Your Air and Ground Source Heat Pump Questions answered


To help homeowners control their energy bills even further, or ‘go green’, we’ve designed Heat Pump Quoter.
Air and Ground Source Heat Pumps are an alternative renewable energy to solar or wind, and can power your hot water as well as your heating, via underfloor heating, hot air convection or even radiators.
Unlike some renewable energy sources, Heat Pumps are not reliant on wind or sunshine to operate, so you can make the most of this energy efficient, renewable heat source, 24 hours a day, all year around.
Our newest ‘Quoter website can offer you an instant online heat pump quote, without the need for salesmen to call on you.

To find out how Heat Pumps work, how suitable they may be for your home and what Government incentives are currently available, read more below…

How do Heat Pumps work?
Imagine a fridge working in reverse – taking the outside temperature of the air or ground and extracting the heat, compressing that heat and then passing it into your home to heat your hot water, underfloor heating, radiator or warm air convection system and that’s the science behind Air and Ground Source Heat Pumps.
Air Source Heat Pumps are a small unit (much like a modern air-conditioning unit in size and shape), which fixes to the ground or wall adjacent to the property to be heated.
Ground Source Heat Pumps use heat taken from the ground and involve a series of looped fluid filled tubing buried in trenches within your garden. Because of the trench digging and pipe laying, these systems cost more to install.
Heat Pumps work at generally lower temperatures to more traditional fossil fuel heating so it’s important, to make the most of your system, that your home is reasonably insulated before installation begins. What’s more, they don’t rely on wind or sunshine to function.

How do I get my money back? It’s renewable energy right?
Absolutely right. Heat Pumps are a renewable heat source – the kind to be included in the Governments proposed Renewable Heat Incentives which are due to start Autumn 2012 and already included in the Governments current *Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme.
The tariffs – the money the Government will pay you – will work similarly to the current solar panel feed in tariffs, but nobody knows the exact details yet.
The Government are currently offering a *Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme to encourage homeowners to install renewable heat sources onto their homes.
The Government are making these one-off payments, to the tune of £1250 for Ground Source systems and £850 for Air Source systems to homeowners, to help them cover the cost of installing these systems. These installation incentives are set to run until 31st march 2012.

What’s so green about Heat Pumps?
Sure, Heat Pumps use electricity to run, but the clever bit is they use far less that the energy they output.
The energy is called renewable because the heat is taken from the surrounding air / ground rather than artificially generated through the burning of a fossil fuel.
This means that the CO2 emissions are low compared to an equivalent fossil fuel usage.

What can a Heat Pump heat?
Heat Pumps extract heat from their surroundings, compress it and apply it to a fluid which is then passed into your home. This hot fluid can be used to:
  • Heat your emersion tank
  • Power your underfloor heating
  • Heat specially designed radiators in your home
  • Power hot air convection heaters.

The systems are responsive and designed to work with thermostats so you can control the heat / water temperature.

Because of that overall lower heat output, if you’re using your Heat Pump to power your hot water, you’re installers will make sure you have an immersion heater fitted which will be timed to come on once a week for an hour or two, to superheat the water in your tank and kill off any bacteria.
The lower heat output also means you may find it more comfortable to leave the systems on for longer periods.

Specially designed radiators?
Yes, normal ‘gas fired’ central heating radiators aren’t usually large enough to provide the surface area needed for the lower temperature water to effectively transfer enough heat to the radiator to ‘radiate’ and heat the room.
It may be you decide on a duel system – keeping your existing heating / hot water system but supplementing its heat with your Heat Pump. That will still lower your usual energy bills.

Is my home suitable?
Most properties will be suitable for either a ground or air heat pump system. There’s even a water pump system that could draw heat from say a large pond or lake.
Properties which will benefit the most include those that aren’t on Mains Gas and use either Oil, LPG or other solid fuel for heating and hot water.
Properties that use storage heaters will also see the same benefits.
Even on properties with gas fired central heating will make a modest return (not including any future tariffs), by preheating hot water tanks etc or replacing the heating source on underfloor heating systems.

Will I need a new immersion tank?
That’s a question for your preferred installers when they’re conducting their quote survey.

