How Ground Heat Pumps Work

Ground source heat pumps work using heat from the ground. This ground heat comes from both the heat from the sun (solar) which is absorbed on the surface and from heat in the ground water (geothermal).

It works by a refrigerant liquid – composed of water and antifreeze – being pumped through pipes laid in the ground.  This refrigerant liquid absorbs the heat from the ground, heating it up.  It then passes through a heat pump which condenses the heated liquid to a higher temperature. This is then pumped into the property to heat the radiators.

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Because ground heat is constant at a lower temperature, the property will remain warmed for longer. You will however need to keep the heating on constantly especially in the winter, for it to be effective.

How are ground heat pumps installed?

A ground pump system will require two sections of coiled pipes to be buried in the garden.  This can be done in three ways.

  • Vertically: the coil is buried downwards facing in a narrow deep hole. This is perfect for those properties with limited space
  • Horizontally: the coil is buried length ways in a shallow trench. This is the most common.
  • Slinky: the coil is buried length ways at an angle, on top of each other just like a slinky toy, in a shallow trench. This is good for larger properties with a bigger need.

Also installed underground are:

  • A heat exchanger, which condenses the liquid to a higher temperature
  • Two heat pumps, one on each coil, to pump the refrigerant liquid and hot water around the system.

A heat pump unit will be installed in your property.

Your average installation should look like this

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