Geothermal Heat Pumps

By | May 20, 2015

Using pipes buried in the ground that extract heat from the ground, Geothermal Heat Pumps (also called ground source heat pumps) are some of the most eco-friendly heat pumps on the market today. They feed the extracted heat to your radiators or underfloor heating systems and even the air heating systems in your home to help warm it up. They can also be used to generate the warm water in your home.

Essentially, a mix of water and antifreeze gets circulated around a loop of pipe (also called a ground loop) that is buried in your garden. Because the ground stays at a relatively constant temperature year round, the Geothermal Heat Pump can be used in all seasons.

The efficiency of the heat pump will be determined by the length of the ground loop that is buried in your garden, the longer the loop, the more heat can be generated.

So why use a Geothermal Heat Pump?

  • It helps to cut down on your electricity bills and fuel bills where conventional electric heating systems were used before.
  • It helps lower your home’s carbon footprint
  • You won’t need any fuel deliveries anymore
  • It can be used to warm the air as well as the water sources for your home
  • Geothermal Heat Pumps require the minimum maintenance

Geothermal Heat Pumps can be a little trickier to install than an Air Source Heat Pump but they are much more efficient and help build up higher temperatures more efficiently to heat up your home.

How EXACTLY does a Geothermal Heat Pump work?

  • Heat from the ground gets absorbed at a low temperature into a fluid into a ground loop buried beneath the ground.
  • The fluid now passes through the compressor that heat up the liquid (from where it can heat up the heat sources of your home).
  • After the fluid has been passed through the compressor, the cooled liquid passes back into the ground where it absorbs heat from the ground again in order to restart the process.

Note – Under normal circumstances, the ground loop is laid flat or coiled under the ground at a level of roughly 2 meters deep, but if space availability is a problem then the ground loop can also be installed vertically down into the ground up to 100 meters deep.

Before you go out and buy a Geothermal Heat Pump, ensure you have the following in place:

  • You need enough space to place the ground loop flat or coiled into the earth, and also ensure that the ground is suitable for digging in in cases where a vertical ground loop will need to be installed.
  • Your home needs to be properly insulated to ensure that the heat that gets generated doesn’t escape through poorly insulated walls.

By using a ground source heat pump, you could be saving a lot of money in cases where:

  • You use an optimal heat distribution system – Geothermal Heat Pumps are most efficient for heating up systems such as underfloor heating. If you don’t have this system in your home, ensure that you’re using the largest possible radiator in order to maximize the efficiency of your ground source heat pump.
  • If you’re replacing a fuel powered heat pump with a bio-powered heat pump such as the ground source heat pump you’ll be saving a lot of money on the cost of fuel alone.
  • If you’re replacing a run-down heating system – Geothermal heat pumps will definitely save you money in this aspect because old and worn heat pumps work much less efficiently and end up costing you a lot more in fuel and maintenance costs, whereas a new unit will work at optimal levels and require the minimum maintenance.
  • If you learn how to operate it correctly – getting the hang of it might take some time, but once you have figured out how to set the heat pump to ensure maximum efficiency, it will keep your home warmer at a lower cost.