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Last updated on October 5th, 2023

How much does a ground source heat pump cost?

Installing ground source heat pumps have become more realistic with the introduction of grants to help homeowners afford this home improvement. Find out how much it costs to get a ground source heat pump installed in your home, and how much you could save in bills by installing one.

How much do ground source heat pumps cost in the UK?

It costs on average between £18,000 - £50,000 to install a ground source heat pump. This may sound like quite an investment, but government grants are available to support you. The grant available is through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS), where you could be entitled up to £7,500.

The initial cost of a ground source heat pump is made up of the cost of the equipment (about 50% of the total cost) and the cost of the installation.

The most significant chunk of the installation cost comes from the groundwork or drilling required to lay the heat exchange pipework.

The table below shows a breakdown of the costs to install a ground source heat pump and the costs of the heat pump itself.

Use the cost table below as a ground source heat pump cost calculator:

ItemRange - LowRange - HighAverage
Ground source heat pump supply & install (typically 4-12kW)£12,000£30,000£14,000
Options
(a) Horizontal ground loop (space dependent) £6,000£14,000£10,000
(b) Vertical bore holes£10,000£20,000£15,000
Options
(a) Upgrade to larger radiators (assume 10 in property) £2,000£5,000£3,000
(b) Underfloor heating£5,000£15,000£10,000
Insulation upgrades
Upgraded insulation – wall (assuming cavity wall insulation)£500£3,000£2,000
Upgraded insulation – roof (assuming blanket roll)£500£2,000£1,500
Upgraded insulation - floor£1,000£5,000 (if floors are damaged and coverings need replacing)£3,000

Our costs are ballpark averages – get a local tradesperson to quote now

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

The initial cost of installing a ground source heat pump is relatively expensive when compared to standard boiler installation.

An average ground source heat pump installation cost for a typical, non-commercial house falls within the bracket of £18,000 - £50,000. This is a reasonably safe estimate of the minimum and maximum costs, and the bracket covers various different-size pumps and houses plus groundwork requirements.

The Energy Saving Trust places the price of a typical GSHP system between £28,000 - £49,000.

The total cost of your ground source heat pump will vary depending on:

  • The type and complexity of the pump system
  • The size
  • Insulation
  • The heat distribution system of your house
  • The amount and type of groundwork required for the installation – For example, an average 2-bedroom house might need a 4 kW heat pump, while a 4-bed home is best fitted with an 8 kW pump

Another factor affecting the cost is the way your heat exchange pipework will be laid down.

If you have space on your property, the pipework can be buried horizontally in shallow trenches. For smaller properties, the pipework usually needs to be buried in vertical boreholes. The groundwork for the boreholes is usually about twice as expensive as that for trenches.

Different types of ground source heat pumps

Several factors affect the cost of installing a ground source heat pump:

  • Ground source heat pump type
  • Ground source heat pump size (big enough for your home)
  • COP (Coefficient of Performance)
  • Amount and level of heat needed
  • Heat source temperature

There are two types of ground source heat pumps available – vertical ground source heat pumps and horizontal ground source heat pumps.

Since one is vertical and the other horizontal, the cost of installing them varies.

Cost of vertical ground source heat pumps

The cost of vertical ground source heat pumps is higher to install as they require a deeper borehole. This will need to be around 50 – 100 metres deep.

As a rough estimate, you’d be spending around £50 - £70 per metre to dig, and your overall cost will be about £5,000 - £7,000 per borehole. Since each borehole can generate 4kW, a 12kW system will require three boreholes, which is around £15,000 on average.

When you add in the cost of the ground source heat pump and its installation, you’re looking at approximately anywhere between £18,000 - £50,000.

Cost of horizontal ground source heat pumps

Unlike their vertical counterparts, horizontal ground source installation costs are much lower. This is because they only require a bore hole of between one and two metres deep. This has a huge impact on installation costs.

You’d be spending anywhere between £18,000 and £44,000 for the heat pump and installation.

When comparing the two ground source heat pump types, always speak to a professional heat pump installer. They can help to pick the right heat pump for your home and provide a more accurate quote for the job.

Aim to collect three quotes for the job too to make sure you’re getting a fair price.

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Calculate savings from installing a GSHP

When you install a ground source heat pump, you can realistically save up to £1,400 - £2,200) per year on your heating bill when you replace an old electric system with a GSHP (Source: Energy Saving Trust. Based on October 2023 energy prices).

Switching from an old (G-rated) gas boiler to a heat pump will provide the smallest savings, around £560 per year.

Energy savings will depend on several key factors, including your existing heating system, the size of your property, and your new ground source heat pump system.

Swapping your old oil boiler for a GSHP will save you around £325 - £1,000 per year, while switching from coal to a heat pump can save up to £2,000.

The most significant savings can be gained from switching from electric heaters (about £1,400 - £2,200) or old LPG boilers (about £365 - £980). Newer A-rated heating systems are more cost-efficient and thus provide smaller savings, but a swap to a GSHP will still give a significantly smaller environmental footprint.

