3p/kWh89% efficient 4.8p/kWh
Oil4.9p/kWh91.6% efficient 5.3p/kWh
LPG5.8p/kWh89% efficient 6.6p/kWh
Electric15.0p/kWh100% efficient 15.0p/kWh
Logs8.3p/kWh80% efficient 10.4p/kWh
Coal6.3p/kWh80% efficient 7.9p/kWh
Wood Pellet5.5p/kWh90% efficient 6.1p/kWh

A Reality Check For GSHPs

Is A Ground Source Heat Pump Right For My Property?

Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP’s) have had a bad press recently, largely stoked up by a lack of understanding of the technology and some unfortunate homeowner experiences. Two key factors are vital to ensuring they work effectively. Firstly, homeowners need to maximise the amount of insulation in their lofts and cavity walls before investing in heat pump technology. An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a good way of prioritising your investments to optimise your home’s energy efficiency and there are grants available that can support householders and business. You can search for your properties EPC here

To see if your property is suitable for an GSHP installation, please take our ‘GSHP Reality Check’ on the left hand-side of the page. Please answer the questions as accurately as possible.

Reality Check

We are currently making a few small tweaks to this form. Please check back in a while. 

Grants and Incentives

From April 2022, homeowners who want to install low-carbon heating measures in their properties in England and Wales could receive a £5000 grant from the Government to help fund some of the costs

So what does this mean for homeowners – When The Clean Heat Grant (Boiler Upgrade Scheme) is launched in April 2022, customers will need to contact an MCS (Micro Generation Certification) accredited organisation to carry out the installation. If you are interested in finding out more information about renewable energy technologies or how Renuvo can support you to ‘go green’, please follow the links.

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about Air Source Heat Pumps?

If you have radiators in your home, and you’re switching from a gas-fired heating system to an air source heat pump, you’ll probably need to buy some bigger radiators to keep your house warm

It looks a bit like an air conditioning unit, but sits on the floor outside your house. So you’ll need to have some outdoor space preferably in a sunny area – for it to be located.  You will also need to consider space for a water tank inside your home.  If you don’t have room for a water tank then a hybrid heat pump might be the way to go

Yes, quite possibly. Please bear in mind that for the best energy efficiency you may need to consider upgrading your home’s insulation. Our retrofit co-ordinator would be able to advise you on the best solutions for your property.  

Yes, the two main types are:

  • Air to air heat pumps
  • Ait to water heat pumps

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