How Ground Source Heat Pumps Work

Example of ground source heat pump

If you’re looking for an environmentally friendly heating solution for your home, ground source heat pumps might just be the answer. 

Thanks to Evergreen’s wealth of knowledge and experience in the installation of these energy efficient pumps, our Dorset, Devon and Somerset-based customers have been taking advantage of their numerous benefits for many years. If further motivation was required, by installing a ground source heat pump in your property, Evergreen customers are able to qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive or RHI—a government scheme which encourages the change to a renewable heat source.

Illustration of how ground source heat pumps work

But how do they work?

By pumping fluid through underground pipes, a ground source heat pump utilises natural heat from the ground. A heat pump then raises the temperature of the fluid—which is then used to supply heating and hot water for the property.  Although these pumps require electricity to operate, the advantage is that they use less electrical energy than the heat they generate.

Essentially, the pump functions much like a conventional boiler in a central heating system—the only difference is that it takes ambient heat from the ground instead of using a fossil fuel to create heat.

Ground source heat pump systems consist of a ground loop array—a series of buried water pipes—and a heat pump, usually located in a plant or utility room.  Depending on the size of the system these ground arrays can require a  large amount of space in which to be installed—ideally, a garden area or field that’s big enough to be accessed by some form of digger or earthmover. 

Once the system is in place, a solution of water and antifreeze is pumped through the ground loop which then absorbs the natural heat from the soil.

The water/antifreeze solution is compressed and passed through a heat exchanger, which takes out the heat and transposes it to the overground pump. The heat is then transferred to your home heating system.

What are the benefits?

Lower running costs. As the majority of the energy required to heat the home comes from the ground, the running costs of these systems are comparatively low. 

What’s more, ground source heat pumps are remarkably energy efficient. For each unit of electricity used—to power the pump and the compressor—approximately 4 units of heat are generated. 

As the world becomes increasingly environmentally conscious, Evergreen customers will be encouraged to know that a ground source heat pump system can help lessen their carbon footprint. Because they extract heat from a natural source—the ground—they are a greener, ecologically sustainable alternative. 

According to the Energy Saving Trust, although they require electricity to run, a medium-range efficiency heat pump’s carbon output would be considerably less than either a storage heater or coal heating system.

Posted on October 13th 2020

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