What are Ground Source Heat Pumps?
Ground source heat pumps operate on the same principle as air source heat pumps, but extract heat form the soil. During the summer solar energy penetrates, and is stored in, the ground. This is either directly absorbed or is carried in as heat from rain / percolating groundwater. The heat is extracted from the soil by means of a collector (buried plastic tubing) either in horizontal runs around 1m deep or in boreholes. An environmentally-friendly, non-freezing mix of water and glycol circulates through the tubing; this absorbs heat from the ground which is then carried back for use in the heat pump. The highest yield can be obtained from soil with high water content as this maximises thermal contact with the collector.
Inside the heat pump there are several key components that take the collected heat from the ground and convert it for heat in the home:
- In the evaporator heat energy is transferred from the glycol to a closed circuit of refrigerant liquid which circulates inside the heat pump – the refrigerant will then evaporate and change state to a gas.
- The refrigerant gas is carried into a compressor which substantially increases the pressure and hence the temperature of the refrigerant (Boyle’s Law).
- In the condenser the heat is extracted, the hot refrigerant gas is cooled and condenses back to a liquid. The heat energy is transferred from the refrigerant to the heating or hot water system of the house.
- The expansion valve releases the pressure on the refrigerant and the cycle starts again.
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Why use a Ground Source Heat Pump?
The main benefit of a heat pump is that for every unit of electricity used to power the compressor, the heat pump will typically output 3-4 units of heat – making them 300-400% efficient. This compares to efficiencies of 85-95% for traditional heating systems.
The precise level of heat pump efficiency is dictated by a number of factors including:
- the quality of, and technology employed in, the heat pump
- the temperature of the heat source used to evaporate the refrigerant
- the required output temperature to the house heating system
The main advantage of ground source heat pumps over air source is that efficiencies are higher due to the fact that the temperature of the glycol coming back to the heat pump tends to be much more stable, and in the winter much higher than the air – the ground below the frost line tends to stay much warmer than the air.
The very high efficiency of heat pumps means that running costs are generally lower than other fuels off the mains gas grid e.g. oil, LPG, electric boilers and solid fuel.
Benefits of Ground Source Heat Pump
- Minimal maintenance required (annual checks of safety systems, operational efficiency, cleaning of filters, heating distribution system check etc)
- Long warranties for quality products – up to 7 years for some of the products we install
- Improved levels of comfort – heat pumps are normally designed to match the heat losses from your property and maintain a stable internal temperature – not to deal with substantial swings in temperature from letting the property get cold as is often the case with traditional heating systems
- Little / no user intervention – no fuel deliveries
- Could provide you with an income through the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
- Uses a fuel which is aligned with the UKs energy strategy which will increasingly move away from dwindling fossil fuels
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Air source heat pump replacing costly oil fired boiler. Best purchase ever. Saving over £2,000 pa on oil and £26 per month on boiler maintenance. Electricity bill only gone up by £1,000. Home is much warmer throughout the day, which is ideal now my wife and I are retired and spend a lot more time at home during the day. Found the company to be very professional, helpful and knowledgeable at all times without being pushy. We were dealt with by Mark Roper and all times we found that he had our best interest at heart.
We would highly recommend Mark and the team, who were very professional, helpful and knowledgeable and skilfully managed our project at every stage. We would definitely work with them again in the future.
We were keen to install a more sustainable heating system and to benefit from government grants, but were concerned at the number of ‘cowboys’ operating in the sector. We were delighted the willingness of Trusted Energy Solutions to listen to what we needed rather than trying to sell us what was convenient to them. They were very supportive during the somewhat eccentric grant process, and considerate and tidy during the installation process. In summary, we are now warm, and get quarterly cheques from the government for the privilege - what is there not to like?
All the staff at Trusted Energy Solutions have worked hard to help deliver my biomass boiler on time and to suit our needs. They have made the installation smooth and have been helpful and understanding talking me through the process of RHI registration and submitting readings.
We were looking for an alternative to our oil fired heating, which was getting very costly to run, but were unaware as to what the alternatives were. That was until we were referred to Mark Roper who explained everything in detail without any sales pressure at all. We felt we could trust his advice and went ahead with a pv panel installation and a heat source pump for our central heating. Our fuel costs are now much lower and any sign of an oil fired installation has gone! From start to finish the installers were very professional and clearly skilled at what they did. We would have no hesitation at recommending Mark and his company to any interested clients.
Everything went well and apart from Winston the pig getting a bit stressed due to having strangers watching him eat, the disruption was kept to a minimum. The whole installation was completed in a very professional way and the guys were great.
Highly satisfied with the way the installation was conducted and managed; everything went smoothly and the process was made very easy for us by the team. Would definitely recommend Trusted Energy to anyone looking for any products in the future!
I am very pleased with the highly efficient and prompt service I received from the engineers at Trusted Energy; they were thoroughly professional and knowledgeable - Thank you!
We are very pleased with your upgrades to our heating system for our extension. We couldn't have asked for more - your team has excelled themselves.
Huge thanks to you, Mark and the whole team for such a wonderful job - great expertise and support!