What Is The Cost Of A Ground Source Heat Pump?

James Elston
Written by James Elston
Updated on 16th November 2023
Posted on 15th November 2023
Topic: heat pumps
What Is The Cost Of A Ground Source Heat Pump

Ground source heat pump costs, prices & installation guide

Ground source heat pumps have recently taken the spotlight as a renewable heat incentive instead of the traditional use of central heating, gas boilers.

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The role of a ground source heat pump is likely to become more frequently used as heating in more homes and as much as the reasons for this vary, one could put it down to the rising costs in heating that many are faced with within 2023.

Whilst there are some benefits to a ground source heat pump, they do trigger some concerns over how homeowners adjust to the transition of using this technology especially when hydrogen ready boilers seem to be a better and cheaper option.

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    How much does a ground source heat pump cost?

    In this guide, you’ll get a full understanding of the cost of a ground source heat pump and how to go about installing one and we compare to air source heat pumps which work similar to ground source, costs are much higher.

    From installation costs, benefits, and disadvantages to using them, this guide will provide everything needed to make an informed decision on whether a ground source heat pump will work for your home.

    If you are strongly considering a heat pump already, why not check out our comprehensive best heat pump brand guide to help you decide who to choose?

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

    So how much does it cost to buy a ground source heat pump? You could expect to pay anywhere between £2,000 and upwards to an eye-watering £15,000. This depends on the size of the pumps you need and the brand that you go with. Those that are more reputable or well-known might end up being more costly as a result.

    The cost of ground source heat pump models is expensive, and it can be costly to both buy and install in comparison to standard boilers. It’s also about the quality of the pump that you’re buying as some are going to be more costly than others.

    With some of the very best heat pumps, they’re going to have components that are more enhanced and high-quality. There are also a lot of different complexities to the onboard software provided that could influence the price you pay.

    The size of your property will vary the amount that you pay, with some bigger buildings requiring a higher KW ground source heat pump.

    The costs of buying a ground source heat pump are what can often put homeowners off from getting them. With any renewable heating systems, there will always be a fairly big price gap between what you’d pay for traditional ones because they’re not used as much and therefore not in such a huge demand.

    We’re seeing the change in solar energy and more homeowners investing in it over the years, so it could be the same for ground source heat pumps in the future.

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    Average installation costs for a ground source heat pump

    The cost of the ground source heat pump alone is substantial, never mind the installation costs involved. It can be a major cost overall that not everyone will want to do, especially if they’re in a position where they don’t necessarily need to save money on their bills over time.

    There are a number of factors that will influence the cost total for installing the pumps. These include:

    • The complexity of installation and materials used.
    • Distance from the heat pump unit to the ground loop manifold chamber.
    • The labourers available and the average cost per hour to hire these for the work.
    • The ground conditions of where it’s being installed.

    With that being said, the cost will vary depending on the above influences and, as such, you could expect to pay anything from £15,000-£25,000. For pipework alone, it could cost around £2,000 or more. With excavation included for any ground that needs digging up, that could cost hundreds for the hire of a digger driver and for the digger itself.

    Additional costs for a retrofitted heat pump

    When it comes to retrofitting heat pumps into a property’s existing pipework, there’s the cost of replacing radiators and having to fit in additional insulation. This helps improve the home’s ability for ground source heat, and, as a result, it can dramatically increase the installation costs.

    By planning in pipework and materials used for fitting in a ground source heat pump, a lot of disruption to the home’s foundations can be minimised. However, the contribution to the installation costs can be huge when having to change existing emitters, for example.

    The cost of removing the old boiler can also add to the overall balance owed. Removing fuel storage tanks for example may have to be done before work can progress.

    As a total, you could see your installation costs rocket up to £35,000. That’s more than enough money to put down a deposit on another property!

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

    With all that being said, how much do you expect to be paying out on these ground source heat pumps? In order to operate them, you’ll be expected to pay between £540-£700 a year. That’s quite a big saving in comparison to other heating fuel even when using a green boiler!

    For comparisons, you could expect the average costs for oil, LPG and natural gas to be the following:

    • Natural gas – Between £600 and £850 per year.
    • LPG – Between £800 and £1,350 per year.
    • Oil – Between £500 and £1,250 per year.

    In comparison to other heating options including when it comes to air source vs ground source heat pumps, they tend to be the cheapest to run.

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    Types of ground source heat pumps and their costs

    There are a number of ground source heat pumps that you can choose from when it comes to this type of heating system. With that being said, let’s go through each one and how much you’d expect to pay for each type.

    Horizontal ground loops

    Horizontal ground loops are often straight pipes or coiled depending on the brand or provider of the pipework. Between the two, there’s no difference, and they’ll often be chosen depending on the installer or manufacturer you go with.

     These ground loops lay flat along the surface of the property, which will mean that not a huge amount of disruption will be made to your external space.