Servicing and maintenance?
Heat pump technology has been around longer than you think. The units themselves require little maintenance other than an annual health check (like a regular gas boiler) and for an Air Source Pump, making sure the area around the pump is free from leaf debris etc.

How big a system will I need?
That depends on how dependent you want to be on its output from totally dependent to treating the system as an auxiliary system. The installation companies will take your wishes along with the size and type of your home and how many of you live within the property, into consideration when conducting their survey prior to quotation.
In conclusion…

  • Heap Pumps use minimal energy
  • Produce a steady, reliable renewable heat and hot water source for your home
  • Aren’t reliant on wind or sunshine
  • Work all year round – 24/7
  • Government incentives towards installation costs of such systems – up to £1250*
  • Government expected to launch its Renewable Heat Incentive tariff scheme October 2012
  • You could earn a regular payment for the renewable heat you produce.
  • Lower your energy bills
  • Reduce your homes CO2 Emissions
*Renewable Heat Premium Payments (Governments one-off payments towards your installation costs) are subject to certain criteria. You can find more information on the Energy Saving Trust’s website here.

Instant online Air & Ground Source Heat Pump Quotes

“Heat Pump Quoter – instant online quotes”

The ‘Quoter family of websites proudly announces a NEW ‘Quoter website…. Heat Pump Quoter.

Like our other ‘Quoter websites, Heat Pump Quoter will give homeowners an instant online quote for both Air and Ground Source Heat Pump installations on their homes.

If you’re interested in generating renewable heat for your home, why not give our new website a try? – click here

Heat pumps work like a fridge in reverse – extracting the heat from the surrounding air or ground, compressing it and pumping the resulting heat into your home.

This warm ‘source’ can be used to heat your hot water, power warm air convection heating, heat your underfloor heating and even run its own ‘central heating’ radiator system.

At present there are grants of up to £1250 available from the Governments Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme – running until March 2012.

And the whole renewable industry’s hoping Air and Ground Source heat pump systems will feature heavily in the Governments anticipated Renewable Heat Incentives – a bit like the current solar feed-in tariffs – due to come into force in the Autumn of next year (2012).

We’re already building a UK network of Air and Ground Source Heat Pump installation companies to put those homeowners, interested in taking their online quote further, in contact with and would welcome applications from any heat pump installers, to join our service.

If you’re a Heat Source Pump installer, click here to find out more about Price Engines service.

Instant online Air & Ground Source Heat Pump Quotes

“Heat Pump Quoter – instant online quotes”

The ‘Quoter family of websites proudly announces a NEW ‘Quoter website…. Heat Pump Quoter.

Like our other ‘Quoter websites, Heat Pump Quoter will give homeowners an instant online quote for both Air and Ground Source Heat Pump installations on their homes.

If you’re interested in generating renewable heat for your home, why not give our new website a try? – click here

Heat pumps work like a fridge in reverse – extracting the heat from the surrounding air or ground, compressing it and pumping the resulting heat into your home.

This warm ‘source’ can be used to heat your hot water, power warm air convection heating, heat your underfloor heating and even run its own ‘central heating’ radiator system.

At present there are grants of up to £1250 available from the Governments Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme – running until March 2012.

And the whole renewable industry’s hoping Air and Ground Source heat pump systems will feature heavily in the Governments anticipated Renewable Heat Incentives – a bit like the current solar feed-in tariffs – due to come into force in the Autumn of next year (2012).

We’re already building a UK network of Air and Ground Source Heat Pump installation companies to put those homeowners, interested in taking their online quote further, in contact with and would welcome applications from any heat pump installers, to join our service.

If you’re a Heat Source Pump installer, click here to find out more about Price Engines service.

Heat and Air Source Heat Pumps could hold the key

Anyone following the renewables industry and Government news will have gleaned that it’s going to be tough for the UK to meet it’s emission cutting targets.

With so much potential wind energy being tied up in (or refused) planning, solar energy is the only technology making any real headway in the domestic markets.

However, there is another alternative that could very soon be in the mainstream – particularly when the Green Deal tariff’s start next year (2012).

That technology is ground source and air heat pumps.

Basically, heat from the ground or air, is exchanged and ‘pumped’ into the building, providing heat.

