Chances are you are frustrated with the way you heat your home and water.

There are alternatives to how your heat your home and water and these can be surprisingly efficient and beneficial to both your pocket and the environment.

One such alternative is a ground source heat pump.

What Exactly is a Ground Source Heat Pump?

Also known as a geothermal heat pump a ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) is a pump that uses pipes buried in the ground of your garden to extract heat.

The extracted heat is then be used to heat radiators, underfloor or warm air heating systems and hot water in your home.

How does a Ground Source Heat Pump Work?

The heat pump works by circulating a mixture of water and antifreeze around a loop of pipe. This loop called a “ground loop” is buried in your garden.

The heat from the ground is absorbed into the fluid which then passes through a heat exchanger which them passes into the heat pump. Because the temperature beneath the surface of the ground stays fairly consistent the heat pump can be used throughout the year.

The heat from the ground is of course absorbed at a low temperature.  The heat exchanger uses a compressor which raises the temperature that is then used for heating a home or water.

There is a also a cooled found loop that passes the fluid back into the ground where it absorbs more ground heat. This then forms a continuous cycle for as long as heating is required.

The length of your ground loop is dependent on your individual needs – such as the size of your home and the amount of heat that you require.

A longer loop draws more heat but as you may suspect it needs more space to be buried in. If you have limited space you can drill a vertical borehole.

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

Some Possible Benefits to Using A Ground Source Heat Pump

  • Replacing conventional electric heating could result in lower fuel bills, especially
  • There may be income from governmental incentives
  • Your carbon footprint may be smaller – depending on the type of heating fuel replaced
  • Your home and water can be heated using the pump.
  • There is minimal maintenance required for a ground source heat pump

Heat pumps deliver heat at lower temperatures over much longer periods. During cooler seasons they may need to be on constantly to efficiently heat your home.

There are also air source heat pumps.

These are generally easier to install than ground source as they don’t need any trenches or drilling. They are often less efficient than ground source heat pumps.

There are also water source heat pumps. These can be used to provide heating in homes near to rivers, streams and lakes.

Should I consider a ground source heat pump?

Here are some questions and points to consider before getting a ground source heat pump

  • Can your garden support a ground loop? The ground loop doesn’t have to be particularly big, but the ground It is placed in needs to be suitable for digging a trench or a borehole and there needs to be a way to get in the equipment to dig it.
  • Is your insulation sufficient? Ground source heat pumps work best when producing heat at a lower temperature. Therefore it’s essential for your home to be well insulated and draught-proofed for the pump to be effective.
  • The system will pay for itself much more quickly if it’s replacing an electricity or coal heating system. A heat pump may not be the best option for homes using mains gas.
  • Ground source heat pumps can perform better with underfloor heating systems or warm air heating than with radiator-based systems because of the lower water temperatures required. So consider the type of heating you will employ.
  • Combining the installation with other building work can reduce the cost of installing the system if you are working with a new build.

What can I Expect for Cost and Savings

An average ground pump system costs around £13,000-£20,000.

You can expect some variance in running costs depending on a number of factors including the size of your home and how well insulated it is.

How much you can save will depend on what system you use now, as well as what you are replacing it with. Your savings will be affected by:

  • Your heat distribution system
  • Your fuel costs
  •  Your previous heating system
  • Water heating.
  • Effectively learning to use the system

A Ground Source Heat Pump Sounds Great, But What About Maintenance?

Your ground source heat pump can be expected to run for about 20 years or more. It will of course need regularly scheduled maintenance.

After the unit is installed your installer should leave written details of any maintenance checks you should undertake to ensure everything is working properly

If you perform a yearly check using these notes and then get a more thorough check by a professional installer every three to five years you should be good to go.

Heat pump systems typically come with a warranty of two to three years. Individual manufacturers can have workmanship warranties for heat pumps that can last up to 10 years. You can also buy extended warranties.

Ground Source Heat Pump Summary

A ground source heat pump is a great heating alternative that can help you save money and reduce your carbon foot print.

Though there is some research involved in deciding whether or not to put in a ground source heating pump, the benefits to the environment and your wallet can help make that work easier.

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