With energy prices rises increasing, there’s no surprise that homeowners are looking for more efficient ways to heat their homes.

One option that is becoming increasingly popular is a heat pump. A heat pump can be used for both heating and cooling, making it a very versatile option. But how much does a heat pump cost to install and run?

In this article, I take you through the typical cost of heat pump installation and running costs so that you can see if this option is right for you.

What Are the Costs of Ground-Source & Air-Source Heat Pumps?

Cost of Installing an air source heat pump

On average, the cost of installing an air source heat pump ranges from £3,000 to £18,000.

The cost of air-to-water is considerably higher, with an average expenditure of £13,000 for supply and installation.

The expense of air-to-air is roughly £3,100 for supply and installation.

Air source heat pumps are generally more expensive than other conventional heating systems in terms of cost, but the environmental benefit offsets this.

Why are air source heat pumps so expensive?

Air source heat pumps are still a relatively new technology, which explains the high cost. The price of materials and installation is also generally more expensive than installing a gas boiler, for example.

As soon as more contractors become familiar with the technology and the installation process becomes more streamlined, the price is likely to come down.

How much will an air source heat pump save me?

You could see savings of up to £1300 a year if you switch from an electric heating system to an air source heat pump. If you're replacing a gas boiler, savings are likely to be around £520.

Of course, these figures will vary depending on the size and efficiency of your property, as well as how you use your heat pump. But it's safe to say that you'll make some significant savings by switching to this type of heating system.

How much electricity does an air source heat pump use?

An air-source heat pump can produce 3 kWh of heat for each 1 kWh of electricity consumed. The typical annual energy requirement for most houses in the UK is 12,000 kWh. It will cost you around £520 in yearly heating expenses at 4,000 kWh of power costing £0.13 per unit.

Cost of Installing a ground source heat pump

A 6-8 kW horizontal ground source heat pump system costs about £10,000 to £12,500 to install. Installing a 12kW horizontal ground source heat pump system would set you back around £15,500 to £17,500.

Why are ground source heat pumps so expensive?

Ground source heat pumps are more expensive to install than air-source ones because you would need to boreholes or dig trenches for the ground loop. The installation process is also generally more labor-intensive.

How much will a ground source heat pump save me?

Since a ground source heat pump is more efficient than most heating systems, there are considerable savings to be made. It might be more expensive to install in the short run, but over the course of time, you will make your money back and then some.

How much electricity does a ground source heat pump use?

A ground source heat pump may produce 3 to 4 kW of heat for each 1 kW of electricity used. The typical annual energy consumption for most homes in the UK is 12,000 kWh.

To satisfy your heating demands with a 4kW heat pump, you'd need to use 1,500 kWh per year. This would set you back around £200 at 14p per unit.

3 Factors That Determine the Costs of Heat Pumps

  1. the coefficient of performance of the heat pump
  2. the amount of heat needed for your house
  3. the temperature of the heat source

The Coefficient of Performance (COP)

The Coefficient of Performance (COP) measures the efficiency of the heat pump. The higher the COP, the more efficient the heat pump is. 

As a result, a heat pump with a high COP will cost less to operate than one with a low COP. 

The amount of heat

Heat pumps are typically used to produce temperatures of 50°C or higher. If your heating requirements exceed 50°C, the system's efficiency will fall, resulting in higher operating costs.

To generate temperatures of 65°C or more, which gas boilers can achieve economically, you'll need to use extra power.

As a result, heat pumps are most efficient when used to heat water for domestic hot water or space heating at moderate temperatures.

The temperature of the heat source

If the temperature of the heat source is low, the heat pump will have to work harder to raise it to the desired level. This will result in higher operating costs. 

To minimize these costs, it's important to choose a heat pump with a high COP and use it in combination with other heating sources, such as solar panels or underfloor heating.

What Was The RHI Scheme?

The renewable heat incentive (RHI) was a UK Government scheme that provided financial incentives to encourage the uptake of renewable heat technologies, including air source and ground source heat pumps, biomass boilers, and solar thermal panels.

The scheme was introduced in November 2011 and closed to new applications in March 2022. The RHI has since been replaced by the Clean Heat Grant.

What is the Clean Heat Grant?

The Clean Heat Grant (now known as the Boiler Upgrade Scheme) is a government initiative set to begin in spring 2022 that will assist customers in switching from gas boilers to low-carbon alternatives.

Heat Pumps vs Gas Boilers

There are a few key distinct differences between heat pumps and gas boilers.

It's important to understand these before making a decision about which type of heating system is right for your home.

  • Heat pumps are powered by electricity, while gas boilers rely on natural gas.
  • Heat pumps are more efficient than gas boilers, meaning they'll save you money in the long run.
  • Gas boiler installation costs are typically lower than heat pump installation costs.
  • Heat pumps have a longer lifespan than gas boilers – around 20 years compared to 15 years.
  • A boiler produces a lot of heat in a very short period of time when there is a large temperature difference. A boiler can, as such, be used with radiators that produce high temperatures.
  • A heat pump produces heat more slowly. However, a heat pump can maintain a comfortable temperature with lower water temperatures, which is more efficient.
  • Gas boiler installation costs are typically lower than heat pump installation costs. This is because heat pumps require more labor-intensive installation, as well as specialized equipment.
  • Heat pumps have a longer lifespan than gas boilers – around 20 years compared to 5-8 years. This makes them a more cost-effective option in the long run.

About the Author

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

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