Air source heat pumps are best suited to properties without the land required for a ground source heat system – ground source pumps rely on coils of fluid filled tubing being buried under the properties garden – either vertically or as more people will be familiar with, coils overlaid in shallow trenches.

And the Air source industry reckon modern technology makes their systems quicker to ‘payback’ the installation costs, which may also be cheaper to install.

It really depends on the property though. Both Air and Ground Source technology can be used to heat underfloor heating systems or air ‘blowers’. Underfloor heating being the most popular.

You may be forgiven for thinking these heat exchange pump systems are a new technology but you’d be wrong. Although we’re only really just starting to see such systems incorporated into new builds (usually individual designed and built dwellings), and smaller commercial units, the technology itself has been around commercially for the last 20 years and been successfully used in scandinavian countries.

photo credit: bryn pinzgauer

Plans to revitalise town park will include renewables

A Harborough charity is hoping to renovate a former bowls pavilion into a drop in cafe incorporating a number of renewable energy sources including solar panels and a ground source heat pump.

The 1930’s structure will retain its timber appearance in the makeover, but incorporate a glass construction opening up one end of the building, in a £140,000 scheme to provide a valuable resource for the town’s young people as well as adults and other local groups.

The group have issued a call for help from tradesman and suppliers to help complete the project through an article in their local Harborough Mail (read their article here).

It’s a great example of community use of renewable energy and will hopefully give other groups around the UK with similar projects some ideas on how to make these projects sustainable in the long term – especially with so many local groups facing severe cuts to funding etc.

If your group or charity needs a quote for a solar panel installation, then remember, Solar Panel Quoter can help by not only giving you an instant online price guide, but by also being able to recommend up to 3 local installers to you.

photo credit: erin

Study suggests 80% of heat pumps perform "so badly"


The Guardian (who have a very good environment section I’ve found) reported last week how a field study of heat pump devices in the UK revealed “80% perform so badly they would not qualify as renewable energy under proposed European standards”.

This is a massive blow for the Heat pump renewable sector and the study couldn’t have come at a worse time as the Government considers green heating subsidies.

The report from Energy Saving Trust revealed that although the technology is sound, it’s the installation that’s mainly responsible for the poor performance.

When comparing performance, it didn’t help that Heat source pumps require a certain amount of energy to run themselves – drawing and converting the heat within the ground to heat homes – a bit like a refrigerator working in reverse. Unlike Solar and wind power which requires virtually no energy to run.

The Trust lays the blame at the feet of multiple contractors and a poor education of homeowners on how to use their systems once installed.

It’s not all bad news

It’s not all bad news though and the technology is a proven one. The Industry now intends to continue investigations to determine exactly why so many systems in the UK are performing so poorly and if their performance can be improved.

Read the full article here, which included quotes from the Heating and hot water council and the Renewable Energy Association.

photo credit: steve snodgrass

UPDATE: Good Energy posted their own ‘reply’ to the Energy Saving Trust’s controversial report on Heat Pumps (in defence of Heat Pump technology) which you can read here.

Staffordshire housing associations ground source pumps not a green option


Green Building Press ran a post last month regarding a Staffordshire housing association decision to change the heating system on a development of bungalows to ground source heat pumps.

The article is interesting on two counts.

The first – the article makes an argument for the case that ground source heat pump technology is just another form of electric heating – in this case, the energy will be used to provide underfloor heating to the bungalows – 5,600 of them in total.

The ground source heat pumps have been chosen over condensing gas boilers. One site which is unsuitable for ground source pumps is being considered for air source heat pumps.

However, the article casts doubts on the energy saving figures quoted, given the amount the project will cost.

The second interesting point to come out of the article is two comments left which both speak in favour of ground source heat pump technology with some interesting case testimonials on energy savings from the people that installed them.

So, plenty to read and who know? perhaps it will help you make up your own mind about installing solar or other renewable energy on your home. Click here to read the full article.

If you’re interested in finding out how much installing solar energy will cost on your home, and you’d like to read feedback on how well (or poorly) local installation companies to you performed, start by getting an online quote at Solar Panel Quoter – click here.

photo credit: leonid mamchenkov