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Before investing in a significant renewable heat home improvement it makes sense to ensure that your purchase will result in the savings you will expect and that you will make your money back in a reasonable amount of time. When it comes to heat pumps, this is even more true as the cost can be high and the results tend to vary.

There are two types of heat pump – ground source heat pump and air source heat pump.

A ground source heat pump delivers heat to your home via pipes which are buried in your garden. These pipes collect the heat from the ground which is then condensed and sent into your home to be used in radiators or underfloor heating. They work in all temperatures and cost between £9,000 and £17,000 to install depending on the amount of ground work which is required.

An air source heat pump collects the heat from the air before condensing it and sending it into your home. These pumps can work down to around minus 15 degrees Celsius and are very efficient. This type of pump will cost around £6,000 to £10,000 fully installed depending on the size system.

When it comes to working out if either of these options are suitable for your needs and worth the investment, you need to know what type of fuel you will be replacing, to what extent it will be replaced and what type of heating you will be running.

Type of fuel being replaced

If you are replacing gas you can expect to save very little in the costs of heating your home. In fact it only works out to be around £130 per year for the average home. However, if you currently used electricity as the sole source of heating for your home, you could save as much as £610 per year.

Replacement extent

Heat pumps tend to deliver a low level of constant heat which works well when the temperature is cool but not freezing. You may find that you need supplemental heating during the very cold months. You will need to factor in the cost of providing this extra heat. If you home is well insulated and generally warm and easy to heat these extra costs will be kept to a minimum.

The type of heating you use

Heat pumps work best with underfloor heating due to the ambient nature of the heat. The fact that it is at a lower overall temperature means your home will need a constant supply of that heating. That is best delivered throughout the home in underfloor coils. Radiators are acceptable for use with heat pumps, but the temperature of each radiator will be lower and you may need to install more than usual.

Earning potential

From April 2014 anyone who has a form of renewable heating installed in their home should be eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive. This offers a set amount for the heat generated by these systems. Currently the rate appears to be set at between 7.3p/kWh for air source heat pumps and 18.8p/kWh for ground source heat pumps. This will be paid over seven years and only applies when the unit is installed by an expert and meets the minimum requirements.

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