Heat pumps operate like a domestic fridge in reverse. They extract free, renewable heat energy from the earth, water or air, which can then be used in a water heating system, typically underfloor heating or radiators. Watch a short video here

Heat pumps are a highly efficient, cost-effective means of providing space heating. The output heat energy can be up to 4 times greater than the electrical power input –  something not possible with other methods of heating.

They work well with under floor heating systems in very well insulated buildings and can even be used with radiators.

Domestic Heat Pumps

Is my home suitable?

When it comes to ground source heating, you have two options:

  • The lower cost option is to bury coils of pipe in vertical trenches just below the ground surface. This requires an area of ground large enough to extract sufficient heat for your system. The exact area will be determined by the size of your system. It is important to calculate this accurately. The amount of pipe and area of land you need will be worked out to run your system as efficiently as possible. The calculations should also be accurate for your RHI payments to be validated, as it can impact the efficiency of your system.

As the heat pump works by extracting heat from the ground around the pipes, it is also crucial to make sure that your system is designed with the correct spacing around the pipes. If the spacing is not adequate it can lead to the ground becoming too cold around and the system failing.

Digging the trenches and burying the pipes involves considerable ground works, and can get muddy, however, once the pipes are buried and the soil is leveled there will be no obvious signs of the install. You can seed the area with grass, however, it would be unwise to build any permanent structures over it.

  • The other option is a single deep ground source loop. The main benefit of a single loop is that it requires less space – some customers have had them installed by their driveway. However, the drilling rig used to create the deep bore holes can be too costly for some homeowners. The ground works are less intrusive than the trench option, can be carried out quickly and only require a small area of land. This option is ideal for homes in residential areas without access to mains gas, and if you can make the initial upfront investment the system will give you great returns.

How does it work?

A ground source heat pump circulates a mixture of water and antifreeze around a loop of pipe – called a ground loop – which is buried in your garden. Heat from the ground is absorbed into the fluid and then passes through a heat exchanger into the heat pump. The ground stays at a fairly constant temperature under the surface, so the heat pump can be used throughout the year – even in the middle of winter.


A ground source heat pump (also known as GSHP):

  • could lower your fuel bills, especially if you replace conventional electric, oil or LPG heating
  • could provide you with an income through the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
  • could lower your home’s carbon emissions, depending on which fuel you are replacing
  • doesn’t need fuel deliveries
  • can heat your home and provide hot water
  • needs little maintenance – they’re called ‘fit and forget’ technology.

    Unlike gas and oil boilers, heat pumps deliver heat at lower temperatures over much longer periods. During the winter they may need to be on constantly to heat your home efficiently. You will also notice that radiators won’t feel as hot to the touch as they might do when you are using a gas or oil boiler.


Renewable Heat Incentive

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is split into Domestic and Non-Domestic tariffs.

Domestic RHI

The scheme is now open for householders looking to replace their current heating system with a supported renewable heat technology and householders who have installed eligible renewable heat technology since 15 July 2009. The domestic RHI will pay owners the following:

Ground Source Heat Pumps 18.8p/kWh
Air Source Heat Pumps 7.3p/kWh
Solar Thermal >19.2p/KWh
Biomass Boilers 12.2p/kWh

The RHI criteria for eligibility are available via Ofgem. We are happy to talk through the best options for your individual situation and remain completely impartial. The Energy Saving Trust and YouGen also provide independent information easily accessible via their websites.

Read our Domestic RHI fact sheet here

What happens next?

When you are ready to go ahead with investing in a heat pump system, we will arrange for a survey of your home. One of our team will come and get all the details we need for your install to go smoothly.

We will check you have a suitable location to install the heat pump, and any associated ground works (for GSHP’s). We rarely find any problems, but in the unlikely event there is an issue we can advise on the best solution. If we feel that an alternative technology would provide better benefits for your home and budget, then we will advise you on potential alternatives. We are accredited for a variety of products, and will always aim to give impartial advice, so that our recommendations are based solely on your needs and requirements.

We’ll take all the measurements we need so that we can design your system, carefully planning how to add it in to any existing heating and pipework. We will also need to measure the rooms and other spaces in your home so that we can carefully calculate your potential heat losses. This is important so that we can make sure the system is sized accurately – this is important for you to get a really efficient system. It is also important if you care claiming the RHI for your system as it has to be carefully matched to your predicted usage. We will carefully explain all the details and talk through any special requirements you might have.

Once we have all the information we need, we can provide you with a quote for your install. This will give you our recommendations and options for the heat pump system we think will give you the maximum benefits.

When you are ready to go ahead, we will arrange your install at a time that suits you for the installers to come to your home.


Heat pumps are sealed units, and therefore shouldn’t require high levels of maintenance. If you are claiming the RHI your system should be maintained following manufacturers guidlines. Spotting any potential issues early will also save on repair costs later.

We can offer maintenance contracts for all domestic heat pump installs.