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At the moment, ground source heat pumps are getting a lot of attention among homeowners.

A ground source heat pump can attain efficiencies of 400 percent, which is considerably more than the maximum efficiency achieved by any other technology.

The difference in efficiency is significant. That’s because, unlike boilers, heat pumps deliver more energy than they consume – particularly from electricity.

In this article, we take a look at the different ground source heat pump prices and compare the geothermal heating cost for a typical family home.


How Does Ground Source Heating Work?

A ground source heat pump transfers heat from the ground to heat your home. During the cold winter months, it pulls heat from the earth and uses this energy to warm your home.

The system has two parts – an indoor unit that houses all of the electronics and a closed-loop pipe, which is buried either under a layer of soil in a shallow trench or, more expensively but providing more efficiency, allowed to sink into loose gravel beneath several feet of topsoil.

Ground Source Heat Pump Grant

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a grant available to homeowners looking to install a ground source heat pump or other energy-efficient technology. To qualify, the property must be occupied by a low-income family or fall into one of the government’s other categories.

The program began in April 2013, and it has been modified several times since then. On March 31 2022, the ECO3 plan will be terminated. The newest policy, which is still unnamed at this time, will go into effect on April 1 2022 and will cover actions completed up until March 31, 2026.

Who is eligible for ECO? 

ECO is available to all UK households on a low income, regardless of their fuel usage or location. To be eligible, you must live in an E-G home with an energy efficiency rating of “low.”

1. Receive one of the following benefits:

  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit Element
  • Income-related employment and support allowance (ESA)
  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance (JSA)
  • Income support Working and Child Tax Credits
  • Universal Credit

2. Receive one of the newly introduced benefits:

  • Armed forces independent payment
  • Attendance allowance
  • Carer’s allowance
  • Disability living allowance
  • Severe disablement allowance
  • War pensions mobility supplement
  • Industrial injuries disablement benefit
  • Personal independence payment
  • Constant attendance allowance

3. Receive child benefits

On the condition that the claimant’s yearly income from all sources does not exceed the amount indicated below:

For one qualifying child for which the person is responsible:

  • For a single claimant – £18,500
  • Member of a couple – £25,500

For two qualifying children for which the person is responsible:

  • For a single claimant – £23,000
  • Member of a couple – £30,000

For three qualifying children for which the person is responsible:

  • For a single claimant – £27,500
  • Member of a couple – £34,500

For four qualifying children for which the person is responsible:

  • For a single claimant – £32,000
  • Member of a couple – £39,000

Ground Source Heat Pump Installation Cost

A ground-source heat pump can cost anywhere from £2,000 to £15,000, depending on size and brand.

This expense is likely to be three to four times more than a gas combi boiler and twice as much as an air source heat pump.

The high-quality components of the heat pump may add a significant amount to the cost of materials in some cases, effectively doubling it.

The high-end heat pumps have higher quality parts and sophisticated onboard software for managing and monitoring the entire heat pump operation, as well as more expensive alloys in the case and component manufacture.

Installation and ground loop costs, as well as other peripheral materials, can significantly increase the price of a ground source heat pump system.

A four-bedroom house, constructed to Building Regulations standards, will require an 8kW heat pump, which costs about £6,000 – £7,000, with the remainder being the installation cost that varies considerably depending on the ground conditions.

Another sustainable alternative is a biomass boiler, which can cost anything from £11,000 to £25,000.

Ground Source Heat Pump Running Costs

Assuming that you have a property with an annual heat load of 15,000kWh and a ground source heat pump, the electric consumption should be between 3600 and 4700 kWh.

This is based on the cost of a unit of electricity at around 15p per kWh and the typical efficiency of a ground source heat pump at 320 percent to 420 percent.

In comparison, the following are the approximate costs of utilizing various heating fuels:

  • Oil: between £500 and £1,250 per year.
  • LPG: between £825 and £1,320 per year.
  • Natural gas: between £660 and £825 per year.

It costs £890 per year to operate a gas boiler, and £750 for an air source heat pump, which is around the same as a gas central heating system.

Borehole Ground Source Heat Pump Cost

To install a ground source heat pump you will need to get some pipework installed. This is by far the most expensive part of the installation process.

Typically, you will need to drill a set of boreholes between 100 and 300 metres in depth.

The number of boreholes needed will depend on the size of your property and how much heat you want to pump from the ground into your home.

For a 12-kW system, an average borehole contributing 4kW to the heat system costs between £4,000 and £6,000 and requires three of these for a 12kW systems, so £12,000 to £18,000 for the drilling of the boreholes.

These are just estimates; the cost of boring a hole varies considerably depending on such factors as the type of equipment used, the location, design and construction method employed.

Borehole systems are very efficient but they can be expensive to install compared with other ground-source heat pumps. However, if you are replacing an old heating system then this may actually help to reduce the overall cost per year by reducing your energy consumption even further

A ground loop can be used in two ways: a horizontal ground loop or a vertical ground loop.

A horizontal system entails trenches that are about 1.2 meters deep and is most often utilized where there is adequate outside space.

When less room is available, a vertical borehole must be dug to depths of approximately 100 m. Regardless of the type of GSHP you pick, ground loops must be factored into the price!

The cost of a bigger GSHP will be higher because of the amount of excavation, the larger water cylinder, and other factors.

The expense also depends on the site and the complexity of the installation. You may apply for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) – a government program to encourage renewable heating that offers quarterly payments for the quantity of clean and green heat your system generates after installation is complete.

A fantastic scheme that also saves you money on your utility bills while providing a better return on your investment!

Ground Source Heat Pump Cost Calculator

The prices are the same for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

Ground Source Heat Pump Advantages And Disadvantages

Advantages of Heat Pumps are:

  • Much safer than systems that are based on combustion.
  • Less maintenance.
  • Better Safety.
  • They are cheaper to run than oil and gas boilers.
  • Reduces Carbon Emissions.
  • Provides Cooling.
  • They have a very long lifespan of up to 50 years. As a result, they are extremely reliable and a steady source of heat.
  • Eligible for the RHI scheme.

Disadvantages of Heat Pumps are:

  • High upfront cost
  • The installation process will require a significant amount of labor and disruption to your property. On-site work will have to be completed, such as the penetration of walls.
  • Difficult to install
  • Heat pumps require electricity in order to function, thus they will never be completely carbon-neutral.
  • Questionable Sustainability
  • Requires significant work
  • Issues in cold weather
  • Not entirely carbon neutral
  • Planning permissions required


How deep do you need to dig for a ground source heat pump?

You'll need one or more boreholes for vertical ground loops, which on average will be 100 metres deep. This implies you'll need trenches that are approximately 1-2 meters deep if you want horizontal ground loops.

How much land do I need for a ground source heat pump?

The longest pipe loop will be 400 meters, but depending on the size of the heat pump that you want to install, you may need two or more ground loops. The typical system will require 600 - 1200 square metres of land. There must be no trees or structures on this land.

Do ground source heat pumps use a lot of electricity?

No, heat pumps do not require a lot of electricity to function. In fact, they can provide you with three to four units of heat for every unit of electricity that you use. However, if your home is not connected to the electrical grid, then a ground source heat pump may not be suitable for you.

A ground-source heat pump may produce 3 to 4 kW of heat for every 1 kW of electricity it consumes. It obtains greater efficiency than any other heating system by using freely available geothermal energy from the soil.

What is the life expectancy of a geothermal system?

The heat pump in a geothermal heat pump system has an average 20-year lifespan, with a 25- to 50-year lifespan for the subterranean infrastructure. They also transport three to five times more energy than they consume between a building's interior space and the ground.

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