Heat Pumps

An introduction to ground source heat pumps

ground source intro

The temperature of the earth is almost constantly 10°C all year round. Ground source heat pumps extract this potential energy through pipes buried in the ground. The extracted heat can then be used in radiators, underfloor heating and hot water systems throughout your home.

How do ground source heat pumps work?

Ground source heat pumps work by circulating a mixture of water and antifreeze through pipes that are buried in your garden. The fluid absorbs heat from the ground, before passing through a compression-evaporation cycle. This process raises the temperature significantly, which can then be used in your home. Click here to find out more about how a heat pump works.

Highly efficient technology

Unlike other forms of central heating, heat pumps are an incredibly efficient technology, as they transfer heat rather than generate it. They can potentially run at an efficiency of 400% (1 unit of electricity generates 4 units of heat) and provides enough heat for your home and hot water. For more information on how efficient heat pumps are, click here.

The benefits of ground source heat pumps

  • Reduces energy bills by up to 75% (if you are replacing an electric storage heater)
  • Provides year-round central heating and hot water
  • Emits no harmful pollutants into the environment
  • Heat pumps have a life expectancy of over 20 years, compared to a standard boiler’s of only 10 years.

Is a ground source heat pump the right choice for you?

  • Adequate garden space: the longer the loop of pipe in your garden, the more efficiently the system will function. The area of pipework will need to be roughly twice the size of your home’s floorspace to meet all your heat demands (floor area from every storey).
  • Existing heating system: switching from an electric or coal heating system will give you a faster payback period than switching from gas.
  • Well-insulated home: heat pumps need to operate at a low flow temperature (the temperature of the water passing through your radiators) to run efficiently. Your home may need insulation and larger radiators installing to achieve a high efficiency.
  • New system vs existing builds: heat pump systems can be installed as retrofit solutions in existing properties, however they are ideal for new builds as you can design the system to suit the building.

Receive a tax-free income

Installing a ground source heat pump in your home will make you eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). This is a government-led grant scheme that rewards homeowners for installing renewable heating systems in the home.

If your heat pump is installed by a MCS-certified installer, you’re eligible to receive quarterly payments for seven years, which should cover the cost of the installation (subject to performance).

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