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With the rising popularity of renewable energy sources, heat pumps have become effective alternatives to fossil fuels and they can significantly reduce your utility bills, or better still, make you earn money through government-backed Renewable Heat Incentives (RHI) for heat pumps. 

What is a Heat Pump? 

A heat pump, in simple terms, is a device that transfers heat from a source (such as the heat of the soil in the garden) to another location (like the hot water system of a house). To do this, heat pumps as opposed to boilers use a small amount of electricity but achieve great efficiency rates as the amount of heat produced is much higher than the energy consumed.

What is the difference between an Airsource Heat Pump and a Ground Source Heat Pump?

The main difference between the two types of heat pumps is simply where they get heat from air source heat pumps (ASHPs) absorb heat from the air whereas ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) absorb heat from the ground.

Things to consider when installing a heat pump

  1. Location of home

  2. If you want to heat domestic water or provide heating

  3. The type of system required be it Air Source or Ground Source

  4. Your accredited supplier and budget

Installation prices and RHI payments for different heat pumps

While the basis of the two technologies is the same, the cost of having them installed is not (see table below). Much of the additional cost for the ground source heat pump installation comes from the costs of digging a ground loop into the land outside a property – which is the part of the heat pump which absorbs heat from the ground.

Although upfront costs of installing a ground source heat pump are much greater, this type of pump is more efficient when it comes to heating your home, resulting in higher fuel savings and lower energy bills. Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments are also higher for ground source heat pumps compared to payments for air source heat pumps, meaning you will save more in the long term when opting for a ground source heat pump.

TypePrice RangeRHI Payments* (p/kwh)
Ground Source Heat Pump£20,000-£40,00020.89p
Air Source Heat Pump£8,000 - £17,00010.79p

* The specified RHI tariffs are determined by Ofgem for the period 1st April 2019 — 31st March 2020


Air Source Heat Pumps 

Air source heat pumps look similar to air conditioning units and are typically mounted on to an external wall outside a property. The external unit is connected to an internal unit containing circulation pumps and hot water, which is normally smaller than the average boiler. They are easier to install than ground source heat pumps as they don't require the ground to be dug up. The size of the unit will depend on the size of your home or building. 

Ground Source Heat Pump 

The first consideration for a ground source heat pump does you have enough outdoor space to fit a ground loop. The ground loop can be installed in two ways, vertically and horizontally, but each will take up a certain amount of space and that the ground is suitable for digging. You will also need some space indoors to fit the heat pump unit – this is about the size of a fridge and can create a low-level humming sound, similar to an extractor fan or air conditioning unit.

More planning and labour are required to install a ground source heat pump. Once installed, the pipework for your ground source heat pump will not be visible and will not change the look of your property or functionality of your garden.

Which should you choose?

Both systems offer energy saving benefits that will help you cut energy costs and heat your home efficiently and effectively. You will also be doing your bit for the environment and thanks to the Renewable Heat Incentive, you should make your money back from the installation in the long term.

Our team of specialists at Pure Green Energy are here to help you decide what is right for you.
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