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Ideal for...

Ideal for...

  • Reduced energy bills
  • Central heating
  • Hot water
  • Comfort cooling
  • Accurate temperature control
  • Reducing Co2 impact

Ground Source Heat Pump FAQs

Based on many years experience we have compiled a very comprehensive list of questions that we often get asked. If you cannot find an answer to your question please don't hesitate to contact us by phone or email.

Q. Are heat pumps expensive to run?

Not normally, please watch the video to find out more.  The running costs of a heat pump depends heavily on how well the system (including the emitters) has been designed. Systems can be retrofitted into existing properties but great care needs to be taken by the installer to ensure that the system runs efficiently.  You may need to upgrade part or all of the radiator system.

Q. Will my house be cold with a heat pump?

Absolutely not, please watch the video to find out more.  The performance of a heat pump depends heavily on the design stage.  A well designed heat pump with the correct emitters (radiators or underfloor heating) will heat the property perfectly and more comfortably than a conventional boiler.

Q. Are there any grants available?

The Low Carbon Building Program grants were closed to new applicants on the 24th May 2010. The grant scheme has now been replace with the Renewable Heat Premium (RHP) which pays £2300 under certain circumstances towards installation.  Ultimately the RHP is expected to be replaced with the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). Grants may also be available from your local council, you should contact them for further information.

Q. Will I be eligible for the new Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)?

The RHI promises to pay 12.5p/kWh for every kWh that the ground source heat pump is predicted to output (proposed for Spring 2014). IES are approved MCS installers so our installations are eligible. This equates roughly to an annual payment of £1750 for a typical domestic property.  We expect further eligibility criteria to be announced in due course.

Q. How much space do I need for a ground source heat pump?

The most cost effective ground loop for our heat pumps is a slinky formation.  This requires about twice the heated floor area of the property.  For instance if the foot print of your property is 75m2 and has two floors you would require about 300m2 of land.  Using a bore hole is higher cost but can be done with very little ground, perhaps around 5m x 5m.  Rather than bore holes you may also want to consider an air source heat pump.

Q. Do I need underfloor heating for a heat pump to work properly?

Underfloor heating operates at a lower flow temperature than some other forms of heating such as radiators.  All heat pumps operate at a higher efficiency when used with a lower flow temperature distribution system.  Some heat pumps can only be efficiently used with underfloor heating.  We use heat pumps that operate efficiently at low and high flow temperatures.

Q. Can a heat pump work with radiators?

Our heat pumps can achieve high flow temperatures in excess of 55 degrees.  This means that our heat pumps can be used with both radiators and underfloor heating.

Q. Do I need to increase the size of my radiators?

Most installed radiators have been naturally oversized, this means that often a retrofit of a heat pump into an existing property doesn’t need any modifications to be made to the existing radiators.  This is especially when insulation levels have been upgraded after the heating circuit was fitted, ie subsequent filling of cavity walls.  You should ask your consultant about your specific circumstances.

Q. My existing boiler has a much larger power capacity than your 'equivalent' heat pump, will it do the job?

Most conventional boilers are massively oversized because extra boiler capacity costs very little.  To be cost effective it is much more important that a heat pump is sized properly.  We will calculate the actual heat input required for your home and not base the size of the heat pump on your current boiler capacity.

Q. How much will I save on my fuel bills?

Studies have shown that switching from mains gas will save approximately 45% of your heating costs.  Switching from oil or LPG could save more than 65%. Over sizing radiators or using underfloor heating can often reduce running costs for heat pumps.

Q. Does the heat pump need a back up?

Given that our system can give the rated output down to -20degrees external temperature a back up system is not required.

Q. Am I at risk of legionella related illness with a heat pump?

Legionella bacteria cannot survive at temperatures over 60 degrees.  Our normal control systems and immersion heater will raise the temperature of the hot water cylinder to over 60 degrees periodically to pasteurise the tank.  To save electricity we time this so that the immersion heater only needs to raise the tank the final 5 degrees (from 55 to 60 degrees).

Q. Will the heat pump need a refrigeration engineer for servicing?

Some heat pumps have refrigeration pipes running between the indoor and outdoor units.  This type of pipework and system legally needs to be serviced annually.  We typically use monoblock ground source heat pumps that do not have any external refrigeration pipework.  This means the service requirement is more akin to a conventional refrigerator, i.e. very little.

Q. How often will the system need to be serviced?

Our ground source systems require an annual cleaning of two filters.  This can be completed by us or the home owner.

Q. Does a heat pump need planning permission?

Ground source heat pumps do not usually need planning permission.

Q. Do I need a three phase electricity supply?

Generally speaking, properties larger than a 6 bed detached home may require a 3 phase electricity supply.

Q. Can the heat pump heat our hot water cylinder?

Yes, our heat pumps can achieve flow temperature in excess of 55 degrees.  Domestic hot water at your taps needs to be at around 40 degrees.

Q. How long will an installation take?

Ground source system could take around 2-3 weeks but these timings are usually heavily dependent on other works taking place at the same time.

Q. How big is the heat pump?

Our heat pumps have indoor units that primarily contain the water cylinder so occupy similar space to a fridge freezer.

Q. What is a heat pump and how does a heat pump work?

The heat pump uses a refrigeration cycle to move heat from one place to another.  The process also upgrades the low grade heat from the ground to much higher temperatures in your home.  It works like a fridge but in reverse.

Q. How can the efficiency be greater than 100%?

To calculate the system efficiency we divide the amount of heat output by the amount of electricity that the system runs on and multiply the result by 100.  So if the system generates 4kwh of heat and uses 1kWh of electricity the system efficiency is 400% (COP of 4).  The reason the efficiency is greater than 100% is because we do not include the heat from outside in the equation, we consider this as completely free, which it is. 

Q. Can a ground source heat pump be integrated with solar panels?

Ground source heat pumps can be integrated with solar panels using a customised hot water cylinder or a preheat tank.

Q. What is a Coefficient of Performance (COP)?

The COP is the same as the system efficiency.  A COP of 4 is the same as a system efficiency of 400%.

Q. Does your price include connection to my existing/new heating system?

Yes, we include the connection to your existing heating system unless there is a specific reason for us not to.  We are often surprised by how many of our competitors want to install a heat pump but not connect it to your heating system.  They expect the customer to employ another contractor to complete this, the potentially more difficult part, of the installation.  We will normally leave your property with your heating system running with no other trades people to employ.

Q. Does your price include the required electric works?

Yes, we include the required electrical works in your property unless there is a specific reason for us not to.  We are often surprised by how many of our competitors want to install a heat pump but connect the power to the unit.  They expect the customer to employ another contractor to complete this.  We will normally leave your property with your heating system running with no other trades people to employ.


Q. Do I need a buffer vessel with a ground source heat pump?

Ground source heat pumps do normally require a buffer vessel, this is because the compressor requires a relatively high electrical current to start working.  The buffer vessel is a large amount of water in the heating distribution circuit, it enables the compressor to run for longer with less stops and starts as it take time to heat.  This reduced number of startups enables the heat pump to use less electricity. Some heat pumps (often air source) are inverter driven and can operate efficiently without a buffer vessel.

Please note that these answers are designed to be appropriate for typical installations. The exact specification for your system will be detailed in your personal proposal.

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