GROUND SOURCE HEAT PUMPS

Ground Source Heat Pumps are stand-alone units. They are roughly the same size as a fridge freezer unit. They can be installed outside or inside your home or business premises. Groundworks are required to lay the ‘ground-loop’ system. This is the pipework that collects the heat energy from the ground.

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Ground Source Heat PUMPS

A Ground Source Heat Pump draws in heat from the ground. It then transfers this heat to provide you with your heating needs. It distributes it via your underfloor heating and radiators.

When the outside temperature is below zero, 100% of your heating and hot water needs can be generated. This is because the ground temperature is generally between 6 – 12 degree C all year round.

The ground loop can sit horizontally or vertically..  Horizontally laid loops need to be a meter below the surface. If vertically laid, a bore is drilled around 100 meters down. If you have a lake, they work very well as this temperature is also quite consistent.

The most common configuration is horizontal ground loop. This loop is laid in a straight line, spaced at least 1 meter apart. The ground work can be expensive, often costing more than the Heat-pump unit itself. Also, a good deal of land is needed. A good rule of thumb being 3 times the amount of floor space you are looking to heat.

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So how do Ground Source Heat Pumps work?

Ground Source Heat Pumps are efficient. They move energy rather than create it. For every 3kW of heat moved into your home it only uses 1kW of electricity. This is a performance efficiency of 300%!

How it actually works sounds more complicated than it is! This step by step guide will help you through it:

  • The ground-loop pushes fluid around its circuit collecting the heat from the soil.
  • The Heat Pump’s evaporator then uses the ground source heat obtained by the exchanger to boil the refrigerant. (This boils at approximately -10˚C). This turns the refrigerant into vapour which is then transferred to the Compressor.
  • The Compressor then compresses the vapour and as its volume decreases. At the same time its temperature increases. The gas that is created is fed through to a heat exchanger within the heating pump.
  • Forcing this hot gas through the central heating system’s cold water condenses the refrigerant back into a liquid. As it does this its heat is passed into the heat exchanger which supplies your domestic hot water. This powers the central heating system using the air source heat extracted at source.
  • To complete the Heat Pump’s closed circuit, the pressure of the condensed liquid is reduced via the expansion valve. ‘Voila’ - your heating requirements are provided.

 

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