Ground source heat pumps extract thermal energy from the ground near your property and convert this into heating and hot water for your home.

What is a Ground Source Heat Pump?

Ground source heat pumps extract thermal energy from the ground near your property and converts this into heating & Hot water for your home. Ground source heat pumps work better in cold temperatures than Air Source, as they take heat from at least 1m below ground where there is a stable temperature throughout the year, which is ideal for homes in the UK.

How do ground source heat pumps work?

Pipe is laid in the ground in close proximity to your home (such as in the garden). A fluid called Thermal Transfer Fluid (TTF) flows around a loop of pipe and heat from the ground is absorbed into the fluid.

This fluid then passes through a compressor in the heat pump, which condenses  the heat and is used in the home. This fluid is then sent back into the ground at a very low temperature to collect more heat again before returning to the heat pump.

Are Ground Source Heat Pumps Geothermal?

A common misconception is that Ground Source Heat Pumps rely on geothermal energy as a heating source, i.e.the Energy from the earth’s core. In fact, Ground Source Heat Pumps in domestic applications utilise solar energy which has been absorbed by the earth throughout the year. This Solar Energy is effectively stored in the ground. As the earth is a good insulator the temperature below about 1m remains almost constant throughout the year.

At this depth the temperature of the ground remains around 10 degrees celsius consistently, even if there is a large drop in air temperature above ground.

For this reason, Ground Source Heat Pumps utilise a reliable source of stored energy that is free and present in most parts of the world, and gets replenished by the sun’s energy when it is removed. 

Get in touch with our local engineers for more information

The Benefits of Ground Source Heat Pumps

There is no better time to consider going green to heat your home. Ground source heat pumps and other renewable heating solutions have become very effective and reliable. The benefits of ground source heating are:

  • Reduce your carbon footprint by using renewable energy. Generate less CO2 emissions as pumps are high efficiency and run using electricity.
  • Designed to work in cold temperatures.
  • Heats your home and hot water.
  • Can be used with your existing heating system (some radiators may need upgrading)
  • Ideal to use with underfloor heating.
  • Heat pumps are included in the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which makes them a viable financial investment.
  • Options available for homes with limited space.

Less CO2

Highly Efficient

Heats Home

Heats Water

Will a Ground Source Heat Pump Save Money on My Energy Bill?

A Ground Source Heat Pump installation is an effective and reliable way to save money on your energy bills, as they produce far more energy than they consume.

The process of ground source heating uses electricity to run the pump, however, the amount of energy collected from the ground to heat your home is significantly more than the amount of electricity required to power the system.

Generally, for every 1 kilowatt of electricity used by the pump, around 3-5 kilowatts of energy is extracted from the ground and transferred into your home. It is this level of efficiency that means a Ground Source Heat Pump will reduce the cost of your bills over traditional or outdated heating systems.

Do I Need Planning Permission for a Ground Source Heat Pump?

Planning permission is not usually required to have a Ground Source Heat pump installed on your property, thanks to the government’s Permitted Development Rights.

These rights allow the improvement or extension of one’s home without planning permission, where it would be out of proportion with the impact of works carried out.

If you are unsure about your rights to a Ground Source Heat Pump installation, you can contact our friendly team for free and impartial advice.

Installation Process

Installation of a ground source heat pump system is more complex than an air source heat pump due to some ground work being required to install the loop pipes.

The pipe loop can be buried in trenches horizontally, where quite a large plot is required, or inserted vertically into a borehole, where minimal space is required. 

The ground source heat pump system can be connected to an existing heating system, although some radiators may need to be changed. 

Ground Source Heat Pumps may not be suitable for all properties, so we recommend you speak to our installation team for professional advice and a free of charge quotation. If A Ground Source system is not right for your property then we can offer a range of alternatives including Air Source Heat Pumps, Biomass Boilers and Solar systems. 

How Deep do Ground Source Heat Pipes Go?

Ground Source Heat Pumps systems are installed at a depth of about 1m below ground, if run horizontally, or up to a few hundred feet if installed vertically in bore holes. As such, you will need to consider the type of property in which you wish to install your new system.

GSHPs are installed at this depth to utilise the heat stored in the ground throughout the year, which is consistently around 10 degrees celsius, regardless of the above ground air temperature.

What to Consider?

To help our customers and provide some guideance, we have produced the information below.

How is Your Heating and Hot Water Supplied?

Cost of installation can vary depending on what heating system you currently have. For example, is your home gas or oil? Does the heating system have a cylinder or is it a combination boiler?

If you require the heat pump to provide hot water, then a new high efficiency cylinder has to be fitted as well as an expansion vessel and additional space for a 30 or 50L volumiser/buffer unit.

Do You Have Suitable Space?

There are a couple of options depending on the space available.

Ample Space

If you have a large garden or paddock etc. then a trench could be dug to lay a ground loop. You’ll need to bear in mind that machinery, such as a digger will need access from a road entrance. Furthermore, the area will need to avoid trees, as roots can cause problems when digging trenches. The length of the trenches will depend on the size of your home and the amount of heat you need.

Limited space

If space is limited then it could be possible to drill vertical boreholes. This is usually more expensive than digging trenches and may require a thermo geological survey. The borehole depth will depend on the heat demand of a property. The borehole is likely to be around 75-200 metres deep and may require more than one hole depending on the size of the house.

Do you have radiators?

Typical a gas boiler flow temp is 70 degrees. Whereas, an air source heat is between 30-45 degrees. With a heat pump running at lower temperatures the radiators may have to be larger to counteract this.

Additional information: As the system takes longer to heat from cold, the heating is left on for longer periods of time. The control temperature is turned down overnight and when the house is unoccupied, rather than being switched off completely. Air source heat pumps work well with underfloor heating.

Do you have a suitable position for the ground source heat pump unit inside?

The heat pump unit is installed inside the property and often contains the hot water cylinder. It is a large unit roughly the size of a fridge.

Insulation – Are the house walls, floors and roof well insulated?

Due to the lower running temperatures of a heat pump, it is vital that heat loss is kept to a minimum, the more insulated a property is, the more effective and efficient the heat pump will be.

Can I Get a Grant for a Ground Source Heat Pump?

Yes, there is currently a Government Grant of £6,000 towards installation costs. This scheme replaced the RHI scheme in March 2022. There is a limited amount of grants available so it’s important you act now to be sure to receive this. 

Our Installations team will help you apply for this grant and ensure that it is available before we start work. 

An EPC less than 2 years old is required. 

As Government support schemes do change please check up with us on the latest news, which may have changed from the above.

Ground Source Heat Pumps Near Me

With over 70 years of experience, the Red Van Plumbers offer a professional and fast service in a wide area including Marlow, High Wycombe, Acton, Wooburn Green, Henley, Hemel Hempstead, Hillingdon, Maidenhead, Windsor, Amersham, Reading, Beaconsfield, Gerrard’s Cross, and West London.

Accredited by trusted sites such as Which?, TrustMark, Gas Safe Register, Check-a-trade, OFTEC, and more, the Red Van Plumbers are the best choice to help you reduce your cost of living with our range of services and installations.


Contact us today to save money on your bills.


Renewable Energy

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a financial incentive scheme designed to encourage uptake of renewable heating among domestic consumers. The objective of the Domestic RHI is to significantly increase the proportion of heat generated from renewable sources.