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Ground Source Heat Pumps
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heat pumps use pipes buried in the garden to extract heat from the ground. This
is usually used to warm water for radiators or underfloor heating systems. It
can also be used to pre-heat water before it goes into a more conventional
See how a ground source heat pump can work in your
Beneath the surface, the ground stays at
a constant temperature, so a ground source heat pump can be used throughout the
year - even in the middle of winter.
* How do ground
source heat pumps work?
* The benefits of ground source
* Is a ground source heat pump suitable for my
* Costs and savings
* Air and
water source heat pumps
How does a ground source heat pump
A ground source heat pump circulates a mixture of water
and antifreeze around a loop of pipe - called a ground loop - which is buried in
the garden. When the liquid travels around the loop it absorbs heat from the
ground - used to heat radiators, underfloor heating systems and even hot
The length of the ground loop depends on the size of your home and
the amount of heat you need - longer loops can draw more heat from the
Normally the loop is laid flat, or coiled in trenches about two
metres deep, but if there is not enough space in your garden you can install a
vertical loop to a depth of up to 100 metres.
of a ground source heat pump is measured by a coefficient of performance (CoP) -
the amount of heat it produces compared to the amount of electricity needed to
run it. A typical CoP for a ground source heat pump is around 3.2 without any
reductions for the type of distribution system.
The benefits of ground source heat pumps
Reduce your CO2 emissions: on average a ground source heat pump could save
around 540kg of carbon dioxide every year when replacing an oil
* Eliminate your fuel bills: ground source
heat pumps run on electricity, so there's no need to pay for gas, oil or solid
fuels to heat your home.
* Cut down on wasted
electricity: heating your home with a ground source heat pump is much more
efficient than using electric radiators.
Is a ground source
heat pump suitable for my home?
To tell if a ground
source heat pump is right for you, there are a few key questions to
* Is your garden suitable for a ground
loop? It doesn't have to be particularly large, but the ground needs to be
suitable for digging a trench or a borehole and accessible to digging
* Is your home well insulated? Since ground
source heat pumps produce a lower temperature heat than traditional boilers,
it's essential that your home is insulated and draught proofed well for the
heating system to be effective. It could also make the system cheaper and
* What fuel will you be replacing? If you're
replacing an electric, oil, Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) or coal heating system, a
ground source heating system will pay for itself quite quickly. If you're
replacing a new, more efficient heating system, your savings will be
* What type of heating system do you want?
Underfloor heating systems or warm air heating will work much better than
* Is the system intended for a
new development? Combining the installation with other building work can reduce
the cost of installing the system.
Costs of installing a typical system range from about
€10,000 to €17,000.
Running costs for a year, where all hot water and space
heating can be
provided by the system are likely to be around €850 per year,
depend on a number of factors - including the size of your home and
how well insulated it is.
Savings can be considerable - up to 540kg
of CO2 and €200 if you're replacing an oil-fired central heating
To reduce your home's CO2 emissions further, consider installing
solar electricity or some other form of renewable electricity generating system
to power the compressor and pump.
Savings above assume ground source heat
pump installed in a detached property which provides 100% of space heating and
up to 50% of domestic hot water, the additional 50% is met through an electric
Water source heat pumps
These systems use similar
principles to ground source
heat pumps to extract heat from water
instead of the ground.
Water source heat pumps can be used to provide heating
homes near to rivers, streams and lakes.