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Last updated: 05 August 2020

How Much Does a Ground Source Heat Pump Cost?

How much a ground source heat pump costs can differ on a number of factors. Generally speaking, a ground source heat pump costs typically between £20,000 and £45,000, depending on the type of ground source heat pump you install.

A vertical ground source heat pump will be more expensive as the installer will have to dig deep into the ground — approximately 50-100 metres deep. You can expect a price range of £30,000 - £45,000.

A horizontal ground source heat pump, on the other hand, only needs to be dug 1-2 metres into the ground, resulting in cheaper installation costs. A horizontal system typically costs £20,000 - £35,000.

When considering a GSHP for your home, you need to keep several cost factors in mind, including:

A GSHP may be a big investment but it pays for itself over time in reduced heating and cooling costs, as well as RHI payments. For a complete price overview, you can read our guide on ground source heat pump prices.

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Ground Source Heat Pump

What Are Ground Source Heat Pump Cost Factors?

Whether we are building an energy efficient house or planning to change our current oil or central heating system, it is good to consider renewable energy sources. Ground source heat pumps, also known as GSHP, uses pipes buried in the ground to provide the whole household with heat distributed in radiators and underfloor heating. In this way, it may be a green solution with less energy consumption and higher efficiency. Ground source heat pump costs are considered expensive but is meant to pay itself back over time.

Keep in mind that it is very difficult to calculate the ground source heat pump cost because there are many individual factors that can affect the overall price of the system. It is possible, however, to calculate the estimate of overall costs with a rather large margin of error. When calculating the ground source heat pump costs we have to take into consideration several factors: the cost of the system, the installation costs, the running costs, and eligibility for incentives.

A ground source heat pump system usually consists of a heat pump, a underground heat exchanger, and a distribution system. The average costs of purchasing a ground source heat pump system are:

  • Horizontal: Installing GSHPs in a horizontal way needs more available land, which makes it more common in rural areas. Horizontal trenches cost between £2,500 and £4,500 in this way.
  • Vertical: Digging a vertical ground source heat pump borehole is an alternative choice if land is limited, however it is also more expensive. Vertical boreholes cost may range between £8,000 and £10,000 depending on the size of heated area.
  • Heat pump: The heat pump and installation may cost typically between £15,000 and 20,000 depending on the size, capacity and lifespan.

As startling as it sounds, a ground source heat pump is cost-effective among other heating alternatives. It is one of the most effect low carbon heating solutions for a home, as the temperature of the soil is constant all year round, meaning your GSHP will not need to work harder in the winter months to run efficiently.

Financial Support for Ground Source Heat Pumps

It is also important to note whether GSHPs are eligible for grants to help support your investment, and this will significantly decrease your running costs.

There are many grant schemes available in the United Kingdom and it is advised to research on the incentives depending on which system are we considering to implement in our garden.

Ground source heat pumps are eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), and the current tariff is 21.16 p/kWh.

Comparison of ASHPs, GHSPs, and Oil Boiler (2019)
 Dimensions  ASHP   GSHP   Oil Boiler*
 Annual Running Cost  £1,200  £975  £2,000
 Renewable Energy Per Year  20,000 kWh  22,000 kWh  -
 Annual RHI Income  £1,700 £4,300 -
 Annual Total Benefit vs Oil £2,500  £5,300  -
 Seven Year Benefit vs Oil  £17,500  £37,500  -
 Initial Cost £12,500  £22,000  -
Payback  5 years  4 years  -
 Residual Income £2,500  £16,000  -

* Oil Boiler is calculated at the efficiency rate of 80%.

Which type of heating system you choose to install in your home will depend on a number of factors, so it is worth it to consider costs associated with boilers vs heat pumps, as there are many different types of each respective heating system.

How Can I Benefit from a Ground Source Heat Pump?

There are various ways when it comes to alternative heating methods, the figures presented above show what the benefits are of investing in a ground source heat pump in comparison to air source heat pump (ASHP) and an oil boiler installation.

Investing in ground source heat pump costs as to be seen as a long term investment, where profits come with use and time. The cost of ground source heat pump system may seem expensive at first, but it will only take 4 or 5 years to be paid off. The profits generated by the GSHPs are not only in the financial sphere. As ground source heat pumps are a green source of energy, it also benefits the mother earth.

What to Consider before Investing in Ground Source Heat Pumps

With the advanced technology and growing market share, there are varied types of GSHPs. Before making the investment in ground source heat pump costs, you might need to gather more information about the following elements:

  • efficiency
  • system type
  • installation costs

The efficiency of the heat pumps is measured by their coefficient of performance (COP). This is the ratio of heat produced per unit to electricity consumed in pumping that heat. The higher the number, the more efficient our installation is.

Different group source heat pump systems have varied requirements. Generally, ground source heat pumps require either a large garden or an extensive drilling in the ground. This is due to the fact that horizontal heat pumps are buried shallow within the ground but on large area, therefore this type of GSHP works best when you have a big backyard.

On the other hand, vertical heat pumps are buried deep within the ground but require very little backyard space.

It is also important to note, that ground source heat pump system runs on electricity, which are, however, very small energy needs.

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Written by Attila Tamas Vekony UX Manager Attila is the UX Manager at GreenMatch. He holds a degree in international business with four years of coordination experience in marketing, user experience, and content creation. Attila likes to write about solar energy, heating technology, environmental protection, and sustainability. His and his team's articles appeared in well-known sites such as The Conversation, Earth911, EcoWatch, and Gizmodo.
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