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What's In This Guide

Ground Source Heat Pump Comparison in the UK

Are you looking for a sustainable, low-cost way to heat your home? Why not consider getting a ground source heat pump to heat your home and reduce your bills? With SpotDif, comparing suppliers in your area is easy. So why not make us your go-to site for the best ground source heat pump comparison and get the best deal with SpotDif? 


These days, everyone's looking for ways to reduce energy bills sustainably. And ground source heat pumps are an incredibly efficient way to heat your home. Using heat stored in the ground rather than the air, a ground source heat pump is much more efficient than an air source heat pump. But could it be the solution to your ever-increasing heating bills? 


A ground source heat pump, usually known as a GSHP, is a fantastic low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels like gas and oil. Installing a GSHP is one of the easiest ways to reduce your home's carbon footprint and cut household emissions because your heat source is 100% natural. So even though the UK might not feel warm all year round, your ground source pump can make short work of capturing the heat stored in the ground and converting it to heat for your home.

Find the heat pump for you with SpotDif

Installing a new heating pump can be disruptive and might not be the right choice for everyone. That's why we've looked at topics like installation and running costs so you can make the right decision. But with a SpotDif free comparison no obligation quote, you can quickly size up the best ground source heat pump supplier across your area and find out how much do heat pumps cost. All it takes is a few quick questions, and you could be on your way to lower bills and a cleaner, greener way to heat your home. 


At SpotDif, we compare the best prices across a wide range of service providers, including Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certified providers. As a result, we get the best price on everything after doing a ground source heat pump comparison, including installation and servicing, in your local area.

Learn more about ground source heat pumps with our ultimate guide

Of course, making the switch to a ground source heat pump takes time and research. How much will installation cost, and is it a good investment? How do GSHPs compare to other types of carbon-neutral heating? And how long will it be before you pay back the cost and enjoy the benefits of incredibly low running costs? Read on to discover all you need to know about this revolutionary heating system and begin a ground source heat pump comparison today to suit your requirements. 

What is a ground source heat pump? 

Ground source heat pump technology isn't new — in fact, it's been around since the 1980s. But it's gaining popularity as we seek cleaner and greener alternatives to oil and gas heating.  

 

But what is a ground source heat pump and how does this type of heating system work? Unlike an air source heat pump, a ground source pump pulls heat straight from the ground. And because the ground temperature in the UK averages 8-12C even in winter, it's a reliable source of year-round heat. 

 

Open your window on a cold day, and the heat rushes from the warm indoors to the much cooler outdoors. Ground source heat pumps work on a similar principle to heat your home. The compressor in your refrigerator does the same thing but in reverse, moving warm air away from the cold environment. As a result, some GSHP systems can be set up to cool as well as warm your home. 

 

How does a GSHP use physics to heat your home? First, cold fluid, like anti-freeze, flows through a series of pipes buried in the ground. The liquid then attracts low-grade energy from the soil, which is heated to a higher temperature and released before the fluid returns to the submerged pipework to start the cycle again. And it's this free energy that powers your heating and hot water system. 

What types of ground source heat pumps are there?  

There are two main types of ground-source heat pumps in the UK: 


  • There’s a horizontal ground array, where a series of straight or spiral pipes, known as slinkies, are buried about 1.2m underground. You'll need at least a 3-metre clearance between the house and the pipework and a 5m clearance between the pipes and the property boundary. 


  • There’s a vertical array that uses boreholes drilled deep into the ground. Boreholes are an excellent option if you have a small garden. Holes are drilled 70m-120m deep and then connected together. Because the ground temperature increases the deeper you go, boreholes are very efficient but also much more costly to dig. 


As a general rule, generating 1kW of heat requires an area of 50 square metres. A four-bedroom house requiring an 8kW heat pump would need 400 square metres of land — around the size of one and a half tennis courts. 

Are ground source heat pumps expensive to run? 

Of course, before you decide to install a ground source heat pump, you should have a clear idea of the running costs. With 30% to 50% savings over conventional fossil fuel systems, a ground-source heat pump could be an excellent investment. 


So why are the running costs so low? Let's do a ground source heat pump comparison with other heating systems: 


  • It’s more efficient than air source heat pumps, emitting 3kW-4kW of heat for 1 kW of electricity. 


  • A GSHP’s running costs are 30-50% lower than an oil boiler. 


  • You can expect running costs that are 45% lower than a gas boiler. 


  • Only the compressor uses electricity. 


  • A ground source heat pump uses a constant and inexhaustible supply of free energy stored in the earth and available worldwide. 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a ground source heat pump? 

