Sustainability is coming to the forefront of building design and heating as pressure is put on housebuilders to deliver large quantities of homes whilst keeping their energy efficiency and environmental impact to a minimum.

More than ever before, homeowners are insulating their houses further and they’re choosing to switch to sustainable alternatives to gas and electric heating.

As a result, air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps are becoming the go-to choice to provide sustainable heat for carbon-conscious homes.

With that in mind, let’s find out more about them.

Table of contents:

How do ground source heat pumps work?

Ground source heat pump system in a garage.

A ‘ground loop’ is a pipe that’s filled with a mixture of water and antifreeze that’s buried in the garden. It circulates this water and anti-freeze mixture in order to absorb heat from the ground which is then warmed up further using a heat exchange and heat pump.

The heat pump uses a small amount of electricity to increase the temperature of the water for use around the home.

This hot water can be used to heat radiators, water and even underfloor heating.

How much hot water you need impacts how big the ground loop will need to be, which is also influenced by how much space is available! Instead of a ground loop, it’s possible to install a vertical borehole downwards, which is ideal for smaller gardens.

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Ground source heat pumps advantages

Ground source heat pumps have many advantages, not just relating to their sustainability.

  • Ground source heat pumps are eco-friendly since the ground is a renewable heat source.
  • When replacing off-mains gas, these pumps pay for themselves quickly.
  • Lower temperatures over longer periods work well for highly insulated homes.
  • Cheaper to run than electric heating.
  • More efficient than air source heat pumps.

Ground source heat pumps disadvantages

A couple of disadvantages to ground source heat pumps include that your property may not be suitable.

  • Ground source heat pumps should be installed in a well-insulated property for maximum efficiency.
  • Hard rock and certain types of soil won’t allow the installation of a ground source heat pump.
  • A small garden won’t allow for a ground loop so a vertical borehole may be required.
  • Your property needs to be accessible by a mini-digger.
  • Installation can be costly if not done in combination with other works or new builds.

How much do ground source heat pumps cost?

Pound sign

Ground source heat pumps have a working life of at least 20 years. Many will last longer than this and will continue to operate for years after if their maintenance is kept up. This maintenance involves yearly checks by the homeowner and checks by a professional every couple of years. The installer should tell you how to inspect your ground source heat pump properly.

Based on a 4-bed detached home a ground source heat pump for this size would cost around £13,000 to install. For smaller properties that are well-insulated and terraced though, for example, this cost could be nearly half. It’s worth getting a specialist in to quote for you before investigating this route further as the soil in your garden may be prohibitive even if the cost isn’t.

Why you should consider a ground source heat pump

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Investing in a ground source heat pump offers plenty of benefits that make it a compelling choice for sustainable heating and cooling solutions.

With long-term durability and minimal maintenance requirements, ground source heat pumps offer both economic and environmental advantages, making them a smart investment for homeowners looking to reduce their carbon footprint and energy costs.

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