Setting the record straight on heat pumps

The largest component of a heat pump – whether geothermal or air source – is usually installed outside your home, so you don’t have to worry about it taking up too much space inside the home.

With geothermal heat pumps, the earthing loop can be laid horizontally in a trench about one meter below the ground if you have enough garden space. Where there is no room for this, you can drill vertical boreholes to remove heat much further down, usually between 90 m and 160 m.

With air source heat pumps, you need to make sure that the outdoor unit has some space around it to get good airflow – but this is usually no bigger than your average air conditioner. The outdoor unit is connected to an indoor unit with circulation pumps and hot water, which is usually smaller than the average boiler.

Typically you need a hot water tank if you have a heat pump, but if you really don’t have the space for it, you can consider a heat battery instead (this works the same as a hot water tank but is much smaller).

Or think of a hybrid system with a heat pump and combi gas boiler – you may not gain the space to get rid of the boiler, but you also don’t have to find space for a hot water tank.

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