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How much does a water source heat pump cost

With the government's sustainability goals set to ramp up by 2050, there are lots of renewable energy options. Keep reading for our breakdown of what a water heat source pump is, the pros and cons, and how much it's likely to set you back.

Water source heat pumps are becoming an increasingly popular choice for homeowners due to their energy-efficient and environmentally friendly attributes.

As a great alternative to traditional gas or electric water heaters, water source heat pumps (along with their ground source and air source counterparts) are a good option for homeowners looking for a sustainable and future-proof energy solution.

Let’s take a look at the price of water source heat pumps, their pros and cons, and whether they’re the right option for you.

What is a water source heat pump?

Wondering what water source heat pumps does and how they work?

Put simply, a water source heat pump (WSHP) takes water from a nearby source, filters, compresses, and stores it, and then transfers it to your home when you need it.

How does a water sourced heat pump work?

  1. Uses a refrigerant to extract heat (thermal) energy from a body of water (e.g., lake, river, or well)
  2. Filters it through a heat exchanger, which heats the water in the associated storage tank
  3. Compresses the refrigerant and raises its temperature
  4. Uses the transfer of energy to heat your home and hot water


This process means water source heat pumps can extract heat from very cold bodies of water (e.g., a winter lake). As water is a fantastic thermal conductor, water source heat pumps can be more efficient than ground-source heat pumps and over 400% more efficient than gas heating.

In real terms, this means cheaper energy bills, sustainable heating, and major environmentally friendly kudos.

Water source heat pump advantages and disadvantages

This all sounds great, of course, but surely there are pros and cons to such a great heating solution? Let’s take a look at the top reasons to invest in a WSHP and some reasons they might not be right for you.

Advantages of water source heat pumps

Energy efficient

Water source heat pumps use less energy than traditional water heaters, making them super efficient. This is because they use the thermal energy from a nearby water source to heat your home’s water supply, which leads to significant savings on your energy bills.

Environmentally friendly

Water source heat pumps produce fewer CO2 emissions compared to traditional water heaters. This makes them a more environmentally friendly choice for homeowners looking to reduce their carbon footprint.

They’re long-lasting

Water source heat pumps can last up to 20 years or more, making them a long-term and sustainable investment for your home.

They’re multi-functional

You can use water-source heat pumps for both heating and cooling your home, which helps you save extra pennies on your energy bills.

Disadvantages of water source heat pumps

Pricy upfront cost

Water source heat pumps are more expensive to buy and install compared to traditional water heaters, which makes them less accessible for some homeowners.

They take up a lot of space

Water source heat pumps take up more room than traditional water heaters. This is due to the associated storage tank, which keeps all the pumped and heated water primed for when you need it.

Limited availability

In order to work, water source heat pumps need access to a nearby water source. So, if you don’t live by a body of water like a lake, well or river, they aren’t a viable option.

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Water source heat pump cost

The cost of a water source heat pump can vary depending on several factors, such as the size of the unit, the complexity of the installation, and the location of the water source.

It’s also worth noting that most homes need to install upgrades to support water-source heat pumps. For example, new pipes, radiators or upgraded insulation might be needed, all of which add to your overall costs.

Water source heat pump supply & install (typically 4-12kW)£6,000£11,000£8,000
Required pipework
(a) External pipework (to and from body of water)£6,000£15,000£10,000
(b) Vertical bore holes£10,000£40,000£30,000
Potential upgrades
(a) Upgrade to larger radiators (assume 10 in property); or£1,000£3,000£2,000
(b) Underfloor heating£5,000£15,000£10,000
Upgraded insulation – wall (assuming cavity wall insulation)£500£1,000£1,000
Upgraded insulation – roof (assuming blanket roll)£500£1,000£1,000
Upgraded insulation - floor£1,000£5,000 (if floors are damaged and coverings need replacing)£2,000

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

Keep in mind that installation costs can also add to the total cost of a water source heat pump. However, WSHP customers can benefit from the Boiler Upgrade Scheme with £6,000 towards a ground source heat pump (including water source heat pumps and those on shared ground loops).

Water source heat pump installation cost

Installation costs can vary depending on the complexity of the installation and the location of the water source. That’s why it’s important to get a quote from a professional installer who can give an accurate estimate of the total cost.

Water source heat pump requirements

To install a WSHP, homeowners need plenty of space, to live near a body of water, and a licensed installer. The government stipulates that only those licensed to install heat pumps can do so.

Water source heat pump manufacturers

Here are a few companies that offer water-source heat pumps in the UK:

  • Kensa is a leading manufacturer of ground source and water source heat pumps in the UK
  • Ecocent offers a range of water-source heat pumps for residential and commercial properties. Their products can be used for heating and cooling, as well as providing hot water for showers and taps
  • Mitsubishi Electric offers a range of air-source and water-source heat pumps for residential and commercial properties
  • NIBE is a leading manufacturer of heat pumps in Europe
  • Daikin offers a range of air-source and water-source heat pumps for residential and commercial properties
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What is the difference between a heat pump and a water source heat pump?

There are three main types of heat pumps: air, ground and water. They all do the same thing in terms of heating your home in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. However, they use different methods of sourcing and storing thermal heat (hence their names). Water source heat pumps need the most space because of their required storage tanks.

Where does the water from a heat pump go?

The water a WSHP collects from a nearby body of water is collected in a storage tank and primed with a refrigerant until you need it.

How much water does a water source heat pump need?

You would need a heat pump engineer/specialist to calculate this based on your required heat pump size, heat transfer requirements, flow rates of the fluid, and the size of your pipework.

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