Ground Source Heat Pumps work because the heat 1m below the surface level is a constant 8 – 12ºC depending on geographical location. Ground Source Heat Pumps extract the heat from the ground using a heat transference liquid which is then put through a compressor. This process raises the temperature. This heat is then transferred to heat your hot water via a heat exchanger. Ground Source Heat Pumps can be used both for hot water and space heating, however when being used for space heating various criteria have to be met to make sure it is the right solution for your property. We have come across numerous examples of incorrectly specified and poorly installed Ground Source Heat Pumps.
Ground Source Heat Pumps need loops of pipe work which contain a liquid such as glycol, which has a low freezing point and high heat transference properties. The amount of surface area of pipe required will depend on the size of property that needs to be heated or the hot water demand of the property. The pipes can either be laid horizontally or vertically via a bore hole. If laid horizontally they need to be spaced out correctly to avoid creating a permafrost. With a bore hole you don’t know what you’re going to drill into until you start drilling!
Ground Source Heat Pump installations, provided they have been carried out by an MCS Accredited installer such as EnergyMyWay, will receive financial incentives via the government-backed Renewable Heat Incentive. The Renewable Heat Incentive came into effect from July 2011 for those who can not get mains gas under the Renewable Heat Incentive Premium Payment scheme and you can claim a voucher worth £1,250 towards the cost of your Ground Source Heat Pump. For more information about how to apply for the RHI click here.
Ground Source Heat Pumps are very energy efficient. Typically, each kilowatt of electricity used to run the heat pump produces three to four kilowatts of heat delivered to the building.
A typical Ground Source Heat Pump unit for a domestic dwelling is about the same size as a fridge.
Yes. Some Heat Pump systems either ground or air are able to heat domestic hot water. This usually involves the installation of a well insulated water cylinder as well as the Heat Pump.
Yes. There are reverse-cycle heat pumps that can deliver both heating and cooling. This works well with under-floor heating systems.
Well insulated draft free buildings are most suitable for Ground Source Heat Pumps as they do not heat the water up to much above 45ºC, unlike a conventional boiler.
Yes. Ground Source Heat Pump systems are ideally matched to modern low temperature under-floor heating.
Yes, they can, but you will need larger radiators, sized for the typical 45°C water temperatures obtained from Heat Pump systems. If your house is well insulated they may be suitable, but check to see how big they would have to be and the space they would take up.
A typical heating-only installation for a medium sized, new build detached house would need at least two narrow trenches, each 300 mm wide, 40 to 50 metres long, and 1 metre deep. The trenches can be straight or curved and laid in any direction to suit your site, providing they are always a minimum of 5 metres apart. A standard excavator, such as the type used to dig conventional foundations and footings, can dig the trenches and backfill them after the ground loops have been installed. The longer the trenches the more energy your Ground Source Heat Pump will be able to harvest.
Yes, wet land is better at conducting heat so, as long as you can physically dig a trench, it’s ideal for use with a Ground Source Heat Pump.
Yes, it is possible to use very large ponds and fast flowing streams as an energy heat source for Heat Pumps.
There are no hazardous gas emissions, no flammable oil, LPG or gas pipes, no flue or chimney and no unsightly fuel tanks. GSHP systems have absolutely NO site emissions. There is no need for regular servicing or annual safety checks and maintenance is very low.
It depends what you are comparing. In a modern, well insulated house, a Ground Source Heat Pump system can offer very high efficiency and moderate running costs. An oil-fired boiler would cost considerably more to run, and electric heating would be at least three times as expensive. It is true that the very best of the modern condensing gas boilers may only be a little more expensive to run but that is on current gas prices, which are set to rise.
The initial purchase costs of a Ground Source Heat Pump system will be quite a lot more than a conventional oil or gas fired boiler and even an Air Source Heat Pump. The initial one-off expense is offset by the lower running costs, lower maintenance and low servicing requirement. There is also the security of knowledge that the majority of your heating and cooling energy comes out of your ground, is under your control and will not increase in price.
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