Ground Source Heat Pumps
A ground source heat pump (GSHP) is a central heating and/or cooling system that pumps heat to or from pipes buried in the garden. It uses the earth as a source of heat in the winter and as a source of cold in the summer. This heat can then be used to heat radiators, underfloor or warm air heating systems and hot water in your home.
A GSHP circulates a mixture of water and antifreeze around a loop of pipe, called a ground loop. Heat from the ground is absorbed into the fluid and then passes through a heat exchanger into the heat pump. The ground stays at a fairly constant temperature under the surface, so the heat pump can be used throughout the year.
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. If space is limited, a vertical geothermal borehole can be drilled instead.
The setup costs of installing a GSHP are higher than a conventional system, but the difference is usually returned in energy savings between 3 to 10 years. System life is estimated at 25 years for inside components and 50+ years for the ground loop.
Water Source Heat Pumps
Water source heat pumps (WSHP) can be used to provide heating in homes near to rivers, streams and lakes.
They extract the heat from open water such as rivers, lakes and canals and can also extract water from sea water.
They are a more niche renewable technology, given they need a considerable quantity of water to work.
Water source heat pumps are often more efficient than ground and air source devices. This is because heat transfers better in water, while water temperatures are generally more stable throughout the year (between 7 and 12 degrees on average), which is higher than the average air and ground temperature in winter.
Benefits & Maintenance
- Reduce your electricity bills.
- Cut your carbon footprint.
- You could earn income through the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
GSHP/WSHP require regular scheduled maintenance but you can expect them to operate for 20 years.
There is no need for safety checks for ground source heat pumps and routine maintenance requirements are very low. These may include pre-heating season checks of the water pump, external pipes and fittings and electronics.
Thermatech has many years experience of designing, installing and maintaining heat pump systems and most of our designs use a combination of renewable energy sources.