Does my House Have a Heat Pump?

If you are wondering whether your house has a heat pump installed here is how you can tell if you have a heat pump installed and what a heat pump system will look like if you’re not sure.

How do you tell if you have a heat pump?

If your home doesn’t have a conventional oil or gas boiler to use for its heating system or its hot water then it’s likely that you have a different system in place to generate heat and hot water.

What does a heat pump look like in a house?

There are two types of heat pumps. Air Source heat pumps may be the easiest to recognise due to the unit which is installed on the outside of the property. Take a walk around the outside of your home and look for a large unit attached to the outside of the building. They generally look like air conditioning units and use outside air to heat your home.

A typical air source heat pump installation consists of two parts: an outdoor unit that contains the outdoor coil, compressor, reversing valve, and fan; and an indoor unit that contains the indoor coil, supplemental heater and fan. The outdoor unit looks exactly like a central air conditioner.

Where would my air source heat pump be located?

The main installation of the heat pump is generally located outside of your house, in a dry, well-ventilated area. You’ll usually find this unit mounted on one of the exterior walls of your property, near the ground.

Does a heat pump system have to be outside?

Does a Heat Pump Condenser Need to be Placed Outside? For heat exchange to occur, the air surrounding the condenser needs to be at a lower temperature than the refrigerant. Therefore, liquid cooled condensers and the air-cooled condensers do have to be placed outside simply because they are forcefully cooled.

You won’t find an air source heat pump system inside your home. Air source heat pumps have to be located outside as the units let out cool air once the heat has been taken out.

This would create a very low temperature if you had an air source heat pump installed inside the home.

The heat pump would also operate in a much less energy efficient manner as the air temperature would become very low due to waste cold air being pumper out of the heat pump this would mean it would be much harder to extract heat from the air than if you install the heat pump externally.

Do I have a ground source heat pump?

Ground source heat pumps will be harder to spot as the heat pump will have been installed underground outside the property. A ground source heat pump uses heat from the ground to deliver heat to your home through a series of underground pipes.

You will generally need quite a large outside area to install a ground source heat pump. The size of garden you need will depend on what size heat pump is installed.

Different heat pump sizes will be needed for different sized properties, however, according to Viewssmann an average of eight kW heat pumps needs about 250 m2 of land for the heat pump systems to be installed.

However, this doesn’t mean that smaller gardens can’t be suitable for ground source heat pump installations as it is possible for boreholes to be drilled and the heat pump technology can be put deeper into the ground.

Do ground source heat pumps have to be underground?

Ground source heat pumps are generally installed under the ground and require a fair amount of outside space, however, if you are short on space it is sometimes possible to install a ground source heat pump within your home. Ground source heat pumps aren’t air to air so you don’t need to worry about them expelling cool air.

Check your basements or utility areas as they could house a heat pump system.

Can your house have a heat pump?

Heat pumps can be installed in almost any home, however, some considerations may need to be addressed, particularly regarding insulation. In order for a heat pump to work efficiently, your home needs to be well insulated to prevent as much heat from escaping as possible.

How to find out if a property has a heat pump when buying a house

If you are buying a property the best way to find out if your home has a heat pump installed is to ask the seller if there is a heat pump on the property or what kind of heating systems are currently in place for the central heating and hot water.

The seller or their solicitor should be able to give you details of the installation, the size of the heat pump, when they last got the heat pump serviced and the running costs.

When buying a home with a heat pump you should also check that it was installed in line with all building regulations and that the local authority won’t have a problem with it. Some heat pumps do need planning permission so it is worth checking before buying the property.

Do new build properties have heat pumps?

If you are buying a new build property it is more likely that a heat pump may be installed as they can offer a more environmentally friendly way of heating a home. The benefit of this is that as new-build properties would come with the heat pump already installed so you wouldn’t have to pay a local installer and it is likely the running costs would be lower than a traditional boiler.

The government are keen to promote having heat pumps installed in new build properties to provide heating and hot water efficiently. From 2025 the government are banning the installation of oil boilers or gas boilers in new build homes to reduce carbon emissions. Heat pumps will likely become even more popular for home heating as they offer a lower carbon alternative to heat your home. Other things the government are suggesting to help reach their lower carbon targets are things like double glazing.