Like air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps are a solution to households who aren’t connected to the grid and have to rely on expensive forms of traditional heating like electric and oil to meet their heat and hot water needs.
With the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) – which was launched in April 2014 – ground source heat pumps are attracting more and more attention.
While the benefits and savings which can be attributed to heat pumps are hard to ignore; not least cheaper heating bills, householders who choose to invest in a ground source heat pump have the opportunity, subject to meeting set criteria, to take full advantage of the RHI and get paid money for producing renewable heat.
As great as that sounds, before you go ahead and source your ground source heat pump prices, there are a few factors worth considering. If you’re going to install any type of renewable heating technology it’s very important to make sure your home is properly insulated. Heat pumps are most efficient if installed in a well insulated home. Also take into consideration the type of heating system. Heat pumps work especially well when teamed with an underfloor heating system.
What is a ground source heat pump and how does it work?
Sometimes referred to as geothermal heating, ground source heat pumps will save you money by lowering your home heating bills if your previous source of heat came from an electric, coal or oil heating system.
Ground source heat pumps, like air source heat pumps, work hard all year round to provide heat and hot water; in their case from natural heat that has been absorbed from the ground. The heat is extracted by pipes buried deep in the ground (around two metres below ground level) in trenches or boreholes. This type of heating system is essentially comprised of three parts: the heat pump, a ground loop and a heat distribution system.
The heat pump works by circulating a mixture of antifreeze and water around the ground loop, a loop of plastic pipe. Available heat from the ground is absorbed into the fluid to be pumped through the pump’s heat exchanger, transporting it around the pipe circuit. What starts out as low grade heat is concentrated into a higher temperature when it passes through the heat pump compressor. Once transformed this useful heat can be used for heating water for the home’s heating and hot water circuits.
Ground source heat pumps, however, are not suitable for every home. They take up a lot more space than an air source heat pump and the installation process is more disruptive. You’ll need to have a garden that’s suitable for digging a trench or boreholes, and one that can be accessed by the large machinery needed to carry out the job.
What are the advantages of ground source heat pumps?
Ground source heat pumps have numerous advantages and benefits. Like air source heat pumps this type of renewable heat will bring down your heating bills and reduce your carbon footprint. So you’ll be saving money and saving the planet from harmful emissions.
The biggest savings can be achieved if you’re replacing an existing electric heating system. According to the Energy Saving Trust a semi-detached with three bedrooms could save between £510 and £650 annually. At 4,780kg and 5,230kg a year, carbon dioxide savings are just as impressive.
Other ground source heat pump benefits:
- Get paid for producing your own renewable heat. The Renewable Heat Incentive will pay out 18.8p/kWh if you have a ground source heat pump, subject to meeting eligibility criteria. Running for seven years, RHI payments will be issued quarterly.
- Ground source heat pumps are a reliable and efficient method of heating your home and hot water.
- Fuel costs will be lower compared to air source heat pumps, as will the maintenance costs.
Ground source heat pump costs & savings
Ground source heat pumps are more expensive than air source heat pumps. You’re looking at costs of between £9,000 and £17,000. If you are eligible for the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme, you can apply for a voucher to put towards the installation costs. Ground source heat pumps achieve the highest level of support, with a one-off grant of £2,300.
Savings will depend on the type of system which distributes heat and how inefficient your old heating system is. Knowledge and familiarity of the heat pump controls is another way of achieving the highest efficiency and the best possible savings.
How to apply for the RHI and RHPP
Heat pumps installed on or after 15 July 2009 are eligible for RHI tariffs and RHPP grants. A Green Deal assessment and a well insulated home also form part of the eligibility requirements.
Applications for the RHPP ended on 31 March 2014, after which the RHI takes over.
If you want to take advantage of the RHI you will need to instruct the services of an MCS accredited ground source heat pump installer. A mark of quality, MCS installers must demonstrate industry standards compliance so you can feel safe in the knowledge that your heat pump will be installed to the highest standards. By instructing the services of an MCS installer you’ll also be able to apply for the financial benefits associated with the RHI and RHPP.
To achieve the best possible price for your ground source heat pump installation Heat Pump Guide recommends sourcing up to three quotes. We have a directory of MCS accredited heat pump installers who are ready and waiting to provide you with free no obligation quotes. Simply fill out your details on our quote form and we’ll do the rest.