Ground Source Heat Pumps

Heat your home with energy absorbed from the ground with a Ground source heat pump.

Ground source heat pumps use pipes buried in the garden to extract heat from the ground. This is usually used to heat radiators or 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.

How does a ground source heat pump work?

A ground source heat pump circulates a mixture of water and antifreeze around a loop of pipe - called a ground loop - which is buried in the garden. Heat from the ground is absorbed into this fluid and is pumped through a heat exchanger in the heat pump. Low grade heat passes through the heat pump compressor and is concentrated into a higher temperature useful heat capable of heating water for the heating and hot water circuits of the house. Ground loop fluid, now cooler, passes back into the ground where it absorbs further energy from the ground in a continuous process while heating is required.

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.

Normally the loop is laid flat or coiled in trenches about two meters deep, but if there is not enough space in your garden you can install a vertical loop down into the ground to a depth of up to 100 meters for a typical domestic home.

Heat pumps have some impact on the environment as they need electricity to run, but the heat they extract from the ground, air, or water is constantly being renewed naturally.

Unlike gas or oil boilers, heat pumps deliver heat at lower temperatures over much longer periods. This means that during the winter they may need to be left on 24/7 to heat your home efficiently. It also means that radiators should never feel as hot to the touch as they would do when using a gas or oil boiler.

The benefits of ground source heat pumps

  • 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, coal or oil heating system, a ground source heating system will save you more on your heating bills.

  • Is the system intended for a new development? Combining the installation with other building work can reduce the cost of installing the system.

Costs and savings

Costs of installing a typical system range from about £10,000 to £25,000. Running costs will depend on a number of factors - including the size of your home and how well insulated it is.Savings will vary depending on many factors, some are outlined below. It is important that the system is controlled appropriately for your needs.

  • The heat distribution system: If you have the opportunity, under floor heating can provide greater efficiencies than radiators because the water doesn’t need to be heated to such a high temperature. If under floor heating isn’t possible, then slightly oversized radiators. We will be able to advise you on this at design point.

  • Fuel costs: you will still have to pay fuel bills with a heat pump because they are powered by electricity. The saving you achieve can be affected by the price of the fuel you are replacing and the price of the electricity for the heat pump.
  • Efficiency of old and new system: the efficiency of the old heating system will affect how much you spent on heating bills previously. If the old heating system was inefficient heating bills could have been high and the difference between the new running costs and the old running costs will be greater, therefore providing a greater saving.

  • Temperature setting: if you heat your home to much higher temperatures with a new heat pump system than you did with an old heating system then you will experience greater comfort benefits, but heating bills could be higher than if you continued with the same heating pattern. It’s a good idea to set thermostats to around 18 to 21 degrees centigrade.

  • Using the controls: learn how to control the system so you can get the most out of it. Your installer should explain to you how to control the system so you can use it most effectively

Southern Counties
Heating & Plumbing

Copyright © 2015

Office Telephone: 02392 640883
Fax: 02392 361700
Email: lloyd.emery@sc-hp.co.uk

41 Brecon Avenue
Portsmouth
Hampshire
PO6 2AN

Measures taken to ensure quality in our services:

  • Gas Safe registered No. 179300
  • Plumbing NVQ to Level 3 City and Guilds
  • ACS Gas Certificate completed
  • Green Energy qualifications
  • General Knowledge of Plumbing, Heating and Gas installations
  • Public Liability Insurance to £2million

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