A ground source heat pump system uses natural heat from underground by pumping water through it in pipes. The heat pump increases the temperature, and the heat is then used to provide the home with heating or hot water. The ground source heat pumps are made up of a network of water pipes buried underground with a heat pump at ground level.
A mixture of water and anti-freeze is pumped around the loop and absorbs the naturally occurring heat that is stored in the ground. The water is then compressed and passed through a heat exchanger, which extracts the heat and transfers it to the heat pump. From there, the heat is then transferred to the home heating system. The heat can then be used in a radiator, hot water or underfloor heating system.
It essentially performs the same role as a boiler in a central heating system, but it uses less electrical energy than the heat it produces.
Pros of ground source heat pumps
The pumps generate less CO2 than conventional heating systems and could save you between £50 and £1,500 a year, depending which heating system is being replaced. Financial help can also be provided to help towards the installation of a ground source heat pump; for an average four-bedroom detached home, payment is estimated between £2,630 and £4,070 a year.
Cons of ground source heat pumps
The pump system is very expensive, typically £13,000-£20,000, depending on the size of the system. The heat pumps are not suitable for properties with existing gas-fired central heating. The technology works at low temperatures, which makes it a better system for homes with underfloor heating or large radiators.
How green is a ground source heat pump?
Very, in fact! The system can help to lower your carbon footprint as it uses a renewable, natural source of heat – the ground.