- Ground Source Heat Pumps
Ground Source Heat Pumps Explained
Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP) utilise the heat energy stored in the ground to heat water that can be distributed to the heating system, domestic hot water system and appliances within a building.
Collectors are laid underground in trenches or bore holes (depending on whether you are installing a horizontal or vertical system).
The GSHP works by passing heat from the ground through buried pipework that carries a brine mixture which converts the heat into higher temperatures for use within the home.
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A long horizontal trench or set of bore holes, deeper than the frost line, is dug and coils are placed inside. Horizontal systems tend to be more cost effective to install than boreholes.
Once installed the GSHPs offer a reliable and low cost form of heating requiring only relatively small amounts of electricity to drive the pumps. Heat pumps aim to supply a constant temperature to buildings. They initially heat the building and then top-up any heat loss on a constant flow basis.
The efficient design of GSHPs is critical to their good and long term performance and an understanding of both the ground, groundwater conditions and available drilling techniques is crucial in this.
For the majority of GSHP implementation stored solar heat is the major heat source. This heat is then passed onto the heat pump unit, which compresses the liquid further creating an even hotter liquid, which is then used to heat the water in the buffer tank. This heat can then be transferred to radiators and under-floor heating systems, as well as being used to heat domestic hot water.
The length of the ground loop array depends on the heat demand, the building, its energy performance and the sub-surface ground conditions. The pump will still need electricity to run, but the idea is that it uses less electrical energy than the heat it produces. This is called the co-efficient of performance (COP).
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