Exploring Heat Pump Installation in Ireland

Discover the ins and outs of heat pump installation in Ireland, including costs, grants, savings, and optimal air-to-water heat pump choices.

How Do Heat Pumps Function?

Heat pump systems harness energy from the air or ground to furnish heating and hot water. By harnessing existing heat from the environment, they eschew the need for burning fuels.

Typically mounted on an exterior wall, heat pumps can heat rooms via radiators or underfloor heating while delivering hot water on demand for taps, showers, and baths.

How Efficient Are Heat Pumps?

Although reliant on electricity, heat pumps consume significantly less electricity than they produce, rendering them more efficient than fossil fuel boilers or oil-based heating.

A mere 1 kWh suffices for a heat pump to generate 4 units of heat, whereas a conventional domestic boiler necessitates approximately 30 kWh for equivalent output. Efficiency is gauged by the coefficient of performance (CoP), with a higher CoP denoting a more efficient heat pump.

Types of Heat Pumps There exist three primary types of heat pumps:

  1. Air Source Heat Pumps: Transfer heat from outdoor air into your abode. Two variants exist: air-to-water, which heats both water and home, and air-to-air, solely heating the home with hot air.
  2. Ground Source Heat Pumps: Also dubbed geothermal heat pumps, they extract heat from beneath the ground’s surface to warm both water and home.
  3. Water Source Heat Pumps: Extract heat from open water bodies like lakes, rivers, or streams. They heat your home through water in the water tank, underfloor heating, or radiators.

While ground and water source heat pumps boast superior efficiency, they entail more intricate and costly installations, making them less prevalent than air source types. Nevertheless, they deliver higher efficiency.

Selecting the Best Heat Pump Several factors merit consideration when choosing the ideal heat pump for your residence, including:

  • Location: Water source pumps necessitate proximity to a large body of water like a lake or river.
  • Climate: Water or ground-source heat pumps prove more efficient in colder climates.
  • Property: A split system pump demands more interior space, while a ground-source pump mandates a larger outdoor area.
  • Budget: Certain heat pumps entail higher upfront costs but lower operational expenses due to greater efficiency.

Here’s a comparison highlighting the primary differences between each heat pump type:

Cost€1,000-€18,000€12,000 – €18,000€17,000 – €28,000€17,000 – €28,000
Captures HeatFrom outdoor airFrom outdoor airFrom below groundFrom lakes or rivers
HeatsAir in your homeYour water, or your homeYour water, or your homeYour water, or your home
ProsCan also cool homeEasier installation and less costlyMore efficient than air source pumpsMost efficient at heating
ConsCannot heat waterLess efficient than ground or waterRequires large gardenRequires large body of water

An undersized heat pump may struggle to heat your home adequately, while an oversized one might be costlier to operate and waste energy.

Identifying the Best Air to Water Heat Pump

Air-to-water heat pumps remain popular in Ireland owing to their easier and less costly installations compared to ground or water source pumps.

Though less efficient at trapping heat during colder months, they can still trim energy bills by approximately 50%.

Two main types include:

  1. Monobloc System: Resembles a boiler, functioning as a single unit with all components housed outside the home.
  2. Split System: Divided into indoor and outdoor units. Unlike monobloc systems, heated water is confined indoors.

The choice between the two hinges on your budget and home size. Monobloc systems offer affordability, ease of installation, and space efficiency but may experience more heat loss.

Cost Considerations Exact costs vary based on heat pump model, house size, and compatibility with existing heating systems.

For an average 3-bedroomed home:

  • Air source heat pumps: €12,000 – €18,000
  • Ground and water source pumps: €17,000 – €28,000

Potential Savings Annual savings hinge on your current heating system, heat pump, energy usage, and external temperature.

Upon installation, electricity usage might rise marginally, but gas or oil costs will be entirely eradicated. Air source heat pumps could yield roughly 50% savings annually, while ground and water-source pumps could slash bills by up to 75%. Running costs can range from €500 to €1,500 annually.

Available Grants The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) extends grants of up to €6,500 for heat pumps in homes built pre-2021. For air-to-air heat pumps, grants of up to €3,500 are available.

Before applying for a grant, an SEAI-registered technical advisor must conduct a home assessment to ensure adequate insulation.

A €200 grant also covers assessment costs.

Application Procedure Grant approval must precede any work commencement. The process unfolds as follows:

  1. Home Assessment: SEAI technical advisors assess your home, recommending any necessary preparatory work.
  2. Contractor Selection: Choose an SEAI-registered contractor, comparing quotes for optimal value.
  3. Offer Acceptance: Upon grant offer, you have 30 days to accept.
  4. Work Completion: Complete installations within eight months post-grant acceptance.
  5. BER Assessment: Following installation, a SEAI-regulated BER assessor evaluates your home.
  6. Payment Claim: Submit requisite forms and documents for payment processing.

For detailed application insights, refer to the SEAI website.

Are Heat Pumps Viable? Heat pumps can substantially lower heating expenses but prove worthwhile solely in energy-efficient homes.


  • Reduced bills: Savings range between 30-70% in energy-efficient homes.
  • Cooling capabilities: Certain air-to-air heat pumps can reverse the heat process, cooling homes during summer.
  • Cleaner energy: Heat pumps offer cleaner fuel sources, diminishing carbon footprints.


  • Energy-efficient home prerequisite: Heat pumps are cost-effective solely in homes with a BER of B2 or higher, mandating insulation investments otherwise.

Seeking a Heat Pump Installer in Ireland To qualify for a heat pump grant, enlist an SEAI-registered contractor.

Each contractor undergoes accreditation by an approved training provider and operates in adherence to the Contractor Code of Practice and Technical Specification.

Before selecting a contractor, ensure:

  • SEAI registration
  • Comparative supplier evaluation
  • Peer recommendations
  • Online reviews scrutiny, if accessible

Home Retrofitting Considerations Your contractor and technical advisor can assess your home, suggesting requisite alterations.

Potential retrofits encompass:

  • Home insulation: For homes with BER lower than B2, heat pumps might escalate costs compared to traditional heating systems.
  • Radiator upscaling: Enhanced heat pump performance ensues with larger surface area distribution, such as underfloor heating or oversized radiators.
  • Hot water tank upgrade: Modern hot water cylinders, offering gradual water heating, may be necessary.

Integration with Solar Panels Integration feasibility hinges on panel type:

  • Solar PV panels: Generate electricity for hot water, lighting, and appliances, complementing heat pumps reliant on electricity for heating.
  • Solar thermal panels: Redundant as most heat pumps already fulfill water heating requisites.