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Ground Source Heat Pumps

A ground source heat pump extracts heat from the ground by circulating a fluid (water/antifreeze mix or brine) through a closed loop of underground pipe. This fluid absorbs the heat stored in the earth and carries it to the heat pump in the building.

The pump extracts the heat from the water via the refrigerant flowing through a heat exchanger, then distributes this heat to underfloor heating or radiators. GSHPs work most efficiently in conjunction with low temperature heat distribution systems such as underfloor heating. For a four-person household, the annual electricity use may be reduced by 75% compared to an all-electric heating system. 

There are two main types of ground loop that can be used to extract heat using GSHPs; the loop can either be laid in horizontal trenches, or installed in a vertical borehole. A well-insulated domestic house would require a horizontal ground loop buried between 1.5m-2m deep in a 40-100m long trench. Vertical pipe installations are of course more suited to sites with limited land, requiring a borehole of 50-100m, but require a specialist boring rig which increases installation costs.

A geological survey is often advisable to investigate both the hardness of the subsoil/rock and how well the heat is conducted from the ground to the heat extraction loop. It's worth noting that horizontal ground loops should not be installed under tarmac surfaces such as drives or car parks; GSHPs rely on rainwater seeping into the ground to replenish the heat extracted. The pump itself is a square box similar in size to a fridge freezer.

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Find out a little bit more about Air and Ground Source Heat Pumps

A great many households in the Devon area are outside the mains gas supply and rely on oil or LPG. The volatile and ever-increasing price of heating oil is one reason why so many in the South West are turning to renewable energy sources to heat their homes. Heat pumps can also reduce CO2 emissions by 20-25% compared with an efficient gas or oil boiler system.

They're highly reliable, with virtually no maintenance required after installation. As they have very few moving parts, heat pumps do not require annual inspections or servicing. They're best suited to well insulated buildings with low temperature underfloor heating systems, where they are only required to raise the water temperature to perhaps 30-35 deg C.

Heat pumps are less useful for traditional radiator heating systems as these require hotter water (up to 80 deg C) which cannot be achieved efficiently. Poorly insulated buildings will also require a larger pump which significantly increases the capital cost, so heat pumps tend to be most effective in new builds or significant renovation works.

If you're thinking about an Ground Source Heat Pump, whether you just want advice or would like to get a quote, then contact Darren today on 07782 472 573 or email us at

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