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

How does the heat from a heat pump reach the house?
The ground loop in the system contains a carrier fluid which absorbs the heat in your ground. It's pumped around to the pump unit in your house, which transfers the heat from the carrier fluid to your water and concentrates it at the same time, meaning that it is hot enough to be used in your heating and as hot water.
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.
Are ground source heat pumps noisy?
No, they make about the same level of noise as a fridge.
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.
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