A Guide to Ground Source Heat Pumps

Peter Elliston
Peter Elliston
Posted  underHeat PumpsUncategorized
A Guide to Ground Source Heat Pumps

Clean energy has been a growing topic in the UK. With guidelines pushing for more green and environmentally friendly energy sources and central heating systems with the current steps they are taking to implement the boiler ban, heat pumps are poised to potentially replace boilers entirely as the mainstream renewable heating systems within UK households.  

There are, however, different types of heat pumps available in today’s market, such as ground source heat pumps and air source heat pumps. Despite a greater initial cost, ground source heat pumps tend to result in cheaper energy bills in the long term, and so our team of experts at Warmaway have compiled this complete guide to ground source heat pumps to help you make an informed and responsible buying decision. 

What are Ground Source Heat Pumps? 

Ground source heat pumps are electrical-based renewable heating systems. They are low carbon, energy efficient heating systems which can be used together with your radiators and underfloor heating. Ground source heat pumps extract heat from the earth to generate both heat and hot water for your home. 

 How does ground source heat pump work? 

  1. Ground source heat pumps work by pipework through the ground absorbing the earth’s heat to heat up antifreeze fluid in the pipes at low temperatures of around 10-12°C.  
  1. This low heat liquid travels to an evaporator as part of the heat exchanger, turning this liquid into a gas. 
  1. This gas is then compressed to raise its temperature, generating enough heat to warm your home. 
  1. The generated heat is now ready to travel through your home to heat your underfloor heating, radiators, and provide hot water for your home. 

Ground Source Heat pumps installation 

Before installing a ground source heat pump system, excavation work needs to be done to fit the ground loops (pipes) that extract the heat from the ground. There are two methods of excavation, and the correct one for you will depend on your property and the space around it. 

The two methods are: 

  • Shallow troughs – this is where the ground is dug horizontally at a shallow level of around 50-150m deep to fit the ground loops in (pipe system) that extracts the heat. 
  • Bore holes – this is where the ground is dug vertically deep into the earth of up to 15-122m down. The number of bore holes and depth needed completely depends on the size and surrounding area of your property. 

After the excavation is completely, the ground loops can be installed by accredited professionals followed by the heating system.  

Ground source heat pump installation from Warmaway

With Warmaway, installation only takes around a week depending on the size of your home and the type of excavation is needed. 

It is recommended and important to get your heat pumps installed by a licenced and accredited professional to ensure they are installed correctly and work effectively. Unless you are certified in installing your own ground source heat pumps, it can be unsafe, potentially cause damage to the heat pumps systems and expert knowledge is required for installation. 

Ground source heat pump costs 

In terms of costs, ground source heat pumps can vary due to it entirely depending on your home size and its surrounding ground. For more information, check out our blog on a full breakdown of heat pumps costs. 

Ground source heat pump advantages 

Why are ground source heat pumps a good option? Here is why: 

  • Energy efficient – GSHPs produce 400% more energy than is required to run them. Even though they use electricity, this is only a small amount to generate the compressor, compared to the amount of energy it can produce. This means for every 1Kwh of electricity it uses, it produces 4Kwh of energy in heat. 
  • Low carbon – due to them not producing any fossil fuels, ground source heat pumps are a fantastic sustainable source of energy and reduce your carbon footprint. 
  • Long-term costs saving – ground source heat pumps are usually expensive due to the high installation costs, however due to them being the most energy efficient and sustainable energy heating system, they will benefit you in the long run with low maintenance costs. For more information on heat pump costs, see our breakdown of costs here. 
  • Government grant – with the government’s boiler upgrade scheme, you can save £6,000 off of installation costs of your ground source heat pump. As a result, with the reduced costs, it is even more cost effective. 
  • Long lifespan – Ground source heat pumps have a fantastic lifespan of over 25 years, in comparison to gas heating systems with average life spans of only 10-15 years – this renewable energy heating system is sure to last you a very long time. 

Ground source heat pumps disadvantages 

Here at Warmaway we want to ensure you get the best heating system for your home. As a result, we are here to give you both ground source heat pump advantages and disadvantages, so you can make the best decision for you and your home: 

  • Installation costs: ground source heat pumps are usually more expensive due to the complex construction infrastructure needed in preparation for the installation. However, with the government boiler upgrade scheme, you could receive a grant to help cover some of the costs.  
  • Soil type: the type of soil you have in surrounding your property can impact the efficiency of your ground source heat pump through its ability to store and conduct heat also known as thermal diffusivity. 

How effective are ground source Heat Pumps? 

Ground source heat pumps are a great investment for the long-term, both in terms of protecting yourself from the boiler bans and saving money annually. However, here are a couple things that can ensure your ground source heat pumps can perform at optimum level: 

  • Insulation infrastructure: ensuring your home is well insulated will mean less insulation is needed to be done prior to installation. This means the heat generated in your home will keep your home warm for a longer period of time. 
  • Replacement of radiators – heat pumps in general usually work at lower temperature in comparison to gas boilers, hence having increased surface areas with your radiators and heating infrastructure can optimise efficiency. This can be through installing larger radiators or underfloor heating. 

How can Warmaway help? 

Here at Warmaway we have over 45years of professional experience and expertise. With this in mind we are able to offer you full service for both installation and maintenance of ground source heat pumps. 

For more information, see our FAQ’s and our ground source heat pump page or contact us here. 

If you are interested in installing a ground source heat pump, get in touch today. 

Trust central heating specialists at Warmaway to set you up with quality heat pumps in Yorkshire. 

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