Ground source heat pumps have a long list of advantages. But some drawbacks may not make them suitable for your home. Read on to find out how good are heat pumps and what their downsides are.


Ground source heat pump benefits:


  • Energy efficiency: Generates 3-4kW of energy for every 1kW it uses


  • Sustainable energy source: Ground heat is a free, inexhaustible, and green energy source.


  • Low running costs: Only the compressor uses electricity, so running costs are lower than fossil fuel heating systems.


  • Eligible for government grants: A grant towards installation costs makes a ground source heat pump an attractive investment. 


  • Virtually silent: Creates a comfortable environment for you and your neighbours. 


  • Can increase property value: An efficient ground source heat pump is an excellent home improvement investment that adds value to your home. 


Ground source heat pump disadvantages:


  • Can be costly to install: Initial installation costs are higher than a conventional system — but grants are available to help. 


  • Tricky to install: Ground source heat pumps can be difficult to retrofit to older properties and require plenty of outdoor space. 


  • Soil type affects efficiency: If you have sandy soil, it can affect the efficiency of your pump. However, your installer should maximise the efficiency of your installation.  

What does a ground source heat pump cost? 

Before you go ahead, it's worth having an idea of all the costs involved in a GSHP system so you can do a proper ground source heat pump comparison. So, what costs do you need to consider before you go ahead?  First, let’s take a look at the cost of the pump itself. In the UK, you can expect to pay between £16,000 to heat a two-room flat and up to £45,000 for a 7+ room home.  


Other costs to factor in include:


System size


Your pump needs to be big enough to meet your heating and hot water needs but not so big that you waste money on installation.   


System type


Generally, a horizontal array is cheaper than vertical boreholes. 


Installation costs


Remember to include materials and labour plus the heat pump cost. 


Financial support


Don’t forget, you could be eligible for a grant of up to £6,000 to help with the cost. Plus, SpotDif’s network of installers will be able to give you a more accurate idea of cost, including horizontal or vertical installation.  

How much does it cost to fit a ground source heat pump?  

Ground source heat pump installation is more complex than other systems, so you can expect to pay higher installation costs than a fossil fuel boiler. A qualified heating engineer can tell you the best installation for your home based on the property size and garden space available. 


There are plenty of factors to consider, so our costings can only give you a rough idea of how much a GSHP system will cost to fit. So, keep this in mind when it comes to a ground source heat pump comparison and getting quotes from a ground source heat pump supplier.  


  • Horizontal installation: Best suited for rural areas or homes with extensive gardens. Depending on the size of your home and the pump you need, groundwork can cost between £3,000 and £12,000. 


  • Vertical installation: More efficient and suitable if you have limited outdoor space. Expect to pay anywhere from £6,000 to £30,000 for the necessary groundwork.  

How much land is needed for a ground source heat pump? 

If you’re looking at a horizontal GSHP installation, you’ll generally need to ensure you have between between 600 and 1200 square metres of land available. You'll need to clear the land of trees and buildings and leave a 5-metre clearance between your pipe array and the garden boundary. 


In addition, you'll need to allow 5-6 metres between each borehole for vertical ground loops.  

How much is the ground source heat pump grant in the UK?  

Are you ready to minimise your carbon footprint and make the most of cleaner, greener energy from an inexhaustible supply? The good news is that financial aid is available to switch from your old gas or oil boiler. Check if you're eligible to claim by answering these straightforward questions: 

 

  • Do you own the property? 


  • Do you plan to install a new heating system, or have you done so since 1 April 2022? 


  • Are you replacing a fossil fuel boiler? 


  • Does your property have a valid EPC with no recommendations? 

 

If you answered yes to all of the above, you can apply for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme. With this, you could get £6,000 towards the cost of your ground source heat pump.  

 

You'll need to find and compare quotes from MSC-certified installers with the expertise to advise you on the best installation for your garden and soil type.  

Are ground-source heat pumps a good investment? 

 But is installing a ground source heat pump really worth it? If you're looking for a highly efficient heating system with low running costs and minimal environmental impact, the answer is yes. Heat pumps have an essential part to play in meeting 2050 Net Zero targets because they rely on a sustainable and inexhaustible natural energy supply.

How long do ground-source heat pumps last?  

Your ground source heat pump should last at least 20 years, compared to 10 years for a gas boiler. The ground collectors should last at least 70 years before you need to replace them. 

Ground source heat pump vs Geothermal heating  

There's a lot of confusion between the terms ground source heat pump and geothermal heating. Both use the earth as their energy source, but that's where the similarity ends: 

 

  • Ground source heat pumps use solar energy stored in the ground and accessed at depths between 1.2 to 200 metres. Ground source systems are suitable for home use. 


