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 are the ground loops installed?
The ground loop is either buried in trenches in the land outside your house at a depth of 1.5-2m or installed in boreholes that range from 25-150m deep. They can also be placed in lakes or ponds to capture the heat from the water - this is usually used on large estates.
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 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.
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.
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