Ground Source Heat Pumps: Who Are They For?

ground source heat pumps

After being crowned their Ultimate Eco Blogger for 2012, I thought I’d ask the experts over at Find Energy Savings to contribute to the blog. They happily agreed and I asked them to give a rundown on ground source heat pumps as a form of renewable heating for your home.

If you have any questions about this form of heating, please ask them in the comments section at the end of the article and I’ll get them answered for you.

A ground source heat pump is a renewable energy option which may not be suitable for everyone, despite what the salesman might tell you. With the expense involved and the general disruption required to have this type of heating installed, it is wise to think carefully before you go ahead. However, if it is right for you, the benefits can be huge.

Knowing if you and your property are suitable for ground source heating should be your first step when you are thinking about renewable energy sources.

Get Quotes For A Ground Source Heat Pump

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What happens when I fill out this form?

An advisor from will contact you to get your full requirements. Should you wish to proceed, they will forward your contact details on to a maximum of 3 local, approved installers who will then provide you with quotes for a ground source heat pump at your property.

Does this service cost anything?

No, charge installers a small fee for the introduction but you will incur no additional costs over and above the cost of any installed system.

Will will happen to my data?

At first only will contact you; if you should wish to proceed, your details will be passed on to up to 3 further companies to provide you with quotes. Your details will not be passed on to any other company without prior consent.

What is a ground source heat pump?

A ground source heat pump delivers heat to your home via a series of pipes which are buried in your garden. These pipes take the heat energy from the ground and transfer it via a fluid in the pipe to a heat exchanger which concentrates the heat. This energy is then pumped into your home to heat your hot water, radiators or underfloor heating. The ground usually maintains a steady temperature, so a low level of heat can be extracted from it year round, making it a very worthwhile source of water heating.

What is your budget?

Ground source heat pumps are not cheap to install and run on electricity, therefore you need to do your sums before you decide if it is for you. You can save as much as £610 per year, but it could cost as much as £10,000 to have the system installed.

What is your current heating method?

Unfortunately, the fact that a ground source heat pump uses electricity and gives a low level of heat means that it does not always deliver the best cost and efficiency savings. If your home currently runs on gas you are likely to find that a ground source heat pump will not save you money. However homes which run on electricity, oil or solid fuels can get savings of between £180 and £610 each year.

The other benefits of switching to this type of energy for those who currently use oil or solid fuels is that you will no longer need to worry about deliveries and the effect on the environment of burning this type of fossil fuel.

How large is your garden?

The pipes which need to be buried in your garden require a good sized surface area to collect their heat. This means that the larger the garden, the more efficient the system will be. However, those people who have smaller gardens can still benefit. The coils can be buried vertically and will still work just as effectively. Using this method may be slightly more expensive, but it is less intrusive on your garden.

Is your home suitable?

Ground source heat pumps deliver their heat at a constant temperature year round and this is lower than a traditional radiator might offer. To make the most of this, your home needs to be very well insulated and free of draughts. The system will also work best with underfloor heating which is more ambient and works well at lower temperatures. If you don’t already have underfloor heating, you may wish to factor in the extra expense of getting this.

Is your home currently under construction?

If you are already doing building work or are building your home from scratch, now is the time to have ground source heat pump heating installed. You will be able to ensure you have the correct heating and hot water systems and the disruption to your garden will be minimal. Making the most of this type of heating requires some changes to be made to the average home, making a time consuming and expensive proposition if retro-fitting.

Do you have other renewable energy sources?

Using a combination of renewable energy options alongside your ground source heat pump could be ideal for your home. You could make the most of the sunshine in the summer by using a solar panel scheme and use your heat pump in the winter months.

If you are not able to use other renewable energy sources due to your home not being suitable, a ground source heat pump may be a viable alternative. If you live in a conservation area you may not be able to get wind energy due to planning restrictions and solar panels do not work on all roofs. However if you have a garden, most people can take advantage of a ground source heat pump.

Once again, I’d like to thank Find Energy Savings for this guide to ground source heat pumps; I’m sure it will help many people decide whether or not this type of system is right for their home. If any readers have questions, please leave them below.

Steve (152 Posts)

I am chief writer and editor on Green Steve. Blogging since 2011, I like to delve into a wide number of topics to help people reduce their carbon footprint. You should follow me on Twitter here. And add me to your Google+ circles here.

6 Responses to “Ground Source Heat Pumps: Who Are They For?”

  1. Mike
    June 22, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    Ground source heat pumps are such an obviously great idea I don’t know why they’re not mandatory in new homes. Biggy for someone like me is underfloor piping or other low temperature delivery system, which is impractical to fit – I’d love to know if there’s a practical alternative to delivering the heat into the house.

  2. Emma
    June 25, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    An excellent, balanced article that gave me the information I needed to find out whether or not ground source heating is suitable for my house. As it turns out, my house is not well insulated, so it would not be suitable at this time, but I am planning on altering this in the future so will look into it again.

    • Steve
      June 25, 2012 at 10:23 PM

      Glad you found it useful Emma, yeah you definitely have to have a well insulated home for it to be feasible.

  3. Kj Murphy
    June 28, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    Thanks for the post. This is my first time on your site Steve, and I guess you have a robust following. I don’t follow anybody but I liked your review of the heat transfer and am glad you qualified “it’s not for everyone” Thanks. Oh — and by the way, we just launched a green site of our own and would love your association. Check out our blog ‘The WormFarm Chronicles’… Right now we’re talking about worm composting in the dining room with her permission.

    • Steve
      June 29, 2012 at 9:26 AM

      Hi Kj, thanks for dropping by the site – it’s always nice to hear from fellow greens. I had an indoor worm farm but if you look back in my blog you’ll see that they all died because they got too hot (my fault). I am hoping to breathe life back into the project when I move flat in a couple of weeks time as then seemed to be the most convenient time to do it. Liking your blog though, very interesting read and you have a lovely writing style.

  4. Bob Irving
    April 5, 2013 at 7:21 AM

    While you may be better off with underfloor heating in association with a GSHP, this is not totally necessary as it is very expensive/difficult to install. It’s quite possible to use larger conventional radiators or forced convection radiators where space is limited. If your existing heating system is quite old, the radiators may already be big enough as fitting over-sized radiators appears to have been a convention with original central heating systems.

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