Answer: It depends on your property, the size of the system, and the heat demands. If you currently spend £1,000 per year on a gas boiler system, in comparison a ground source heat pump is likely to cost around £750 to operate. The savings increase if you are currently using oil, LPG, or electric heating.
First and foremost, it’s important to say that heat pumps are the most efficient heating solution for most properties, provided that the building has sufficient insulation and the correct heat distribution methods. Whether or not a ground source or air source heat pump is best-suited depends on your unique situation, but in general heat pumps provide better efficiency than all other heating options. This is why they are the most popular renewable heating solution on the market.
Whilst the systems themselves offer savings, these are also boosted by Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments. Download our guide to the RHI for more information about how you can cut costs and get paid for installing a ground source heat pump.
We’re often asked about the running costs of a ground source heat pump. In truth, it is difficult to make an accurate calculation without deep analysis. If you’d like to speak to one of our advisors directly about this, contact us today. For broader estimates and ballpark figures, please keep reading this article and hopefully you’ll get an idea for what to expect.
The best way of measuring the running costs of a ground source heat pump is to compare it to alternative options. For example, if you have a gas boiler which costs £1,000 per year to run, an air source heat pump will likely cost around £800 to run. A ground source heat pump is usually more efficient than an air source heat pump, so is likely to cost around £750 per year to run in comparison. This is in the context of your current gas spend being around £1,000 per year; you can make rough calculations based on your actual spend, or use our free savings calculator.
The cost savings against oil are better, because this fuel is more expensive than gas. The operating costs (running costs) of a ground source heat pump will be around 30% less than it would cost for oil-powered heating, and more than 40% less than the annual running costs of an LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) system.
Direct electric heating is the most expensive heating option available. Put simply, if you put 1 unit of electricity into a ground source heat pump, you get 4 units of heat out of the other side. With direct electric, you put 1 unit of electric in and only get 1 unit of heat out of the other side. Therefore, you can save 75% on running costs versus electric heating if you install a ground source heat pump at your property. This can therefore offer huge savings.
Efficiency – and therefore running costs – depend on a variety of factors. First and foremost, your insulation standards. Secondly, the heat distribution system (radiators and/or underfloor heating) will have an impact on efficiency. Thirdly, quality of product and installation can also be a factor. Finally, it is essential to maintain your system with an annual service.
In order to qualify for RHI payments, your property must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This provides a property with an energy performance rating on the scale of A-G. For landlords, the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) is also a consideration. Your property needs to meet minimum insulation standards to be eligible for RHI; cavity walls must be insulation-filled where appropriate, and loft voids must have at least 270mm insulation where appropriate.
The better insulation you have at your property, the less hard a heat pump will need to work and therefore the less electricity it uses. This keeps your running costs down.
Ground source heat pumps work better at lower operating temperatures, typically between 35-45C, compared with around 65-75C for a fossil fuel boiler. Underfloor heating works very well at heat pump operating temperatures, and radiators can too, but they must be larger than those used with a boiler.
If you have undersized radiators or a poorly-designed underfloor heating system, you will need to run the heat pump very hot. This creates a more intense workload for the system, reducing running efficiency, and therefore increasing your overall costs. Put simply, to reduce the running costs of your ground source system, you must install underfloor heating or radiators designed to operate at suitable flow temperatures.
In order to qualify for the RHI scheme, your installation must be completed by a MCS accredited installer. Smart Renewable Heat are fully accredited with MCS and the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC), so you can be sure that your heat pump installation is in safe hands. A poor-quality installation will result in more costs in the long run, which defeats one key point of installing a heat pump in the first place!
An annual service is essential for all heat pumps to ensure that that system is working at its optimum efficiency. System maintenance is crucial for complying with warranties and meeting rules for incentive payments.
A ground source heat pump needs the ground collector and heat transfer fluid to be checked annually, along with the condition and settings of the internal plant. The SMART Annual Aftercare Plan achieves peak efficiency and constant performance for your system, providing an annual system service, year-round online and telephone support, and reduced engineer charges.
We are ground source heat pump installation experts, with hundreds of successful projects completed all over the UK. With over 20 years of experience on domestic and commercial projects, we provide accredited renewable heat expertise.
For more information, contact Smart Renewable Heat today.
Please contact us using the form below, or call us on 0800 865 4328.