Ground Source Heat Pumps
There is heat in the ground that can be used to heat your home!
Ground source heat pumps use pipes buried in the garden to extract heat from the ground. This can be used to heat radiators, under-floor heating systems and hot water.
This will reduce the cost of heating your home, and with the Renewable Heat Incentive and RHPP there are extra incentives backed by the government that improve your savings.
A Ground Source heat pump works like a fridge in reverse; it draws the heat from the ground, concentrates it and then releases it in your home. Beneath the surface, the ground stays at a fairly constant temperature (around 12°C), so a ground source heat pump can be used throughout the year – even in the middle of winter. Most modern heat pumps even automatically adjust to the weather outside. When the external temperature drops the heat provided by the system increases.
With the RHPP scheme you can receive a one off payment of £1,250 towards the installation, and early next year the government will announce how much they will pay homeowners through the Renewable Heat Incentive and RHPP.
By installing a Ground Source heat pump you could cut heating bills and emissions by up to 30% for houses that are currently heated with gas and up to 70% in those using oil or electricity. Using ground source heat instead of electricity fuelled heat can save you up to £1000 per year on your heating bills.
- How long should the ground loop be?
- That depends on the energy requirements of your house, the space that you have available and the type of ground you have. The larger the home that is to be heated, more energy that is required thus more loop needed in the ground. When planning and designing your system your installer will design your system so that it meets your needs.Typical systems are 6 to 12kW, and you'll usually need 10m of coiled pipe per kW for installation in horizontal trenches - you'll need less piping if you're installing it in a vertical borehole. If ground space is restricted, a vertical borehole (or several) is a good choice - these are now comparable in cost to installing the loops in horizontal trenches.
- Can a ground source heat pump be used with underfloor heating?
- Underfloor heating is a great choice for use with a ground source heat pump, but large radiators or a mix of both can be used for distributing heat around your home. Heat pumps produce a lower temperature heat than conventional boilers, therefore they are far more effective if used with a larger surface heating distribution system such as underfloor heating or large radiators. A good rule of thumb is that if used with heat pumps, the radiators should be around 30% larger compared to the size of radiator that would be used with a conventional boiler.
- Will a ground source heat pump provide enough hot water for heating and baths/showers?
- Yes, with the correct design and equipment, a ground source heat pump can meet all your domestic hot water requirements throughout the year. If you do not have enough space in your garden for a system large enough to meets your needs you can top up the heat the heat pump produces with the help of a more conventional system. Your installer will be able to confirm whether the size of system you can accommodate will meet your needs.
- Can I heat a swimming pool using a ground source heat pump?
- Yes, a system can be designed purely for your pool, be it indoor or outdoor, and if required it can form a heating and hot water system for the whole of your property.
- Can a ground source heat pump be installed in an old building?
- You can install ground source heat pumps in old buildings, and there are lots of examples of this being done. The design phase is very important as there are lots of issues to overcome in older buildings, especially if it is listed.
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