A heat pump works by extracting heat from the environment and transferring that heat to your home. They need some electricity to run, but because their heat output is higher than the electricity input, they are highly efficient, low carbon heating systems.
The three key heat pump types are categorised by the environmental source of the heat they extract:
Air source heat pumps
Ground source heat pumps
Water source heat pumps
The heat pumps displayed here are all able to provide space heating and hot water heating. For information on hot water heat pumps only, see our Domestic Hot Water Heat Pump page.
By installing a heat pump, you could reduce your household carbon emissions, and depending on the heating system it is replacing, a heat pump could save you money on your energy bills.
Before installing a heat pump, it’s a good idea to review whether there’s any additional work you could undertake to help improve the efficiency of the system.
Insulation – insulating your home as well as you’re able to will help keep the heat in for longer, reducing energy bills and maintaining higher heat pump efficiency
Larger radiators, or underfloor heating – as a heat pump works most efficiently providing heat at lower temperatures, using a heating distribution compatible with lower water temperatures
If further insulation or a larger heat distribution system isn’t possible, there may still be an option for you to heat your home with a heat pump. There are different types of heat pump that can still be efficient at providing higher temperature water, and there are hybrid systems where you can use a traditional boiler for especially cold days.
No matter which system you go for, you’ll need some outdoor space – a larger garden to dig trenches or a borehole for a ground source heat pump, and a smaller space for the unit of an air source heat pumps. For a water source heat pump, your home will need to be very close to a river or lake.
Check with your local planning authority if you need planning permission for your heat pump. Often, a heat pump is classed as a ‘permitted development’ in the local planning system, meaning in many cases you can install a system without applying for planning permission. However, there are exceptions, so it is best to confirm.
An installer will design the system and provide a quote, and we recommend you get at least three quotes from different installers. You should also check whether the heat pump installer will contact installers of any new heating distribution – it’s important that these two systems are designed to work together. Finally, check whether the cost of commissioning the installation once completed is included in the quote.
We would recommend you use an MCS accredited installer. You will often require an MCS or equivalent certificate for your equipment and installation to apply for any government funding schemes. More details about these schemes can be found on Energy Saving Trust website.
These products represent the most efficient heat pumps in their category. Our Selection Criteria details the minimum standards the products must meet in order to be displayed on our site, including further information about efficiency.