Ground-Source Heat Pumps
You can now take advantage of free heat stored in the ground by using a ground-source heat pump! Solar energy stored in the ground can be collected through pipework buried in your land and used to heat your home or business.
Although this may sound too good to be true, ground-source heat pumps have been in use in other parts of Europe for many decades, so the technology is tried and tested and a highly efficient way to provide you with heat.
How do ground-source heat pumps work?
The principle of a ground-source heat pump is simple and the same as a standard domestic fridge. A fluid is pumped through a series of pipes which extracts heat from its surroundings (like the internal space of a fridge, or in the case of a heat pump, the ground in which the pipes are laid). Rather than losing this useful heat (as is the case at the back of a fridge), a heat pump compresses the fluid to raise the fluid's temperature, then passes it through a heat exchanger, to transfer the heat to a water supply (usually around 35-40 degrees but can be up to 65 degrees), which is then circulated around a central heating system.
Illustration of a ground-source heat pump with horizontal collectors
Illustration of a ground-source heat pump with a vertical bore-hole collector
Surprisingly, solar energy which is absorbed by the ground remains at a fairly constant temperature throughout the year so heat pumps can utilise this energy during the winter months when it is needed.
Although energy from the ground is free, there is a running cost involved in pumping the fluid around the system. Typically ground-source heat pumps can produce 2.5-4kW of heat energy for each 1kW of electrical energy used to run the heat pump. Heat pumps are virtually maintenance free and produce no emissions on site* as there is no combustion of fuel involved in the running of a heat pump system.
* Note that the electricity used to run the heat pump is likely to be generated using some fossil fuels, so some carbon emissions at the power station should be considered. However, these CO2 emissions are typically around 37% less than gas and 55% less than oil.
Are ground-source heat pumps suitable for my property?
There are two main issues to investigate when considering installing a heat pump:
- Adequate land
Do you have adequate space and access to suitable land for the heat collectors? If land space is at a premium, one option is to consider drilling a number of bole holes (around 100m deep or so) and laying heat collector pipes vertically down into the ground, rather than horizontally in trenches.
- Lower temperature heat
Can your existing central heating system run efficiently with the lower temperature water that heat pumps produce? If you have a highly-insulated property with underfloor heating as the primary heating method, a ground-source heat pump could be ideally suited to you. If you have a radiator-based system, heat pumps can still be used, although your radiators will likely need to be replaced with larger radiators to provide sufficient heat to your rooms.
A heat pump with hot-water buffer tank
Two NIBE heat pumps connected in series
View more examples of ground-source heat pumps installed by Michael Magson.
NIBE VIP installer
NIBE is recognised as one of the leading manufacturers of heat pumps in Europe with highly-efficient products providing a range of heat outputs for both domestic, small and large-scale commercial customers. Michael Magson Ltd is one of a limited number of authorised VIP installers of NIBE products in North Yorkshire, who specifically serves the Pickering and wider Ryedale area.
If you would like to more advice on ground-source heat pump technology, book a free site visit and consultation with Michael Magson Ltd today!