Table: Ground vs Air Source Heat Pumps

When getting a heat pump, it’s important to choose the right one for you and your property. This can be a difficult decision, so here’s a comparison table with some things to consider.

Ground source heat pump Air source heat pump
Energy Efficiency More energy efficient than air source pumps. 1 KWH in = 4 KWH of energy out More efficient than boilers, but less efficient than a ground source heat pump.
Average cost £10,000 - £18,000 (Most of this cost is related to installation, like digging and fitting the underground loop.) £6,000 - £8,000
Installation process Requires garden space that is suitable for digging. If you go for horizontal installation, you’ll need an area around 100 metres long and 1-2 metres deep. If you go for vertical installation, you’ll need an area around 100 metres deep and 20cm wide. Vertical installations require specialist equipment to drill a bore hole, and double the cost, more or less. Reasonably difficult to retrofit so more popular in new builds. A lot easier to install than ground source pumps. Mounted on an outside wall or floor.
Potential £ savings If you currently use an older, non-condensing oil boiler, you could save around £130 a year with a ground source heat pump. If you have an electric boiler, or storage heaters, your savings could reach £1,425 a year. (Source: UK Energy Saving Trust) Up to £700 per year depending on your current system (Source: UK Energy Saving Trust)
Functions Can only be used for heating Can be used for heating and cooling
Maintenance Servicing by either the owner or qualified installer Servicing should be done by a technician once a year
Life Span Ground source pipes have an estimated lifespan of 50 - 100 years, while the heat pump itself can run for 20 - 25 years. Operational for up to 20 years, most come with a 5 year guarantee
Noise Very quiet Some noise - around 40 to 60 decibels
Grants available Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) ECO scheme - grant for retrofitting ground source heat pumps into social housing properties (Both can be used in conjunction) Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
RHI payments over 7 years £17,500 (Ofgem figures, Sept 2018) £8,400 (Ofgem figures, Sept 2018)

What else would you consider when deciding on a heat pump?

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