If you get a horizontal GSHP installed, you will see returns on your investment sooner than for a vertical GSHP because of the difference in installation costs.

Ground source heat pump installation costs

Comparison of GHSPs, ASHPs, and Gas Boilers in 2023

Costs involvedASHPGSHPGas Boiler
Annual running cost£868£868£887
Annual total benefit vs gas£19£19N/A
Seven year benefit vs gas£133£133N/A
Initial cost£15,000£30,000N/A
Initial cost with Boiler Upgrade Scheme£7,500£22,500N/A

Great tips to save even more

Combine heat pump with solar

The real savings with changing from gas boilers to heat pumps is if you can combine heat pumps with solar panels and batteries.

By combining your heat pump and solar, you can self-generate electricity to power the heat pump, rather than paying for electricity from the grid.

If you remove your gas boiler

Another option is if you remove your gas boiler, do you need gas in your home anymore? For example, for a gas cooker, hobs or fireplace?

If not, then you could explore disconnecting your gas supply. You won’t have to pay the gas standing charge (currently 30p per day and £110 per year).

Financial support to install a ground source heat pump

When you’re thinking about installing a ground source heat pump, it’s essential that you do your research into the grants available. There are many financial grant support schemes in the UK to help with GSHP installation costs. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) being the most widely accessible.

The grant is available to UK homeowners and certain types of landlords. Under the scheme the maximum funding available is £7,500 for air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps.

Other grants are available depending on where you live in the UK and your financial situation. To find out if you’re eligible for a grant, contact your local authority.

Benefits of installing a ground source heat pump

There are a range of benefits of having a ground source heat pump installed in your home, such as:

  • A green energy solution that minimises impact on the environment
  • Minimal use of electricity to operate
  • Reduced energy bills
  • Eligible for financial support with the RHI scheme
  • Very low maintenance

The main disadvantages of having a GSHP installed are the initial cost, which can be pretty expensive, and the disruption of digging for the installation. But once it’s installed, you have a long-lasting, renewable source of green energy for your home.

Considerations before installing a ground source heat pump

Installing a ground source heat pump is a considerable investment for any homeowner. Even with a grant, a large financial outlay will be required. You may also want to consider the efficiency of your new heating system and what’s involved in the installation.

Some important things to think about before installing a ground source heat pump include:

  • Efficiency of your new heating system
  • The best type of GSHP for your home
  • Installation disruption and time scale
  • Installer experience and qualifications

This final point is perhaps the most important. If your GSHP is not properly installed it could have a negative impact on your heating system’s performance.

Make sure that you’re working with a reputable installer by choosing a Checkatrade-approved ground source heat pump specialist.

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Useful ground source heat pump installation checklist

  • Always speak to your local ground source heat pump experts for their advice
  • Review other green energy options, such as air source heat pumps, as the GSHP might not be best suited for your home
  • Your house will need to be well-insulated to get the greatest benefits of a heat pump
  • As a general rule, radiators for a heat pump system will need to be two and a half times larger than normal (say a gas combi boiler) to provide the same heat output
  • Always hire experienced tradespeople to install your ground source heat pump and ensure they’re accredited to the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS)

FAQs

Is a ground source heat pump worth it in the UK?

Yes. Although the initial costs are higher than other heating systems, you will make significant savings in the long run.

Government grants are also available to help with GSHP installation costs. These are part of the government’s latest energy efficiency targets and are available to homeowners across the UK.

How to find a good ground source heat pump installer?

Working with a skilled and experienced ground source heat pump installer is essential if you want a high quality installation. One of the best ways to find a good GSHP installer is through online reviews and third party installer sites such as Checkatrade.

All our members are fully vetted and have a wide ranging experience in their particular area.

Can I install a ground source heat pump myself?

Ground source heat pumps should be installed by a fully qualified heating specialist. If you want to reduce installation costs, you may wish to dig the trenches for the heat pump installation.

This is a reasonably straightforward job for a horizontal ground source heat pump. For a vertical ground source heat pump, however, you’ll probably need to hire a mechanical excavator.

What are the disadvantages of a GSHP?

The main disadvantages of installing a GSHP are:

  • Expensive to install
  • Additional cost may be involved post installation
  • Installation can be disruptive
  • Not suitable for properties with small gardens
  • They can take up more space than other boilers
  • They may not be compatible with your existing radiators
  • Financial savings will not be seen immediately

Do you need planning permission to install a GSHP?

No. In most cases ground source heat pumps are considered as permitted development and will not require planning permission.

Can I get a grant for a ground source heat pump?

Yes. The government are currently running the Boiler Upgrade Scheme. This is open to all UK homeowners.

The BUS could see you receive £7,500 towards your GSHP.

How much land is needed for a ground source heat pump?

The average GSHP will require between 600 and 1,200 square metres of land to install. The more powerful the GSHP, the more land you will need to lay the ground loops.

Always make sure to speak to a professional, qualified and experienced ground source heat pump installer. You can find a professional nearby on our tradesperson search. Enter your postcode below to get started.

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Working with professional estimators, we collate cost estimates for the common home improvement and repair jobs in the UK.

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