  • Geothermal systems use energy from the earth's core, like hot springs and geysers. In the UK, geothermal energy is accessed by drilling up to 2,500 metres and needs a large-scale plant to be efficient. 

 

If you see a system labelled as a geothermal heat pump, there's a good chance it's a ground source heat pump. We recommend you check with the ground source heat pump supplier to make sure it's suitable for domestic use.


Do hybrid ground source heat pumps exist?

Did you know that ground source heat pumps aren’t your only option if you’re hoping to reduce your carbon footprint and heating bills? There is a middle way: a hybrid heat pump.


Combining a traditional boiler with a ground source heat pump lets you heat your home and hot water year-round without changing your radiators. 


Want to find the right supplier for a hybrid ground source heat pump in your area? SpotDif has you covered.

What is a hybrid ground source heat pump? 

A hybrid or dual-fuel heat pump combines a traditional fossil fuel boiler with a ground source heat pump. If your home has a high heat demand, this combination could lower your carbon footprint by 70%.

What is the difference between a hybrid heat pump and a ground source heat pump? 

A hybrid ground source heat pump uses free energy to reduce energy costs. But how? Here's a quick overview of how the system works.  

 

A standalone ground source heat pump extracts heat from boreholes or horizontal pipe arrays in your garden. It then converts this energy to heat your home. In a dual-fuel heat pump system, a traditional gas or oil boiler provides additional heat and hot water if the heat pump struggles.  

What are the benefits of hybrid heat pumps? 

 A hybrid ground source heat pump can offer an array of benefits, including:

  • Reduced running costs 


  • A 70% reduction in your carbon footprint 


  • Comfortable and energy-efficient heating 


  • No need to replace radiators and pipework 


  • Year-round reliability 

They’re also suitable for homes with high heating demand.

How much does a hybrid heat pump cost?

Because of the groundwork involved, a hybrid ground source pump costs more than a similar hybrid air source heat pump. You’ll usually be looking at around £10,000 for a ground source heat pump unit, plus the cost of vertical boreholes or a horizontal pipe array. 


With installation, you can expect to pay between £12,000 and £45,000 for your hybrid system, depending on whether you use a vertical or horizontal hybrid heat pump. 


Don’t forget, you can compare and find the best ground source heat pump supplier, from national to local, with SpotDif.

What is the payback period for a ground source heat pump? 

It's tricky to pinpoint the typical cost of a ground source heat pump installation. And that makes it equally problematic to estimate the payback period. 


But what does the 'payback period' mean? It's the time it takes to recoup your installation costs through energy savings. And that varies, depending on factors like your set-up, how efficient your system is and the amount of insulation you have.  


Typically, though, the payback period is 11-12 years compared to gas and 8-9 years compared to LPG and oil.

The SpotDif ground source heat pump DIY Guide 

 

A ground source heat pump installation isn't a DIY job. That's why we always recommend you use our search to find a qualified installer in your area. 

 

But you can still DIY to make the installation process more straightforward.


Prepare the site 

 

Preparing the site ahead of time can make huge savings and minimise disruption. Make sure the area is free of trees, bushes and debris. Clearing the ground and checking site access makes the installer's job quicker and more efficient. The result is your system is up and running ASAP.  


Dig trenches for a horizontal installation  

 

A vertical installation requires drilling expertise to get right. But you can dig the trenches for a horizontal ground collector. Working with your installer and hiring a digger can significantly save on the cost of groundwork. And that can quickly add up with a larger installation. 


Get to grips with your system 

 

Ground source heat pumps have minimal maintenance needs. But it's a good idea to get to grips with the way your system works and make annual checks so it keeps running efficiently. Go through the control system with your installer so you can get the best out of your ground source heat pump for years to come.

Compare quotes for ground source Heat Pumps with SpotDif 

Is a GSHP the right choice for your home? Now you know more about this clean and green heating system, it's time to find the best deals in your area. 

 

At SpotDif, we're committed to saving you money on your energy bills. And our goal is to make finding deals on products and services super simple. Start by searching for ground-source heat pumps in your area. You're good to go when you see the "Start My Search" button. 

 

We'll find the product you want in your price range with just a few simple questions. We can even find financing options to spread the cost. Then, we'll match you with great deals that meet your specifications. That's why SpotDif is the go-to comparison site for all your needs.

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author
Anna Dearden
Home sector specialist
I'm driven by curiosity, and constantly seeking to unravel and explore the ever-evolving trends in the realms of lifestyle, finance, and well-being.
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