    Estimated cost: Around £1,200-£1,800, depending on the brand and installers you choose.

    Vertical ground loops

    Vertical ground loops will have boreholes that are drilled to the ground and then connected at the top. The number and depth needed for these boreholes will depend on the size of the heat pump system in place.

    A source heat pump like this one will need around three boreholes for a standard 8kW. There’s not a huge amount of land required, but they will often need to dig around 70m deep to install these.

    Vertical ground loops are often more beneficial for smaller properties or those that may not have a huge amount of land to work with.

    Estimated cost: Between £1,700-£3,000 – a more expensive option than horizontal loops due to the boreholes.

    Water source heat pump

    A water source heat pump is one that’s less common than others, but this can be utilised if you have bodies of water on your land – anything from rivers, ponds, streams and lakes. These water source heat pumps are installed via pond mats that are put underwater.

    There are benefits to these ones as they don’t need to do any digging per see, but it also provides a better return on your energy, improving its efficiency as a whole. They’re a great option if you’re looking for minimal fuss and a great one that’s likely the most efficient out of the types available.

    Estimated cost: Around £1,700 for domestic and £1,000 for commercial projects.

    How does the cost of a ground source heat pump compare to a boiler?

    Up until recently, there have been very few contenders that go up against the heating system that is the boiler. However, when it comes to the heat pump, there are some benefits that you get with this option, despite the hefty purchase and installation cost.

    When comparing the ground source heat pump to the boiler, it’s good to compare them on a number of factors. With around five percent of houses in the UK not heated using a central heating system back in 2018, many rely on the use of boilers as heating for their homes.

    Heating pumps aren’t something you should rule out completely, as there are some benefits that come with the costs involved when using them in comparison to boilers.

    In order to compare the costs between a source heat pump and a gas boiler, here are some basic costs that are expected for an average two-floor house of 200m2 built back in 2010.

    The admitted heating space demand for this property would be around 25,000 kWh per year. Let’s break that down in terms of costs:

    Heat pumps run on electricity, and boilers typically burn gas. Electricity costs between 12p and 24p per kWh and natural gas between 3p and 5p.

    So for powering a house that needs 25,000 kWh, a natural gas boiler is likely to be better. However, there is a rise in costs for gas, and we may see a substantial gap closure between electricity and gas over the next few years.

    Get a price on some of the best combi boilers here that are hydrogen ready for the big switch over. These hydrogen ready combi boilers can run on up to 20% hydrogen and natural gas, right out of the box.

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    How to reduce heat pump operation costs

    The cost of buying and installing heat pumps is a costly one, and, therefore, many homeowners choose not to opt for this option for heating their homes. However, with gas prices rising, this may be an option that becomes more popular for those who need to reduce their utility bills over time.

    Here are a couple of ways that you can reduce your heat pump operation costs to make it a more attractive opportunity for heating your home.


    Load shifting means making an effort to move your electricity consumption to off-peak hours. This means that you can save on costs over time by not using your heating during those key points in the day.

    Peak hours would be moving your dishwasher run, for example, after dinner to lunch the next day. With devices that help you automate or time when you want to set it off, this is easily doable.

    Just this slight change made here and there on a daily basis can reduce your consumption, and that can be beneficial when saving money over the year.

    Whilst it doesn’t really impact those initial buying and installation costs, it may help make back your investment quickly if you can save money on your bills.

    Sign up for the renewable heat incentive if eligible

    A great way to help save money is by signing up for the RHI if it’s something that’s available and that you’re eligible for. The government is keen to make the country a more sustainable place in more ways than one. In order to protect our world and the health of the environment, it’s an incentive that you should take full advantage of.

    Not only do you have the bragging rights of being more energy-efficient, but you can also save money on your bills.

    There are several heat pump incentives that you could take advantage of, including the Renewable Heat Incentive that’s closing for new applicants on 31st March 2022.

    This scheme offers payback for those who have renewable heat-generating technologies in their homes. The payment you’ll receive will be a lot higher depending on whether you choose a ground source heat pump or air source heat pumps.

    The RHI scheme pays back 21.16p/kW for each kWh of heat that’s produced by the heat pump. That’s a great saving to be made on your bills!

    You’ve also got The Boiler Upgrade Scheme, originally referred to as the Clean Heat Grant. This scheme runs from April 2022 to April 2025 and offers a fixed payment towards the installation of a heat pump and even biomass boilers in some cases.

    With this scheme, you can claim up to £6,000 towards the installation of your ground source heat pump. That’s a great chunk of money that you could shave off the final total and help you save more money in the future.

    There’s more information to be found here on this scheme as it’s not presently known how you would apply for this scheme when it comes available.

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    What size of heat pump system does your house need?

