High energy bills are a key concern for many households and with prices continuing to rise at a much faster rate than income, many people are looking for ways to save money on their monthly outgoings. Of course, there are steps we can take to save energy, such as installing insulation and turning off appliances that are not in use, but this will only take you so far. To really save money in the longer term, you might want to consider investing in a ground source heat pump.
So, what is a ground source heat pump and how does it work?
In a nutshell, a ground source heat pump harnesses the natural heat of the ground, through a system of pipes buried deep in your garden. A mixture of water and antifreeze is circulated through the pipes, absorbing heat from the ground. The heated liquid is then passed through a heat exchanger into the heat pump, and is then used to heat the radiators, underfloor heating and hot water in your home. As the temperature underground stays fairly constant, the heat pump can be used all year round.
There are many benefits to switching to a ground source heat pump. They are very low maintenance, and once installed should need very little upkeep. Similarly, you do not have to arrange or rely on any fuel deliveries. Ground source heat systems are also beneficial to the environment, reducing the amount of carbon emissions that your home produces.
However, the greatest benefit of this kind of heating system is its ability to offer a lifetime supply of heating and hot water, potentially leading to significant savings for you and your family.
The exact amount you will save is difficult to predict as it depends on a number of factors, including your heat distribution system (e.g. underfloor heating tends to be more efficient than radiators), your electricity costs, the efficiency of your old heating system, and how you use the new system. However, as a guide, an average four bedroom detached house can expect to save anywhere between £400 and £2,000 per year, depending on the energy source being replaced.
Installation of a ground source heat pump system typically costs in the region of £11,000 to £15,000. The cost of running the system depends on a number of variables such how large your home is and how well-insulated it is.
This may sound costly, but it is a sensible investment that can reap considerable savings in the long term. You could also be eligible for financial support via the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive.
While ground source heat pumps can undoubtedly be beneficial, they are not recommended for all homes. Before deciding to go ahead, there are some key elements you need to consider, such as the size of your property, the suitability of your garden, your current fuel and heating system, and whether your home is well insulated – a well-insulated house is vital to getting the optimal results from your ground source heat pump.
If you are considering getting a ground source heat pump installed, make sure you use a properly accredited supplier to ensure the quality of the work. A pump that is installed incorrectly will not run efficiently, negating any expected benefits.
It may seem like a large investment, but installed correctly and in a suitable property, a ground source heat pump can reap significant long term benefits, providing you with a constant supply of heating and hot water and offering those all-important savings on your energy bills.
Sean Casey is the director of Terra Therma. His company specialises in the installation of green energy solutions, such as underfloor heating and heat pumps, using the latest technology to provide the most efficient systems for his customers.