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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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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