Ground source heat pumps are the up-and-coming solution to heating your home in an environmentally conscious way. They work by pumping liquid through loops buried in the ground, which absorbs heat from the ground before being pumped indoors.
Although heat pumps are the second most popular renewable energy solution in the UK behind solar panels, there is still a lot of confusion about what they do and how they work.
We’re going to try to bust 10 myths about ground source heat pumps so you can make an informed decision about whether they are right for your home.
1. Ground source heat pumps aren’t renewable because they use electricity to work.
The truth: Heat pumps are still considered to be renewable because for every unit of electricity they use, they move up to five units of heat from the ground to your home.
2. You need a huge garden to bury the loops underground.
The truth: If you have a very small garden, you might be able to have the loops buried vertically, so you won’t need much space. It’s best to ask an installer if you’re worried.
3. Solar PV and wind power are better renewable sources than ground source heat pumps.
The truth: In many cases, heat pumps remove more consumption from the electrical grid than solar and wind add to the grid. So solar, wind and heat pumps all play a vital part in stopping our reliance on fossil fuels, but heat pumps can be the most cost-effective way to reduce your home’s environmental impact. This is particularly true if you currently use electric heating.
4. Heat pumps are very noisy.
The truth: Systems are relatively quiet to run, and the unit that sits outside shouldn’t cause any trouble to your neighbours.
5. Ground source heat pumps can only heat my home.
The truth: You can actually cool your home using a heat pump as well as heat it.
6. Heat pumps wear out quickly.
The truth: The loops in ground source heat pumps can last for years – they could well outlast you. The heat exchange equipment can last decades, and when it needs replacing it will cost a lot less than installing an entirely new system.
7. A heat pump can’t cope with heating water and the home at the same time.
The truth: Heat pumps operate at a lower temperature than gas heating for example, and you might have to keep the heating on at a constant lower temperature than you would with a gas central heating system. But there are plenty of systems available that can cope with heating water and the home simultaneously.
8. Heat pumps use a lot of water.
The truth: Ground source heat pumps don’t use any water at all. The water that circulates around the system continues to do so all throughout its life.
9. All heat pumps put refrigerant loops into the ground.
The truth: It’s uncommon for modern systems to use refrigerant lines. Most heat pumps only use water in the loops.
10. Ground source heat pumps are not financially viable without the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).
The truth: The current RHI tariff is between £2,590 and £4,005 per year. A typical system will cost between £13,000 and £20,000 to install, so the RHI can significantly help with recovering the cost of installation.
But you can also recoup the cost of the system in your fuel bill savings, especially if you switch from old electric storage heaters. You could save between £790 and £1,425 per year. If you’re switching from LPG, expect to save between £960 and £1,500 per year.
As the technology in heat pumps becomes more widely available and more people adopt the systems, the price will go down.
If you’re ready to consider a ground source heat pump, use our service to get up to 4 quotes from trusted installers today.