Which heat pump suits me best?

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Heat pumps have become established as a sustainable heating solution. So that you can find the right heat pump for your building project, we want quickly to run through the most important information on the three most common types.

Sustainable heating solutions are in vogue. More and more new buildings are therefore integrating heat pumps that make use of free and renewable environmental resources such as earth, water and ambient air and convert them into heating energy. However, the heat pump is also in demand when it comes to renovating old heating systems. Electricity is only used to run the heat pump. In combination with photovoltaics, this can even be generated in an environmentally friendly way. Which of the three most common heat pump types is most suitable for your house, however, depends on various factors. Because not every heat pump is suitable for your own building project.

1) Ground-source heat pump

A ground-source heat pump uses the heat stored in the earth. Energy can be generated in two different ways:

Surface collector:


With additional costs of around 15 euros per m2 for the construction work, surface collectors are the more cost-effective alternative to the ground-source heat pump. A single family home requires a flat surface of at least 300 m2 on which piping is laid at a depth of 1.2 – 1.5 metres. This heat pump is highly efficient during operation. Sun and rain heat the upper layer of the earth and thus also the water flowing through the collectors to between two and twelve degrees and transport the heated water further to the heat pump.



In the case of single family homes, heat generation using underground probes requires a deep drilling of around 200 metres. Under certain circumstances, this can also be divided into two holes of 100 metres each. However, the initial investment is more cost-intensive for a borehole with additional costs of around 50 euros per metre. Due to the low fluctuations of the heat source temperature between ten and fourteen degrees, however, it is highly efficient in operation. A geologist will be required for the analysis of soil conditions. 

2) Water-source heat pump


A water-source heat pump uses the heat contained in the groundwater, which is between eight and ten degrees. Whether this form of energy generation can be used depends on the groundwater level of the respective project. Similar to the ground-source heat pump with underground probes, the first step involves higher costs for the construction of the necessary wells. Due to the different groundwater depths, water-source heat pumps require a geologist to be consulted.

3) Air-source heat pump


Air-source heat pumps are particularly popular with building owners. Just over 70% of all households that heat with a heat pump use an air-source heat pump. In contrast to ground-source and water-source heat pumps, no cost-intensive and time-consuming additional work is necessary. The heat is generated by an outdoor unit that needs to be installed outdoors. Due to its simple installation, the air-source heat pump is also an interesting alternative for refurbishments. In an air-source heat pump, air is drawn in from the outdoor unit and passed through a heat exchanger. 

The heat pump compensates for outside air temperature fluctuations from -16 to 15 degrees Celsius and therefore has a slightly higher electricity consumption than ground-source and water-source heat pumps. In the case of an air-source heat pump, the noise emission of the outdoor unit must also be taken into account to avoid noise which would disturb the occupants themselves or neighbours if the unit is incorrectly installed.You can read more detailed information in our blog post:"Instead of air-conditioning, why not use a heating pump to cool your building?"

Overview of all heat pumps:

Ground-source heat pump
collector 2 to 12 degrees
borehole 10 to 14 degrees
+ constant heat source                   temperature
+ highly efficient
- boreholes involve high costs
- large surface area is
  required for horizontal
Water-source heat pump
8 to 12 degrees
+ constant heat source
+ space-saving
+ highly efficient
- wells involve high costs
- geological consultation
Air-source heat pump
- 16 to 15 degrees
+ affordable
+ simple installation
+ space saving
- lower efficiency
- elevated noise emmision

Expert consulting

Even if you have already read a lot about heat pumps on the Internet, we recommend obtaining the professional opinion of an expert. Let our Hoval partner installers assist you in choosing the energy source for your individual heating and indoor climate control solution; you can now benefit from a free consultation without obligation.

Stefan Müller

More information


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