    What sized heat pump system do you need for your home? It’s important to choose a heat pump size that’s going to heat the house and no more than that. You don’t want to waste your money spending on an 8kWh heat pump if your home will never produce more than half that amount.

    A modern 4-bedroom house is likely to need an 8kWh heat source, but some may end up installing 10kWh boilers that aren’t necessary.

    There are some reasons for oversizing, but when it comes to a domestic household, you’re only going to need a heat pump that satisfies your home’s output in order to achieve efficiency.

    It’s always worth considering what you’ll need, but if you’re unsure, it’s best to ask the professionals who will be helping to fit and install the pump itself. A ground source heat pump can be difficult to pick from if you have no experience or knowledge of what’s required.

    Avoid buying it yourself and get your ground source heat pump sourced by those who you pay to fit it in your home.

    Planning permission and building regulations for ground source heat pumps

    When it comes to planning permission and building regulations required for ground source heat pumps, there’s nothing really visible externally that would be considered for permitted developments.

    That means that you shouldn’t really require any type of planning permission to do this on your land. However, it is a good idea to keep your neighbours informed on what you’re doing. When you’re hiring diggers to dig up some of the ground, it may make for a noise complaint or two if you’ve not informed them of your actions.

    Whilst it’s not strictly needed, it’s a good way of keeping the peace.

    Another thing to consider when it comes to your property is if it’s in a conservation area or overlooked by a listed properly in particular. This would be a good opportunity to contact the appropriate authorities in order to let them know what your plans are and if this would impact the project or not.

    The last thing you want to do is go to install a ground source pump and you’re suddenly met with a barrage of complaints or requests to cease work.

    Is a ground source heat pump system right for you?

    So is a ground source heat pump the right move for your home? That really depends on your finances available. Despite the available grants available for a ground source heat pump, the costs to install it are substantial, to say the least. find if a heat pump is better than a boiler here

    Heat pumps are ideal emitters for underfloor heating, so it’s worth considering what you have on your property and whether these heat pumps are an ideal investment for the long run.

    Some things to consider when it comes to making the decision of whether it’s right for you or not would be:

    • Do I have the available funds to spend on a likely expensive project?
    • Are there any problems that could restrict the completion of this project?
    • Do the costs make sense when it comes to running a ground source heat pump over time?
    • Are their heating sources, like underfloor heating, that would benefit from a source heat pump?

    It’s worth totalling up the costs that come with a ground source heat pump, especially as they come in a variety of types and costs. Like solar energy, a ground source heat pump may be beneficial for the environment but not always for our back pockets.

    However, on the flip side, the increase in heating bills may encourage more people to invest in a ground source heat pump in the future.

    Whatever you decide, a ground source heat pump is certainly a great option for homeowners looking to be more energy efficient this year. With the right heat distribution system in place, there can be a good saving made with a heat pump.

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    There are some fantastic benefits to a ground source heat pump, but it’s always worth knowing everything about these heating alternatives before spending your money.

    Here are some frequently asked questions on ground source heat pumps that are good to know when considering them for your home.

    Is a ground source heat pump cheaper than a boiler in the long run?

    When it comes to comparing the two, new boiler cost and the installation of a gas boiler installation is cheaper than a ground source heat pump. However, in the long run, you’ll get your investment back when you buy a heat pump. As they’re fully automated, you’ll find that the pumps use less electricity than a standard boiler would.

    A heat pump lasts around 25 years, whereas a boiler would need to be replaced every 15 years.

    Is a ground source heat pump better than an air source one?

    Ground source heat pumps are often considered more efficient than an air source heat pump. The reason for this mainly is that they’re better at providing more renewable heating.

    It depends on how much you want to spend on your heating as there are pros and cons to either, particularly with ground source ones being more expensive to install.

    Who are the leading heat pump brands?

    Some of the leading heat pump brands in the UK right now are Vaillant, Daikin, Calorex, LG, Mitsubishi, Dimplex, and CTC. As the interest in ground source heat pumps grows, so too do the brands and companies responsible for providing them.

    The type of ground source heat pump you choose will influence running costs and the cost you pay overall.

    Is a ground source pump a reliable, year-round heating system?

    Whilst they do cost a lot more than conventional heating systems, they provide low maintenance and are reliable for over twenty years at least. As a year-round heating system, they’re worth the investment.

    With underfloor heating, it’s more efficient to have a ground source heat pump over a standard boiler. So there are some additional benefits to consider.

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    Written by
    James Elston
    James Elston Director Of Boiler Central
    Posted on: 15th November 2023
    Topic: heat pumps

    James Elston is our resident boiler replacement and heating expert here at Boiler Central. With over 20 years experience in the boiler installation industry, James ensures that he knows everything there is about our Gas Safe boiler installations, energy saving and home heating solutions. This can be from simply procuring the latest best combi boilers, to reviewing and ensuring that Boiler Central maintains the highest standards across our boiler installation company.

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