Ground Source Heat Pumps Can Reduce Your Heating Bills
If you are currently using electricity, LPG, oil or coal to heat your home, you may find that your household heating bills are rising faster than you would like. It may be time to look at an alternative method for heating your home. For well-insulated, new-build homes, ground source heat pumps are an energy efficient way to provide domestic heating and hot water.
How Ground Source Heat Pumps Work
The earth absorbs heat from the sun every day, which lies trapped a few feet underground. Ground source heat pumps make use of this trapped heat. Boreholes are drilled in to the earth and pipes full of water and antifreeze are fed in to the boreholes. As the liquid circulates through the underground pipes, it is heated. This fluid then rises to the surface and passes through a compressor, which raises the temperature of the liquid to produce hot water for the heating system and domestic water supply.
Ground source heat pumps are best used with underfloor heating or warm air heaters, because the heat required to power these systems is lower than required for radiators. If you prefer to fit radiators, then it is better to choose a design with a larger surface area. Radiators powered by ground source heat pumps tend to run at a slightly lower temperature than those powered by electricity. This means you may need to leave them on for longer to heat your home, but the efficiency of the system counterbalances the longer running time.
What Types of Properties Will Benefit from Ground Source Heat Pumps?
The best results from a ground source heat pump are achieved over time as heat builds up and is retained in the property. Accordingly, ground source heat pumps are best suited for well-insulated, newer properties. Older properties tend to be draughty, making it difficult for them to retain the heat.
How Much Space Do I Need?
You will need to have a borehole dug in the garden of your home. However, the space required for this is not large. Unlike solar panels or windmill generators, the bore holes needed for ground source heat pumps are hardly noticeable after the pump has been installed.
Ground source heat pumps are exceptionally easy to maintain. So much so that they are often referred to as ‘fit and forget’ technology. Ground source heat pumps tend to last for 20 to 25 years before they need to be replaced.
What Will I Save?
Every home is different and every family heats it home in a different way. This makes it difficult to quantify the potential savings that can accrue. It is estimated that savings of up to 60% can be achieved by installing a ground source heat pump. They are not a 100% green option because they do use electricity to power the pump. However, for every unit of electricity used by a ground source heat pump, three to five units of heat are generated.
Using a ground source heat pump will also reduce your carbon emissions, when compared with traditional methods of electricity generation. As they require electricity to power the pump, you can reduce your environmental impact by purchasing green electricity, which has been generated in a sustainable manner.
Depending on the age and type of property you live in, the level of insulation fitted and the manner in which you prefer to heat your home, you could significantly reduce your heating costs by installing a ground source heat pump.
Sam Jones the author always compares three energy suppliers when looking for the cheapest electricity deals.
Image courtesy of Flickr.