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Most Common Frequently asked Questions

What is a heat pump?

Heat pumps are effectively boilers which sit outside of a property (in the case of air source heat pumps). They take around a quarter of the energy they require to operate from the electricity grid and the remaining three quarters is provided by the air/ground before being ‘pumped’ into the property.

Can I have a heat pump installed indoors?

Ground source heat pumps are installed indoors. Air source heat pumps need to sit outside the property.

What’s the difference between and air source and a ground source HP?

The main difference between the two types of heat pumps is simply where they get heat from: air source heat pumps (ASHPs) absorb heat from the air whereas ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) absorb heat from the ground.

What type of home can have a GS Heat Pump as opposed to the Air source Heat Pump?

When thinking about installing a ground source heat pump, one of your first considerations should be if you have enough outdoor space to fit a ground loop. The ground loop can be installed in two ways, vertically or horizontally, but each will take up a certain amount of space in your garden and you’ll need to check the ground is suitable for digging.

If you want to put the pipes in vertically (using boreholes) because you don’t have much area to work with, this will increase the cost of installation. A small to medium house might only require one borehole, but bigger properties may need two or even three. Opting to lay the pipework horizontally is a cheaper method of installing a ground source heat pump, but you’ll need a lot more space, so it’s only suitable if you’ve got a large garden. As a rule of thumb, you need about 2.5-3 times more land than the floor area of your house, so a 150m2 house would need roughly 400-450m2 of land. This would need to be unobstructed by trees (to avoid roots), with road access for the digger.

You will also need some indoor space to fit the heat pump unit, which is about the size of a large fridge. It may or may not include an integrated hot water cylinder, depending on the model.

I live in a 1940’s semi-detached – can I have a heat pump?

Heat pumps are installed everywhere, from churches to houseboats, new build properties to 17th century thatched roof cottages. There are practical limits sometimes, but if a boiler can be installed, chances are that there is a heat pump solution to suit. Heat pumps will usually be installed by plumbing and heating engineers

Can a heat pump replace my existing GAS/OIL boiler?

Yes! The only limits are budget or disruption, though considerations may have to be taken into account depending on the property

I’ve heard that they can be very noisy – is that true?

Quite the opposite! Massive improvements have been made in recent years to reduce the perceived noise levels of heat pumps. Many at 3m distance are no noisier than about 35dbA, which is just above a whisper. Click here to see a video.

Are some heat pumps quieter than others?

The larger the heat pump “box” outside the property, and the lesser the number of fans, generally the lower the noise level will be. A large proportion of the ‘noise’ produced is from the fan, or fans, depending on which heat pump you are looking at.

Are Heat Pumps powered by electricity?

As the compressor, fan, circulation pump etc. are all electrically powered, electricity is required. An off-grid solution may be possible, but it would require a sizeable solar PC array with significant battery storage

Can I power a heat pump using my solar panels?

They can be indirectly connected to solar PV panels to provide some aspect of their electricity. They can also be used in conjunction with solar thermal to provide domestic hot water.