A ground source heat pump is an electrically powered system that uses the natural energy stored in the earth to heat your home. By sinking collectors into the ground they draw the energy from the earth and convert into heat for radiators and underfloor heating.
This is done by using a similar principle to those of a domestic fridge and the latent energy is released into the heating circuit of the property. This allows temperatures taken from the earth to be boosted to a useful level for the provision of home heating and hot water. For every single kilowatt of electricity used to power the ground source heat pumps, this system could generate four kilowatts or more in energy for your home.
Many factors determine whether ground source heat pumps are suitable for a property, including insulation, heat distribution and the land area for the heat pump's collectors as illustrated in the diagrams below.
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.
Reduce your CO 2 emissions : on average a ground source heat pump could save around 540kg of carbon dioxide every year when replacing an oil boiler.
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.
To tell if a ground source heat pump is right for you, there are a few key questions to consider:
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 machinery.
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 smaller.
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 smaller.
What type of heating system do you want? Underfloor heating systems or warm air heating will work much better than radiator-based systems.
Is the system intended for a new development? Combining the installation with other building work can reduce the cost of installing the system.