Ground source heat pumps are a viable alternative to traditional oil and electric heating solutions. They harness the natural heat that is stored in the ground - at around two metres below the surface, the temperature remains at constant at around 10 ºC throughout the year. They work most efficiently by heating properties at slightly lower temperatures than conventional heating but over longer periods of time. This still provides a good cost saving. As a renewable heat source, heat pumps are eligible for the government funded Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments. They are effective heating source for properties that are well insulated, particularly those with under floor heating.
How do they work?
Ground source heat pumps work by extracting ground stored heat through a network of underground pipes. Depending on the size of land available nearby, these pipes are either buried in trenches or in a bore hole.
The pipes contain a mixture of water and antifreeze. As this liquid passes around the loop, it absorbs heat from the ground, raising its temperature. When the liquid reaches the pump, a compressor then raises the temperature further. A heat exchanger utilises this heat for your central heating system or to meet hot water requirements. As the liquid cools, it returns to the pipes to complete the cycle again.
Air source heating
Air source heat pumps extract heat from the air outside to warm homes and buildings. An energy efficient and cost effective alternative to traditional gas, oil or electric powered heating systems, air source heating pumps even work at temperatures as low -20°c!
How do they work?
These heat pumps work in a similar way in which a refrigerator works, only in reverse. Heat from the air is absorbed by a fluid within the pump which then passes through a compressor, raising its temperature. The liquid then passes through a heat exchanger to either heat the water in the central heating system or provide hot water.
The benefits of heat pumps include:
- Ability to generate as much as 4x the heat that an electric heater produces using the same amount of energy.
- Average heating bill savings of 50%
- Efficiency of 400%
- Eligibility for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which makes payments to owners of heat pumps
- No regular maintenance required
- Lower carbon emissions