We walk you through the installation of ground source heat pumps and, more importantly, whether your home is appropriate for one.


Ground Source Heat Pump

Ground-source heat pumps aren’t suitable for all types of dwellings. You can end up with a system that doesn’t provide for you or your money if your home isn’t suitable. Our guide can assist you. From the difference between a horizontal and vertical pump system to how to identify an approved installer, we cover everything you need to know before investing in a ground source heat pump.

Should I invest in a geothermal heat pump?

When it comes to investing in a ground source heat pump, there are a few things to consider. If you’re thinking about installing a ground source heat pump, here are five things to consider:

1. Your residence’s size

You’ll need enough outdoor space to accommodate the ground loop and pump, as well as access to digging equipment. Get advice from a professional installer about your specific situation.

2. The current fuel system

If you replace an old or expensive heating system (such as LPG or electric heating), you’ll save more money than if you use mains gas.

3. What type of heating system do you have?

Because a ground source heat pump generates low-temperature heat, it’s best paired with a low-heat system like underfloor heating. Radiators are unlikely to provide the same level of heat as central heating supplied by a boiler.

4. The heating of water

A separate electric immersion heater may be required.

Insulation is number five.

Improve your home’s energy efficiency with loft and cavity wall insulation before contemplating a ground source heat pump. If you don’t take the necessary precautions, you’ll be paying for heat that you’re not using. Learn how much money you may save by insulating your loft and cavity walls.

What’s the difference between horizontal and vertical systems?

The ground loop (the subterranean water pumping system) can be installed horizontally or vertically. The sort of system you select is determined by the amount of space you have available.

Horizontal systems are installed over a larger surface area in a shallow trench.

According to the Ground Source Heat Pump Association, a new-build three-bedroom house (about 120m2) would require two trenches measuring 30 to 40 metres in length.

horizontal -and -vertical- systems

horizontal and vertical systems

A vertical system, on the other hand, burys the pipes in a borehole. The borehole might be anywhere between 15 and 100 metres deep, depending on the size of the system. It’s critical that whichever sort of ground source heat pump you install is properly sized for your heating needs.

What is the best way to install a ground source heat pump?

If you’re thinking about getting a ground source heat pump installed, make sure you use a Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) installer who is appropriately accredited. Between 2008 and 2013, the Energy Saving Trust (EST) undertook a ground source heat pump trial to learn more about how people use heat pumps and how efficient they are. During the trial, the EST discovered a number of pumps that had been placed wrongly. As a result, they didn’t perform as well as they could have.

heat- pump

heat pump

To qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), a government programme that pays homeowners who adopt renewable heat technologies, you must use an MCS-approved product and installer. Learn more about the Renewable Heat Incentive in our guide. There are now guidelines for how heat pumps might qualify for MCS, making it even more critical to ensure that the heat pump you’re considering is MCS-approved. This information is available on the MCS website (search for ‘product search’). Before deciding on the best solution for you, we usually recommend receiving many quotations. A competent installer can usually complete the installation of a ground source heat pump in one to two days. If you’re ready to hire a contractor to install a ground source heat pump, use our Which? Trusted Traders search engine to discover a qualified contractor in your area. Our traders have all been thoroughly vetted, so you can trust them to execute an excellent job.

Energy labelling for heat pumps

Heat pumps will now be required to display an energy label under new regulations. The label provides information about the heat pump’s energy efficiency and ranks products from dark green (most efficient) to red (least efficient) (least efficient). All new heat pumps on the market had to be marketed with an EU product label as of September 26, 2015, and the installer had to create a package label that displayed the efficiency depending on numerous distinct components in the heating system.

Energy- labelling

Energy labelling

All heat pumps approved by the MSC must be sold with a product label, and the installation must generate a packaging label as of March 25, 2016. Your heat pump may not be qualified for the RHI if it was not sold with a product label.

Controls for the heating

Inquire with the installer about the ground source heat pump system’s control options, as knowing how to operate it effectively will help you get the most out of it. Make sure the controls are simple to use and that the installation explains how to operate the system. Many control systems were found to be too sophisticated for householders to use effectively in field experiments conducted by the Energy Saving Trust. You should be able to programme your heating controls to turn on and off at different times.