Energy

Heat pump installation in Ireland

Learn about heat pump installation in Ireland, from costs, grants and savings to the best air to water heat pumps.

How do heat pumps work?

A heat pump system uses energy from the ground or air to provide heating and hot water. Because they capture existing heat found in the environment, they don’t burn any fuel.

Heat pumps are usually fitted to a wall outside your home, can heat rooms via radiators or underfloor heating and provide hot water on demand for taps, showers and baths.

How efficient are they?

Although they need electricity to work, heat pumps use far less electricity than they generate, so are more efficient than fossil fuel boilers or oil-based heating.

  • A heat pump only needs 1kWh to produce 4 units of heat while a typical domestic boiler requires around 30kWh for the same output.
  • Their efficiency is measured by what is known as the coefficient of performance (CoP). A higher CoP indicates a more efficient heat pump.

Types of heat pumps

There are three main types of heat pumps.

  1. Air source heat pumps: Transfer heat from the outside air into your home. There’s two types: air-to-water, which heats both your water and your home, and air-to-air, which just heats your home with hot air.
  2. Ground source heat pumps: Also known as geothermal heat pumps, they extract heat from below the ground’s surface to warm both your water and home.
  3. Water source heat pumps: Take heat from open water like lakes, rivers or streams. They heat your home via water in your water tank, underfloor heating, or radiators.

Because ground and water source heat pumps are more complicated and costly to install, they are less common than air source types. But they’re also more efficient.

Which heat pump is best?

You’ll need to consider several things before you decide on the best type of heat pump for your home.

They include:

  • Location: Water source pumps need to be beside a large body of water, like a lake or river.
  • Climate: A water or ground-source heat pump is more efficient in colder weather.
  • Property: A split system pump requires more inside space while a ground-source pump requires a larger outside area.
  • Budget: Some heat pumps have a higher upfront cost, but cost less to run as they are more efficient.

Here’s the main differences between each type of heat pump.

  Air to air source Air to water source Ground source Water source  
Cost €1,000-€18,000 €12,000 - €18,000 €17,000 - €28,000 €17,000 - €28,000  
Captures heat From the air outside your home From the air outside your home From below the ground From lakes or rivers  
Heats The air in your home Your water, or your home Your water, or your home Your water, or your home  
Pros Can also be used to cool your home Easier to install and less costly More efficient than air source pumps Most efficient at heating  
Cons Can’t heat water Not efficient as ground or water Needs a large garden Needs a large body of water  

A heat pump that is too small will struggle to heat your home, while one that’s too big might be more expensive to run, and waste energy.

What is the best air to water heat pump?

Air to water heat pumps are popular in Ireland, as they are easier and less costly to install than ground or water source pumps.

Although they are less efficient at trapping heat during the colder months, they can still reduce your energy bills by around 50%.

There are two main types:

Monobloc system

Is similar to a boiler as it’s one system; with all components fitting inside a single unit, which sits outside the home.

Split system

Is split into an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. Unlike a monobloc system, heated water is contained inside the house.

The best one for you depends on your budget and how large your home is. Monobloc systems are cheaper, easier to install and take up less space than split systems but they can also lose more heat.

Some popular heat pump manufacturers include:

  • Daikan
  • Hitachi
  • Mitsubishi
  • Nibe
  • Panasonic
  • Samsung

How much do heat pumps cost?

The exact amount can vary depending on the heat pump model, the size of your house, and whether it will work with your current heating system.

But for the average, 3-bedroomed home:

  • An air source heat pump can cost between €12,000 - €18,000.
  • Ground and water source can cost between €17,000 - €28,000.

How much can you save?

How much you can save each year depends on your current heating system, heat pump, energy consumption and the outside temperature.

  • When a heat pump is installed the electricity use may increase slightly, but your gas or oil costs will be eliminated completely.
  • Air source heat pumps could save you around 50% a year on your energy bills, while ground and water source pumps could save you up to 75%.
  • The cost of running a heat pump can range from €500 to €1,500 per year.

What grants are available?

The SEAI offers a grant of up to €6,500 toward the cost of a heat pump for homes built before 2021. If you’re installing an air to air heat pump, you can apply for a grant of up to €3,500.

Find more eligibility details here.

