Heat your home or business with energy from the ground

With our constant search for further scarce sources of fossil fuels comes a growing realisation that their use causes environmental damage – not least of which is global warming. It is these two factors of cost and environmental degradation which has brought the renewable energy sector into greater prominence over recent years. More and more clients come to us wanting the peace of mind that self-sufficiency brings, whilst simultaneously wishing to reduce their carbon footprint and have greater responsibility for the lasting effect they leave on the earth.

Ground Source Heat Pumps offer a highly effective way to achieve the above objectives – using heat already stored underground and running it through an economically heat-powered pump to produce plentiful hot water and enough heat to warm a whole property.

GroundTherm will plan, install and project manage both the installation of Ground Source and Air Source Heat Pumps on behalf of clients – ensuring that they achieve their energy-saving objectives and obtain a source of clean, renewable energy for life. We specialise in offering the benefit of our experience and expertise to enable you to implement a quality system installed by experienced professionals, meaning you are left with a highly-efficient facility which offers the peace of mind of static heating bills for life whilst dramatically reducing your carbon footprint and environmental responsibility.

How do Ground Source Heat Pumps work?

ground-source-heat-pumpsGround Source Heat Pumps use pipes buried in the garden to extract heat from the ground. This is usually used to heat water for radiators or underfloor heating systems. It can also be used to pre-heat water for domestic use. Beneath the surface, the ground stays at a constant temperature (between 9-14 degrees), so a ground source heat pump can be used throughout the year – even in the middle of winter.

A Ground Source Heat Pump circulates a mixture of water and heat transfer fluid (a glycol mixture which prevents the water from freezing) around a loop of pipe – called a ground loop – which is buried in the garden. When the liquid travels around the loop it absorbs heat from the ground – used to heat radiators, underfloor heating systems and even hot water via a heat exchanger. The length of the ground loop depends on the size of your home and the amount of heat you need – longer loops can draw more heat from the ground. Normally the loop is laid flat in trenches about two metres deep, but if there is not enough space in your garden you can install a vertical loop to a depth of up to one hundred metres. The efficiency of a ground source heat pump is measured by a Coefficient of Performance (CoP) – the amount of heat it produces compared to the amount of electricity needed to run it. A typical CoP for a ground source heat pump is around 3.7.

The heat pump is situated on your property in a place of your choosing (some people like to build a shed for purpose, others will fit the pump in a garage or laundry room). You will then have a ‘plant room’ containing controls, hot water cylinder and buffer tank, all of which give you full control over the temperature and energy efficiency of your home.

What are the benefits?

Ground Source Heat Pumps allow you to significantly reduce your CO2 emissions – a typical ground source heat pump saves around 1.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year when replacing oil. You will also reduce your fuel bills as Ground Source Heat Pumps run on electricity, so there’s no need to pay for gas, oil or solid fuels to heat your home. Ground Source systems are also highly efficient – so you will cut down on wasted electricity which further augments your potential saving.

Additionally by implementing Ground Source technology you are significantly reducing your carbon footprint. These sophisticated, versatile systems can be used in conjunction with other renewable energy sources – so if you wanted to reduce your CO2 emissions further, you could consider installing solar electricity or some other form of renewable electricity generating system to power the compressor and pump.

Is a Ground Source Heat Pump right for me?

There are a number of factors to take into account when you are considering installing any renewable energy system into your home. During our initial consultation, we will discuss the options with you and assess your property and requirements thoroughly in order to give you the best possible advice. Prior to this however, to determine whether a ground source heat pump is right for you and is suitable for your home there are a few key questions to consider:

Is your garden suitable for a ground loop?

It doesn’t have to be particularly large, but the ground needs to be suitable for digging a trench or a borehole and accessible to digging machinery. We will conduct a thorough geological survey before work begins to determine whether the land surrounding your property is suitable for a ground loop installation.

Is your home well insulated?

Since ground source heat pumps produce a lower temperature heat than traditional boilers, it’s essential that your home is insulated and draught proofed well for the heating system to be effective. It could also make the system cheaper and smaller.

What fuel will you be replacing?

If you’re replacing an electric, oil, Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) or coal heating system, a ground source heating system will pay for itself quite quickly. If you’re replacing a more efficient gas heating system, your savings will be smaller.

What type of heating system do you want?

Underfloor heating systems or warm air heating will work much better than radiator-based systems. Ground Source Heat Pumps can be retrofit to work with an existing system – but in order to get optimal energy-saving potential from them we always recommend considering a newer, more efficient facility.

Is the system intended for a new development?

Combining the installation with other building work can reduce the cost of installing the system – so during a new build it’s worth enquiring about the installation of a Ground Source Heat Pump early on so that it can be easily incorporated with other work.

Costs, maintenance and timescales

The cost of a system suitable for a detached home ranges from about £12,000 to £18,000. The cost depends on the size of your property, energy usage, requirements and any added extras needed – for example, you may want to replace your old radiator heating system simultaneously which would of course add to the overall outlay.

Ground Source Heat Pumps cost less to run than a traditional heating system – to produce heating and 50% of domestic hot water costs around £540 per year, but will depend on a number of factors – including the size of your home and how well insulated it is. That said, potential savings can be considerable – up to 1.8 tonnes of CO2 in environmental terms and £750 in monetary terms if you’re replacing an oil-fired central heating system.

Heat Pumps come with manufacturer’s warranty of seven years, subject to regular maintenance checks which involve checking the ground loops, heating system and hot water system thoroughly, plus ensuring that the pump itself is working properly. We include a service in this annual cost, cleaning filters and ensuring all components are working efficiently in conjunction with one another.

All GroundTherm installations are covered by our ten year insurance-backed workmanship warranty.

What’s the process?

Firstly it’s important for us to sit with you and take into account your views and objectives when embarking on switching to a renewable energy source. We will explain the options and the process to ensure this is the best medium for you before designing a solution which fits your requirements perfectly.

Following a detailed consultation with you to ascertain whether renewable geothermal heating solutions are suitable for you, we then conduct a number of vital surveys and certifications which enable us to understand the current composition and efficiency of your property and calculate the potential for energy conservation and return on investment. We also thoroughly assess the suitability of your property for the installation – combining the information from our findings to produce a quote for the work to be carried out. To carry out the work accurately a BGS (British Geological Survey) is required due to the boreholes involved in the system. Carrying out the BGS survey could save you money as it may recommend reducing the amount of boreholes you require – although it could also mean more boreholes than first expected are needed depending on the ground’s thermal conductivity. Once agreed, we schedule the necessary groundwork and the installation of the system begins. In the case of retrofit projects following the completion of groundwork the pump itself takes around one week to install – and the switchover from your existing central heating system to the new facility takes around three days – for this reason, it’s best to schedule the work during summer months when you can comfortably go without hot water and heating for a short while. Following installation you will receive a detailed handover certificate and all necessary documentation including a thorough checklist including details of all work carried out for your information. All GroundTherm installations come with the added peace of mind of our ten year workmanship guarantee – and the pump itself is covered by a seven year warranty (subject to regular annual maintenance).

For more information on Ground Source Heat Pumps call us on 0161 451 0225 or use the contact form.

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