Domestic Ground Source Heat Pumps
By Chris Bradshaw on June 8th, 2011
Geothermal heat pumps are a way of heating and cooling your home without having to resort to burning fossil fuels.
Temperature is very important to all of us, during the summer we want to keep our homes nice and warm, but come winter we want to keep our home nice and snug.
Ground Source Heat Pumps are also known as Geothermal heat pumps. This comes from two words, Geo meaning earth, and heat. These systems use the constant temperature of the ground, or water to cool and heat your house.
There are two components in these systems, a refrigerant loop, and a heating loop. The refrigerant loop simply extracts the heat from the ground and then pumps it into your home. This is basically exactly the same as your fridge, only backwards.
During the summer months you can reverse this function in order to cool your home. The heat will be extracted from your home and pumped into the ground.
The best thing about geothermal heat pumps is that any heating and cooling does not depend on the temperature of the air outside. The efficiency of the heater will not depend on the weather conditions. This is assuming that your house is well insulated from the elements.
Ground source heat pumps are also very efficient ways of regulating the temperature in your home. They use as much as half of the energy required by traditional heating systems.
Water to water, and water to air heat pumps are suitable for use in domestic situations. We will take a look at both of these in turn.
Water to Water Ground Source Pumps
Water to water ground source pumps are typically only used when the user is only interested in heating the home. These are simply a direct replacement for gas or oil boilers which you might heat your home with at the moment.
A heat pump will be the most effective if the difference between the heat source and heat sink is minor.
Water to Air Systems
People will choose to use these systems if they want to cool their home as well as heat it, this is especially important if it’s hot during the summer months. The water forms the heat sink, which is where you put heat from the home. The cool air is then passed through your home to cool it down.
Other than using air rather than water to heat/cool the room, these systems basically work in the same way as water to water heat pumps. Both of these systems are much more efficient than traditional heating and cooling systems.
What You Need to Know
Although a heat pump will reduce the amount of energy required to heat your home, it still requires some energy. You should make sure that your home is well insulated so that as little energy is required to heat your home. Consider placement of windows carefully so you can benefit from sunlight warming up the room.
By insulating your home you not only reduce the energy requirements, but you also make your home much more comfortable and cosy.
It can be very difficult to install geothermal heat pump systems, it’s only possible for professionals to design and install these systems. The good news is that ground source systems are eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive.