Ground Source Heat Pumps

Ground Source Heat Pumps

Ground source heat pumps provide a new and clean way of heating buildings. They make use of renewable energy stored in the ground, providing one of the most energy-efficient ways of heating buildings.  They are suitable for a wide variety of building types and are particularly appropriate for low environmental impact projects.

How do ground source heat pumps work?

Ground source heat pumps use a series of buried, closed loop pipes containing water and anti-freeze, to extract heat stored in the ground. The length of the ground loop depends on the size of your home and the amount of heat you need - longer loops can draw more heat from the ground, but need more space to be buried in.

Heat from the ground is absorbed into this fluid and pumped through a heat exchanger in the heat pump. This energy is usually used to heat radiators, under floor heating systems and hot water. Beneath the surface the ground stays at a fairly constant temperature so a ground source heat pump can be used throughout the year – even in the middle of winter.

The only energy used by Ground Source Heat Pump systems is electricity to power the pumps.  Typically, a Ground Source Heat Pump will deliver 3 or 4 times as much thermal energy (heat) as is used in electrical energy to drive the system.

The Benefits

  • Can reduce your carbon footprint: heat pumps can lower your home’s carbon emissions, depending on which fuel you are replacing.
  • No fuel deliveries required.
  • Can provide space heating and hot water.
  • Can lower fuel bills, especially if you are currently using conventional electric heating.
  • It's often classed as a ‘fit and forget’ technology because it needs little maintenance.

Is a ground source heat pump suitable for my home?

To tell if a ground source heat pump is right for you, there are a few key questions to consider:

  • Is your garden suitable for a ground loop? It doesn't have to be particularly large, but the ground needs to be suitable for digging a trench or a borehole and accessible to digging machinery.
  • Is your home well insulated? Since ground source heat pumps produce a lower temperature heat than traditional boilers, it's essential that your home is insulated and draught proofed well for the heating system to be effective. It could also make the system cheaper and smaller.
  • What fuel will you be replacing? If you're replacing an electric, or coal heating system, a ground source heating system will save you more on your heating bills. Heat pumps are not recommended for homes on the gas network.
  • What type of heating system will you use? Under floor heating systems, larger radiators or low temperature fan convectors (warm air heating) can perform better than standard radiator-based systems because of the lower water temperatures required.
  • Is the system intended for a new development? Combining the installation with other building work can reduce the cost of installing the system.