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Last updated on September 26th, 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. Keep reading for the cost to install a ground source heat pump (GSHP).
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With the growing popularity of green energy solutions in the UK, many homeowners are looking for alternative heating options for their homes – such as ground source heat pumps.

With the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) running until 2025, ground source heat pumps are expected to become more viable and popular in the UK. The BUS could see you receive £7,500 towards your GSHP. The grant applies to air source heat pumps too.

Ground source heat pumps absorb solar energy from the ground and transfer it to water, which in turn heats your home and hot water. The GSHP system involves installing a system of loops in the ground that sit either horizontally or vertically in the ground.

Ground source heat pumps need some electricity to run, but the heat energy they absorb from the ground is constantly renewed. This means they generate far more energy than they use.

In this price guide, we look at the average ground source heat pump installation costs as well as the savings they can provide in your heating bills.

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

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.

ItemRange - LowRange - HighAverage
Ground source heat pump supply & install (typically 4-12kW)£12,000£30,000£14,000
(a) Horizontal ground loop (space dependent) £6,000£14,000£10,000
(b) Vertical bore holes£10,000£20,000£15,000
(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

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, while some manufacturers estimate a £8,000 starting point for the supply cost only for smaller pumps.

The total cost of your ground source heat pump will vary depending on the type and complexity of the pump system, the size, insulation, and heat distribution system of your house, and 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.

Even though the cost of installing a ground source heat pump might seem off-putting at first, there are government schemes in place to offset some of the costs.

Different types of ground source heat pumps

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

As a rough estimate, you’d be spending around £25 - £40 per metre to dig, and your overall cost will be about £4,000 - £6,000 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 £30,000.

Cost of horizontal ground source heat pumps

Unlike their vertical counterparts, horizontal ground source installation costs are much lower. You’d be spending around £18,000 for the installation in all.

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Calculate savings from installing a GSHP

One of the significant advantages of installing a ground source heat pump is the savings on your ongoing energy bills. It’s estimated that you can save up to £1,500 – £2,400 per year on your heating bill when you replace an old electric system with a GSHP (Source: Energy Saving Trust. Based on July 2023 energy prices).

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. Switching from an old (G-rated) gas boiler to a heat pump will provide the smallest savings but will still be around £710 per year.

Swapping your old oil boiler for a GSHP will save you around £195 – £880 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 £1,500 – £2,400) or old LPG boilers (about £230£850). 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

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.

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)
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