If you are in the process of deciding whether you should have a heat pump installed in your new or existing home, you may be wondering about the installation process.

Replacing an old oil or gas boiler like for like is pretty straightforward. However, installing a heat pump is a little more involved.

This article will outline what you can expect when having a heat pump installed in your home.

But, first things first. Before you start getting quotes to get your heat pump installed, you’ll need to have a full assessment done of the current energy performance of your house or office first.

Now, even though your installer can do this for you, it’s a lot easier and oftentimes cheaper to employ an independent energy assessor who can issue you with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

An EPC contains:

  • information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs
  • recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money

The EPC is a rating system that assesses how energy-efficient a property is. It’s good for 10 years and ranges from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient).

If you’re an owner, contractor, or architect interested in putting a heat pump in a new construction project, our Renewable Energy Shop has the MCS Sign off package for you to save money and time.

Heat Pump Installation

Installing air source heat pumps (ASHP)

An MCS accredited installer will be able to survey your property and give you an accurate idea of the size, type, and cost of the heat pump that is best suited for your needs.

The next step is to organize the installation with your chosen installer.

Installation usually takes around 1-2 days, depending on the size and type of heat pump is installed.

How disruptive is installing an ASHP?

Installing an ASHP is not as disruptive as you might think.

For a start, the outdoor unit can be positioned up to 30 metres away from the indoor unit, so it doesn’t have to be right next to your house.

The installer will need access to both the inside and outside of your property to connect the units together, but once they’re connected, they can be placed in a cupboard or out of sight.

They will likely refer back to the pipework schematic to ensure they are connecting the heat pump to the right pipes.

The outdoor unit will need a solid, level base to sit on and will be connected to an electricity supply.

The installer will also need to connect the indoor unit to your property’s existing electricity and water supplies.

If you don’t have mains gas on your property, they may need to install a new electrical connection.

ASHPs can be installed on most properties, regardless of age or construction type.

How messy is installing an ASHP?

No messier than having a boiler installed, really.

The outdoor unit will need a concrete base to be installed, so there may be some drilling involved.

Other than that, the installation should be relatively clean and tidy.

Installing ground source heat pumps (GSHP)

Ground source heat pumps are more complex than air source heat pumps and therefore take longer to install – around 3-5 days.

During the installation process, a series of pipes filled with water or glycol (an anti-freeze solution) are buried in your garden.

These pipes are then connected to the heat pump inside your property.

The heat pump uses the water or glycol solution to extract heat from the ground, which is then used to heat your home.

The size of the boreholes will depend on the size of your property and the type of ground source heat pump being installed.

Trenches for a horizontal loop system are typically around 1 metre deep and 20-100 metres long.

How disruptive is installing a GSHP?

Installing a ground source heat pump is a more disruptive process than installing an air source heat pump, as boreholes need to be dug in your garden.

It might be worth letting the neighbors know what’s happening before the work starts, as it can be quite noisy.

How messy is installing a GSHP?

Installing a ground source heat pump is a more disruptive process than installing an air source heat pump, as boreholes need to be dug in your garden.

You will need to ensure that there is enough space in your garden for the boreholes to be dug.

The size of the boreholes will depend on the size of your property and the type of ground source heat pump

4 Types of Geothermal Heat Pumps

  • Closed Loop.
  • Open Loop.
  • Horizontal.
  • Vertical.

Insulation is Super Important

For ground source heat pump installations, ensuring that your building’s insulation is up to current standards is critical. It’s the most essential aspect of any structure.

Fitting excellent quality insulation will not only save you money on heating bills but also reduce carbon emissions and save energy.

Good-quality insulation offers the quickest return on investment among all energy savings measures that may be undertaken.

Before considering any renewable technology, such as heat pumps, it is important to upgrade the insulation of every building. Do not expect renewable technology to make up for defective insulation.

How to Benefit from the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS)

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme offers free or heavily subsidized boiler replacements to low-income households across the country.

BUS grants help property owners with the initial expenditure on buying low-carbon heating systems.

The initiative is open to domestic and small non-domestic properties in England and Wales. It will run from 2022 to 2025.

Related: Are There Government Grants for Air Source Heat Pumps?

How the scheme works

On your behalf, your installer will apply for the grant. The value of the award will be deducted from the cost you pay.

We recommend getting quotes from more than one contractor to ensure that you are receiving the best deal possible.

Step 1

Find a licensed, MCS-certified installer who can complete the task. (The MCS quality assurance program ensures that contractors are competent and that the materials they employ meet acceptable standards.)

Step 2

The installer advises you on whether an installation is eligible for a grant.

Step 3

You agree on a quote for the installation.

Step 4

The installer applies for the grant.

Step 5

You confirm that the installer is acting on your behalf when you’re emailed by Ofgem.

Ofgem may contact you to perform inspections on the installation. This might include a phone call or a visit to your home.


Can I install an air source heat pump myself?

Yes, you can, but it is not recommended. Air source heat pumps require special tools and knowledge to install properly. If you do not have the proper tools or knowledge, it is best to hire a fully accredited contractor.

Can you install a heat pump in a flat?

Yes, you can install a heat pump in a flat. There are new designs and systems that have been developed especially for flats and apartments. These new heat pumps are smaller, requiring less space within the home and making them easier to install.

About the Author

Passionate about helping households transition to sustainable energy with helpful information and resources.

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