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Ground Source Heat Pump

What is Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP)?

GSHP extract heat from the ground. This heat can be used to heat your home with radiators, fan coil radiators or underfloor heating systems. A GSHP works in a similar way to a fridge excepts the fridge extracts heat from inside, and the GSHP extracts from ground from bore hole or horizontal array.

How much will I save?

The savings depend on how you are currently heating your home. The biggest saving are replacing electric heating, followed by solid fuel, oil and LPG. If you have mains gas, an GSHP is not the best option, as the running costs could be similar and installation cost much lower.


For every unit of electricity used by the GSHP to produce heat, 3-4 units of heat are produced, the efficiency is higher than ASHP because the ground temperature does not vary much.

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a payment for generating heat from renewable sources set by Government and administered by Ofgem. The RHI is due to be introduced late summer 2013 and will last for 7 years. As well as the savings you will make on your fuel bills, you will be paid per kW hour for hot water and heat you generate. Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is due to announce exact tariff and conditions for domestic users spring 2013.
Only installations fitted by Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) approved installers using MCS approved equipment will be eligible to claim the RHI. Ecotec Energy have MCS accreditation for GSHP. 
All systems installed after 2009 with MCS certificate will be able to apply for RHI, subject to conditions.

How does it work?

A GSHP has three main parts:

• The evaporator coil absorbs heat from the antifreeze mix going through the ground loop;

• The compressor pumps refrigerant through the heat pump and compresses the gaseous refrigerant to the temperature needed for the heat distribution circuit.

• The heat exchanger transfers the heat from the refrigerant to water. The heat produced is used to heat water, which is used to pre-heat water in a buffer tank, then circulate through underfloor heating, fan coil radiators or radiators. Heat pumps produce hot water that is at a lower temperature than standard boiler systems (typically 35-50ºC), which makes underfloor heating the most effective or fan coiled radiators. Existing radiators may be under sized for GSHP, because of lower circulating temperatures.

Is it suitable for my home?

Things you need to consider before installing an ground source heat pump:

• You will need space outside for ground loop in trenches if not then bore holes would be required.

Is the ground suitable for digging a trench or borehole for the ground loop.

• The hot water cylinder will need to be changed to heat pump version, these have bigger heating coils compared to standard cylinders.

All the GSHP need a buffer cylinder to work efficiently.

If there is not enough space to fit separate hot water cylinder and buffer, there is combined version.

• Compared with traditional boilers, ground source heat pumps are designed to work at a lower ambient temperature, thus producing a lower comfortable constant temperature. It is essential that your home is insulated and draught proofed to help reduce your heat demand and make the system more effective.

• You could change the electricity tariff to an off peak rate, and set programmer to take advantage of this.

• GSHP is sized for 100% of properties heat loss, in some properties this may not be possible due to size of property and single phase supply. An existing boiler can be retained as backup and the system setup to use 2 heat sources, this will depend on your overall heating needs and how you would like the system setup.

• Is your home still being built? If so, it will be cheaper to install the GSHP and underfloor heating system at the construction stage rather than when construction is complete.

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