A leading supplier to the private rental sector has backed the installation of ground source heat pumps, telling landlords that on balance they should consider installing them when gas boilers need wear out.

GK Plumbing has waded into the contentious topic following the Prime Minister’s recent plan to spend billions of pounds installing the technology into 600,000 homes by 2028.

gareth knell ground source heat pumps

Consensus on their appropriateness as an eco heating and hot water solution is far from assured despite the circa £5,000 grants available from the government – particularly as they still use electricity to drive the machinery – and the £10,000 to £18,000 that Which? recently said they cost to install.

Although ground source heat pumps are therefore more expensive to install than gas boilers, require access to a garden and use distinctly un-green hydrochlorofluorocarbons in their machinery, on balance Gareth Knell, founder of GK Plumbing (pictured) backs the technology for landlords.

Additional income

“Firstly, they require little maintenance,” he says. “So, the likelihood of receiving emergency call-outs in the middle of the night because the boiler has blown in the middle of winter are significantly reduced.

“If managed correctly, ground source heat pump technology also has the potential to generate an additional income for a landlord through the Renewable Heat Incentive.

“Also, they remove the risk of combustion, which can have a bearing on your building insurance. Lastly, ground source heat pump installation will also help you future proof your properties against coming legislation.

“There are pros and cons to every heating solution. But right now, ground source heat pumps do look to be one of the most efficient and cost-effective solutions for both homeowners and landlords of the future.”

Read more Tom Entwistle’s deep dive in the technology.


  1. Great for flats NOT

    Great for older houses NOT

    Quick return on investment NOT

    Easy to install NOT

    My advice is to buy TWO conventional boilers just before the legislation comes in. Keep one as a spare.

    Let this whole nonsense blow over and perhaps look again in 20 years when more efficient, cost effective options become available.


  2. I had to laugh! Of course somebody who is selling heat pumps is going to be in favour of landlords installing them.

    They are way too expensive for me and the arguments for them are not strong enough to persuade me to install them.

    In over 25 years of being a landlord I’ve never been called out in the middle of the night or, indeed, anytime , to attend to a broken boiler.

    • Totally agree. My boilers are serviced etc & so have never broken down in the middle of the night or any other time for that matter.
      Also, who even has their boiler on in the middle of the night or would notice in the middle of the night?
      What a ridiculous argument?
      As others have pointed out, heat pumps are not a viable solution anyway.

      The opinion of a man selling heat pumps is not the man whose opinion one should listen to. He might have a vested interest after all?

  3. What a nonsense. I’ve got an 18 year old 4 bed detached with a large-ish garden and have just been told we don’t have the access or garden space to install a ground source. I’m following Landlord-man’s advice with a further view to sell as tenants move on.

  4. The stated benefits of a ground sourced heat pump is not much greater that air sourced heat pumps (I believe a ratio of 4kW for every 1kW of electricity for GSHP and 3kW for every 1kW electricity for ASHP. That said, in this case, all that glitters is not gold. Why the government are effectively promoting this format of heating is really baffling (Some MP’s must have shares in the relative companies). The best – and possibly only – application is where underfloor heating is installed due to the low temperature of the water within the system, but even then the hot water will need to be heated separately by electricity. The government would do better to wait a little bit until hydrogen boilers are generally available, although of course you need access to a source of hydrogen. The only things one can say for sure, are that to rely on gas, coal or oil in the future is not the ideal, to rely on electricity is not really a reliable option until the means by which the electricity is generated – whether by wind, solar, wave, or may one say nuclear – which will be necessary as a stable means of supply – are owned and controlled by the UK or 100% UK companies.


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