What is a ground source heat pump?
A ground source heat pump is a heating unit that extracts energy from the earth via pipe work in the ground and produces the heating and or hot water for a home or building. The heat pump itself is only one part of what you need in a ground source heating system. A typical installation can be broken down into three sections. The ground array, the heat pump, and the heating storage and delivery.
- The ground array: the ground array is where you extract your heat from, typically consisting of plastic pipes buried in the ground, the fluid that pumps around these pipes is cold so that it can extract the warmth from earth around them.
- The Heat pump: This is the heater of the system. Using a refrigeration cycle, the heat pump has a hot and a cold side of its circuit; the hot side is used to heat up water for heating, which can be used for a heating circuit or a hot water cylinder, and the cold side is used to extract the energy from the ground.
- Heating Storage and Delivery: A heat pump isnt an instant water heater. This means that it will heat up water incrementally over time, so for a heat pump to produce usable hot water for sinks, showers and other uses you need to store this pre-heated water in a hot water cylinder. As a part of the installation to prevent the system from running in short bursts you may also need to install an accumulator/buffer tank to store heated water for the heating circuit.
Is a ground source heat pump suitable for me?
Ground source heat pumps are highly efficient systems when installed correctly. There is a criteria to be met for an effective ground source heat pump installation. You need to have a sufficient amount of land for the installation of the ground array, you need to have a suitable amount of space indoors for the installation of the ground source heat pump, and the tanks and other equipment needed. You also need to be heating a home or a space that has a heating delivery system such as radiators, underfloor heating or fan coils that can heat the space at low water temperatures. The criteria for each of these is entirely dependant on the home/building being heated. The only way to accurately calculate what is needed for each of these is by carrying out a full heat loss calculation
What is the installation process?
- Every installation should start with a heat loss calculation to calculate the amount of energy that needs to be produced and the size of the heat pump that is needed to produce it. This also means calculating the size of ground array needed to meet the demand, and that the heating circuit is sized to effectively heat at a low water temperature.
- Once certain that a system can be installed correctly, the next step in the process is to install the ground array, this can be done in a number of ways but it is best to get the part of the process done first.
- Once your ground array has been installed it is finally time to install your ground source heat pump, and any other equipment needed for the installation.
How much is it likely to cost?
The costs of a ground source heat pump vary depending on the size of the installation required, and the system type chosen. Ground source heat pump systems for a domestic home typically range from £10,000 to £35,000.
Why choose Energy by Nature UK?
We have years of experience designing and installing ground source heat pump systems, our in depth knowledge of these systems guides gives our customers peace of mind during the installation process. We are recommended by our customers and suppliers alike.