Water source heat pumps

Water source heat pumps can be used to provide heating in homes near to rivers, streams and lakes. They are similar to Ground Source Heat Pumps except that the ground loop is immersed in water.

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Closed or Open Loop

The loop can either be closed, as it is with the ground source heat pump, or it can be open, where the source water itself circulates into the pump. Open systems are generally thought to be more efficient, but need more maintenance.

Installation

You will need a large lake or river near by. Installation can be costly as you may well need to drain the lake or involve divers.

Savings

The savings can be considerable – Castle Howard, a baroque stately home in Yorkshire installed a water source heat pump at a cost of £185,000 (but with grants and interest free loans totalling £120,000). The expected annual heating bill when using oil was £80,000, however after a year using the heat pumps the electricity bill was only £14,000. It is very likely that the savings in your home will be more modest, assuming your home is more modest; in the same region of the savings from of a Ground Source Heat Pumps.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have announced that the Renewable Heat Incentive is expected to be launched in Summer 2013.

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FAQs

Do ground source heat pumps really work?
Yes, they really do. Ground source heat pumps take up the heat from the ground and transfer that heat to your home's hot water supply, allowing it to be heated just using some electricity to power the pump, using a lot less fuel than conventional heating systems. With proper system design, ground source heat pumps can supply all of your home's heating and hot water without the need for a back-up system, even in winter.
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.
Will a ground source heat pump be able to heat my home adequately in the winter?
As long as you have enough space in your garden for a system that meets your needs, and your choice of system is suited to your heating needs, a ground source heat pump should be able to heat your home comfortably in the winter. They are often used very effectively in far colder countries than Britain.
Can a ground source heat pump be used to cool my house?
Yes, in some ground source heat pump systems this can be achieved as either passive or active cooling.
Will a ground source heat pump save me money on my energy bills?
Yes, a well designed ground source heat pump system will save money and CO2 compared to other traditional heating systems, especially now that the government is in part funding new installations with the Renewable Heat Premium Payment grant. Exactly how much money you save depends on how well your system is designed and the efficiency of your old system. Find out how much you could save by completing our Energy Assessment.
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