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Air Source Heat Pumps

What is an Air Source Heat Pump?

  • A heat pump is a simple system that takes heat energy from one place to another whilst increasing it from a lower to a higher temperature. You will find a heat pump within your domestic refrigerator; heat is removed from inside (the source) and discharged out the back into the surrounding atmosphere (the sink). In heating applications the process is reversed, heat is removed from atmosphere, water, or soil and delivered to the building where it is required.

  • It is possible to take heat from the air when it is at temperatures as low as -20°C, so these systems can work all year round.

  • They use approximately a third less electricity for heating than other forms of electrical heating, continually delivering heat at lower temperatures over much longer hours than a standard boiler.

  • Heat pumps will save you money.  They are cheaper to run than oil/LPG boilers and can be cheaper than using gas boilers. Heat pumps can be fully automated, meaning they require less work than biomass boilers.

  • Heat pumps will save carbon emissions. Unlike burning gas, oil, biomass or LPG, a Heat Pump produces no emissions from your property, and if you already use a renewable source of energy like solar panels - then no carbon emissions at all!

  • Heat pumps are also safe to run. No combustion required and no emission of potentially harmful gases.

  • Heat pumps require very little ongoing maintenance unlike the combustion alternatives.


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Ground Source Heat Pump

  • Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) use pipes which are buried under the ground to extract heat from the ambient earth temperature. This heat can then be used to heat radiators, underfloor and hot water within your home.

  • A ground source heat pump circulates a mixture of water and antifreeze around a loop, (a ground loop) which is buried outside your property . Heat from the ground is then absorbed by the fluid and passes through an exchanger into a heat pump. The ground stays at a constant temperature under the surface, so it can be used throughout the seasons.

  • The length of the ground loop required depends on the size of your home and the amount of heat you will need. Longer loops will draw more heat from the ground, but need more space. If space is limited, a vertical borehole can be drilled instead.


  • Can lower your fuel bills, especially if you replace conventional electric or gas heating

  • May lower home carbon emissions, depending on which fuel you are replacing

  • No fuel deliveries required

  • Heat your home as well as your water

  • Minimal maintenance needed


Unlike Gas LPG boilers, heat pumps deliver heat at lower temperatures over much longer periods of time.

Air source heat pumps are easier to install than ground source as they don't need any trenches or disruption, but are less efficient than Ground Source Heat Pumps. Water Source Heat Pumps can also be used to provide heating in homes near water sources.

How do ground source heat pumps work?

Heat from the ground is absorbed at low temperatures into a fluid inside a loop of pipe (a ground loop) buried underground. The fluid then passes through a compressor that raises it to a higher temperature, which can then heat water for the heating and hot water circuits of the house. The cooled ground-loop fluid passes back into the ground where it absorbs further energy from the ground in a continuous process as long as heating is required by the house.

Normally the loop is laid flat or coiled in trenches about two metres deep, but if there is not enough space in your garden you can install a vertical loop down into the ground to a depth of up to 100 metres for a typical domestic home. Although Heat pumps require a small amount of electricity to run, the heat they extract from the ground, the air, or water is constantly being renewed naturally.

Is a ground source heat pump suitable for me?

To tell if an air source heat pump is right for you, there are a few considerations:

  • Is your garden suitable for a ground loop? It doesn't have to be very big, but the ground needs to be suitable for a borehole or a trench and accessible to the appropriate digging machinery.

  • Is your home well insulated? Ground source heat pumps work best when producing heat at a lower temperature than traditional boilers, it's essential that your home is well insulated and draught-proofed for the heating system to be effective. We can help you here.

  • What fuel will you be replacing? The system will pay for itself much more quickly if it's replacing an electricity, LPG or coal heating system.

  • What type of heating system will you use? Ground source heat pumps can perform better with underfloor heating systems or warm air heating than with radiator-based systems because of the lower water temperatures required. Retro fitting with your existing radiators is common.

  • Is the system intended for a new development? Yes! Combining the installation with other building work can reduce the cost and minimise disruption of installing the system.

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