Property Developers Guide to Water Heating

water heating systems

With energy efficiency being a high priority for everyone right now in the UK energy crisis, property developers have set out a guide to help people use heating systems that can be used to curb energy usage and save on both water and the price of energy. 

Water heating can be expensive especially if you are dealing with old pipes and boiler systems. New modern water heating systems can be more energy efficient but still without conservative use can run up the energy bill. 

There are a few different types of heating systems that we will discuss in-depth to make sure that you are on the right track. You can also read the price guide here for more information. 

Renewable Water Heating Systems 

Newer properties have started switching to renewable water heating systems which are more cost-effective. Instead of choosing to stick with burning fossil fuels or using gas heaters, renewable energy options are leading the new home build. 

These heating systems include ground source heat pumps, solar thermal panels, air source heat pumps, and biomass boilers. 

Ground Source Heat Pump 

These pumps use the ground as a heat source, this is done by adding a system of pipes underground in areas where the temperatures are consistently 10-15°C. 

This can take several days for installation and will include digging in your property grounds. 

The price range for ground source heat pumps is between ­£8000-12 000. This is all dependent on the model and the manufacturer as well as the installation process. 

You might also need to have a new heat distribution system installed this can include:

  • a hot water cylinder,
  • pipes, 
  • a large radiator and,
  • underfloor heating. 

The reason for the large radiator system is that heating pumps heats to a lower temperature then standard boilers, so to have more heat, a larger area is needed. 

The installation costs can be between ­£10 000-18 000 and is dependent mainly on the way the pipes are installed. This can be done horizontally or vertically. The horizontal installation process needs more space to be laid but isn’t buried as deep whereas the vertical installation doesn’t require as much space as the horizontal installation but is buried much deeper in the ground. 

It is also more expensive to choose the vertical borehole option than it is to have your installation done horizontally. 

How much does it cost when you have a ground heating system?

Since the ground source heat pump uses renewable energy of ground heat, the costs of having one is lower. 

However, the pump does need electricity to work and this is an expensive fuel. There are a few factors that need to be taken into consideration to calculate how much costs a ground heating system might be. 

  • How well your property insulation is 
  • The temperature of the underground heat source
  • The demand of central heating 
  • The heat distribution system 
  • Efficiency of the heating pump 
  • Whether the pump will provide domestic hot water 

To save on money you can control the heat settings by using the controls of the heating pump and setting them to lower levels. 

Solar Thermal Panels 

These are used by installing them onto your roof and using the sun as the main source of heat supply. Unfortunately, these panels need to be installed with a boiler or a heat pump as these are not a heating system on their own. 

Solar panels can produce between 40-70% hot water for a standard family of 4. 

Types of Solar Panels 

There are two types of solar panels that you can choose from when deciding to use them as your heating option. 

  • Evacuated tube collectors 

These are glass panels in a parallel row that might have a vacuum as an extra layer of insulation. 

  • Flat Plate Collectors  

These are metal tubes and are flat panels that have a darkened glazed surface. The tubes can either be copper or aluminium and are filled with fluid. This fluid is heated by the sun and that is transferred to the heating system to heat the water. 

How do solar thermal panels work?

Solar panels work in three easy steps. 

  1. The panels are fitted to your roof and absorb the heat from the sun. 
  2. The heat collected from the fluid travels down into your home and gets transferred into the water tank using a heat exchanger. 
  3. The hot water is then distributed into the pipes and once you open your taps, hot water is at the ready.    

Air Source Heat Pump

The air source heat pump draws heat from outside the home. There are two types of air source heat pumps, and these are popular as they do not take up as much space as other renewable heat sources. 

  • Air-to-air 

These pumps heat the property using a network of fans and they provide extra cooling for those hot days. 

  • Air-to-water 

These pumps are designed for homes that have a wet central heating system which is your radiators or underfloor heating. 

Typically the price to install an air source heat pump is £4 000-11 000. 

Biomass Boiler 

These boilers are the same as oil and gas boilers. The fuel however is plant-based, these can either be wood, chips or pellets depending on the model of the boiler. 

There are also two types of biomass boilers that you can choose from, a manual and an automatic boiler. 

The price range for a biomass boiler is between £4 000-21 000. Manual biomass boilers are much cheaper than the automatic ones. 

Here are some considerations you need to think about before deciding on installing a biomass boiler. 

  • A hot domestic storage cylinder that will be needed to store the domestic hot water
  • You might need to have a larger heat distribution system because of the low temperatures that are used to heat up the water. 
  • You will need to have proper insulation by having enough cavity wall space, as well as loft and floor space to ensure that the heating stays within the home. 
  • If you choose a manual boiler you will need to clean the ash whereas an automatic one is self-cleaning. 


Renewable energy has been introduced to stop homes and businesses from using fuels and oils that add to the effects of global warming.

Using renewable energy has resulted in lowering carbon emissions and greenhouse gases. For more ways to find water heating solutions you can visit to find useful tips and tricks to help you save on your energy bill.