Before you can apply for the grant, an SEAI registered technical advisor must first complete an assessment of your home to ensure it’s well insulated.

A grant of €200 is also available to cover the assessment costs.

How do you apply?

You must have grant approval in place before you start any work. Here’s how the process works:

  1. Get your home assessed: Get an SEAI technical advisor to assess your home. They will advise of any works you need to complete before installing a heat pump.
  2. Choose a contractor: You must choose an SEAI registered contractor. It’s a good idea to shop around for the best quote.
  3. Accept your offer: Once you have been offered the grant, you have 30 days to accept it.
  4. Complete the work: You must get your works completed within eight months of accepting the grant.
  5. Get a BER assessment: Once the works are completed, you’ll need to get your home assessed by a SEAI regulated BER assessor.
  6. Claim payment: You must submit a payment application form, as well as a number of documents to receive your payment.

For more details on the application process, visit the SEAI website.

Are heat pumps worth it?

Heat pumps can help lower your heating costs considerably, but they are only worth it if you have an energy-efficient home.

Pros

  • Lower bills: If you have an energy efficient home, heat pumps can reduce your bills between 30-70%.
  • Cooling capabilities: Some air to air heat pumps allow you to reverse the heat process and pump cool air into your home during the summer.
  • Cleaner energy: Heat pumps are a cleaner source of fuel and help reduce your carbon footprint.

Cons

  • Needs an energy-efficient home: Heat pumps are only cost effective if your home has a BER of B2 or higher. If you don’t, you’ll need to spend money insulating your home.
  • Less efficient in cold weather: Some heat pumps need more electricity to work in colder weather, so can cost more in winter.
  • Noise: A heat pump’s fan and compressor can be noisier in colder weather.

heat pump installer Ireland

How to find a heat pump installer in Ireland

To secure a heat pump grant, you’ll need to get your heat pump installed by an SEAI-registered contractor.

Each contractor is accredited by an approved training provider, and must work in accordance with the Contractor Code of Practice and Technical Specification.

Before choosing a contractor, you should:

  • Ensure they are SEAI-registered
  • Shop around, and compare multiple suppliers
  • Look for recommendations from friends
  • Read online reviews and testimonials if available

Do you need to retrofit your home for a heat pump?

Your contractor and technical advisor can assess your home and advise what changes may need to be made.

Retrofitting your home could include:

  1. Insulating your home: If your home has a BER lower than a B2, your heat pump might end up costing you more than a traditional fossil-fuel heating system.
  2. Upsizing your radiators: Heat pumps work better if they distribute their heat over larger surface areas, for example underfloor heating or oversized radiators.
  3. Upgrading your hot water tank: You may need to install a modern hot water cylinder, which gradually heats your water.

Can you use solar panels with a heat pump?

Yes, but it depends on the type of panels you install.

  • Solar PV panels generate electricity for hot water, lights and appliances. As heat pumps need electricity to heat your home, these devices can work well together.
  • There’s usually no point installing solar thermal panels, as they are used to heat water, and most heat pumps already do this.

Heat pump installation FAQs

Do heat pumps work with existing radiators?

Due to the steadier, lower temperatures produced by heat pumps your radiators should be ‘oversized’ to distribute the heat optimally.

Check with your heat pump installer if your existing radiators are compatible.

Is it cheaper to run a heat pump all the time?

A heat pump can move heat more efficiently at lower temperatures. To keep your home warm, they need to run for longer periods; many more hours than a boiler.

Most heat pumps have a thermostat installed, to ensure the temperature stays at an optimal level.

Your pump will need to be left on standby, and will kick on or off when needed, to maintain the right level of heat.

Are heat pumps cheaper than a gas boiler?

Heat pumps are more expensive to install but can be cheaper to operate if the house is well-insulated.

You will need to weigh up costs of installation and retrofitting of a heat pump; but your energy will cost less in the long run.

Can I connect a heat pump to my existing central heating system?

Yes, it’s possible to integrate a heat pump into existing heating systems, with the right modifications.

But ask a heat pump installer for their advice, because the efficiency of the heat pump is affected by the design of your current heating system.

Switch and save up to €639 on your energy bills

It only takes a few minutes to find a cheaper deal and start saving