Ground-Source Heat Pumps

Ground-source heat pumps extract heat from the ground and use it to heat water. This can then be used for heating the property through underfloor heating, standard or skirting board radiators, or to provide hot water. This heating system usually consists of a ground loop buried in the ground or submerged in a body of water.

What you need

For the ground loop to be buried in the ground, you need and area of land that you own and is available to be dug up, the size of which depends on the size of the system. It will also need to be accessible for digging machinery.

Due to the lower temperature heat that ground-source heat pumps produce, it is important that your home is well insulated and draught proofed for the heating system to be most effective. It will also help make the system cheaper and smaller. The lower temperature heat also means underfloor heating systems, larger radiators or low temperature fan convectors (warm air heating) are ideal complementary measures, rather than standard radiators, which will not perform as well.

What you can expect to earn

You can expect to save more with your ground-source heating system if you are replacing an electric or coal heating system, rather than a gas heating system. You can expect to save up to around £70 per year if you are replacing a gas heating system. If you are replacing an electric heating system you can expect to save around £420 to £530 per year and if you are replacing a solid fuel heating system you can expect to save around £260 to £370 per year.

Heat pumps will be eligible for the proposed Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The RHI is due to be launched in June 2011. It is designed to encourage the uptake of renewable and low carbon heat technologies by providing a financial incentive. The details of this are due to be released at the end of 2010. See Grants and Tariffs for more info.