Ground source heat pumps

Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) use pipes which are buried in the garden to extract heat from the ground. This heat can then be used to heat radiators, underfloor or warm air heater and warm water in your house.

A ground source heat pump flows a mix of water and antifreeze around a loop of pipe, called a ground loop, which is buried in your garden. Heat from the ground is taken in into the fluid and then travels through a heat exchanger into the heat pump. The ground stays at a relatively constant temperature level under the surface, so the heat pump can be utilized throughout the year.

The length of the ground loop depends upon the size of your home and the amount of heat you require. Longer loops can draw more heat from the ground, but need more space to be buried in. If space is restricted, a vertical borehole can be drilled instead.

The advantages of ground source heat pump

Could decrease your fuel costs, particularly if you change standard electric heating

Could offer you with income through the federal government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

Could decrease home carbon emissions, depending on which fuel you are replacing.

No fuel deliveries needed.

Can warm your home in addition to your water.

Minimal maintenance required.

Unlike gas and oil boilers, heat pumps provide heat at lower temperatures over a lot longer durations. During the winter they may need to be on constantly to warm your home efficiently. You will also notice that radiators won't feel as hot to the touch as they may do when you are using a gas or oil boiler.

Air source heat pump are usually easier to set up than ground source as they don't need any trenches or drilling, however they are often less efficient than ground source heat pumps. Water source heat pump can be utilized to offer heating in houses close to rivers, streams and lakes.

Discover case studies and examples of homeowners who have installed a ground source heat pump utilizing our Green Homes Network.

How do ground source heat pumps work?

Heat from the ground is taken in at low temperatures into a fluid inside a loop of pipe (a ground loop) buried underground. The fluid then travels through a compressor that raises it to a greater temperature, which can then heat water for the heating and warm water circuits of the house. The cooled ground-loop fluid passes back into the ground where it takes in additional energy from the ground in a continuous procedure as long as heating is required.

Typically, the loop is laid flat or coiled in trenches about 2 meters deep, however if there is inadequate space in your garden you can install a vertical loop down into the ground to a depth of up to 100 metersfor a common domestic home. Heat pumps have some impact on the environment as they need electricity to run, however the heat they extract from the ground, the air, or water is constantly being renewed naturally.

Is a ground source heat pump appropriate for me?

To inform if an air source heat pump is right for you, there are a couple of vital concerns to consider:

Is your garden suitable for a ground loop? It does not have to be especially huge, but the ground needs to be ideal for digging a trench or a borehole and easily accessible to digging machinery.

Is your home well insulated? Since ground source heat pump work best when producing heat at a lower temperature level than conventional boilers, it's essential that your home is well insulated and draught-proofed for the heater to be reliable.

What fuel will you be replacing? The system will pay for itself a lot more quickly if it's replacing an electricity or coal heating unit. Heat pumps might not be the best option for houses using mains gas.

What kind of heater will you use? Ground source heat pumps can perform better with underfloor heating systems or warm air heating than with radiator-based systems because of the lower water temperature levels required.

Is the system meant for a brand-new development? Combining the installation with other structure work can lower the expense of setting up the system.

Our downloadable resource offers practical suggestions about the best ways to get the most out of your heat pump. Our heat pump trials guide, 'The Heat Is On', likewise provides recommendations. You might likewise want to think about air source heat pump, which extract heat from the outside air. Use our renewables selector tool to discover a proper technology for you.

Costs, cost savings and financial backing.


Setting up a typical system costs around 13,000- 20,000. Running expenses will depend upon a variety of elements including the size of your home and how well insulated it is.

Cost savings.

How much you can save will depend upon what system you use now, as well as exactly what you are replacing it with. Your savings will be affected by:

Your heat distribution system. Underfloor heating can be more efficient than radiators because the water doesn’t have to be so hot. If underfloor heating isn’t possible, use the biggest radiators you can. Your installer needs to have the ability to encourage on this.

Your fuel expenses. You will still need to pay fuel costs with a heat pump because they are powered by electricity, however you will save money on the fuel you are changing. If the fuel you are changing is expensive you are more likely to make a saving.

Your old heating unit. If your old heating unit was inefficient, you are most likely to see lower running costs with a new heat pump.

Water heating. If the heat pump is offering warm water, then this could restrict the overall efficiency. You may wish to think about solar water heating to offer hot water in the summer and help maintain your heat pump effectiveness, You will most likely require to set the heating to come on for longer hours, however you may be able to set the thermostat lower and still feel comfortable. Your installer ought to describe to you how to control the system so you can use it most effectively.


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The length of the ground loop depends upon the size of your home and the amount of heat you require. Longer loops can draw more heat from the ground, but need more space to be buried in. If space is restricted, a vertical borehole can be drilled instead.

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