Compared to other forms of heating, a ground source heat pump requires a good deal more thought and planning. There are numerous factors you need to take into account, including the space you have available and whether you are going to stay with traditional radiators or switch to more efficient underfloor heating or air-radiators.
If you have a suitable space, however, installing a ground source heat pump can be a cost effective and relatively low maintenance way to heat your home. According to Which, the cost of installing a GSHP is between £13,000 and £20,000. With money back through the Renewable Heat Incentive, the ROI over the long term is pretty good and you get to have a low carbon heating solution that is low maintenance and lasts a long time.
GSHPs are the most efficient of the heat pumps and, if you have the room, then they’re a great idea. Space is certainly going to be the first consideration you need to take into account.
You’ll require substantial room to either spread out in the garden and lay the pipe work or have permission to install a vertical array that drives straight down into the ground near your home. Construction vehicles such as diggers also have to be able to get into your garden area.
Then you have to think about the interior. GSHP works best with underfloor heating rather than conventional radiators so you will need to make a decision about the additional cost for this. Your home needs to be well insulated – a GSHP provides constant but low amounts of heat which is why underfloor is a lot more efficient. This can be lost, however, if you have too many draughts and poor insulation.
If you want hot water too, you might need to get in separate immersion heater to deal with this. Finally, installing GSHP is more cost effective if you are actually replacing an old, inefficient system such as a LPG or electric heating.
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Types of Ground Source Heat Pumps
Installing a ground source heat pump involves digging up the garden. There are two types of device. You can drill straight down and put in a vertical system. This will be anywhere between 15m and 100m. That’s a long way down and can depend on factors such as the underlying soil and rock. It might seem like the easier option, especially if you are short of space, but it can be costly on the construction front and you might need planning permission depending on your location.
The other option is to put in a flat looped system that sits horizontally in a trench across your garden. Of course, this will again depend on the size you have available. That size needs to be big enough to fit your heating needs – essentially the bigger the house, the more piping you need.
Finding the Right Installer
As with any major installation, you need to find a reputable and reliable installer. If you are going to take advantage of the Renewable Heat Incentive, you need to choose one that is accredited and part of the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). Checking those credentials is important because if your system is badly installed it can affect efficiency and cost you money. Make sure that you get several quotes and give yourself a cooling off period before you finally decide.
Accessing the RHI
The Renewable Heat Incentive is a government backed scheme run by Ofgem that basically pays you for the amount of energy that you produce with low carbon technology such as this. The current tariff for ground source heat pumps is 19.33 pence per kWh produced. This makes a big difference to the return on investment of installing a heat pump in the first place and greatly reduce your costs, offsetting the initial large investment.
You can search our installer database to find accredited companies in your area who can install a ground source heat pump.
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