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Home > Environment > Energy Advice > Renewable Energy > Air and Ground Source Heat Pumps

Air and Ground Source Heat Pumps

Air Source Heat Pump

What is it?

Air source heat pumps absorb heat from the air around you. They can extract heat from the air even when the outside temperature is as low as minus 15oC, however they generally perform better at warmer air temperatures.

How does it work?

  • An air source heat pump extracts heat from the outside air in the same way that a fridge extracts heat from its inside.
  • Heat from the air is absorbed into a fluid which is pumped through a heat exchanger in the heat pump. Low grade heat is then extracted by the refrigeration system and, after passing through the heat pump compressor, is concentrated into a higher temperature that is capable of heating water for the heating and hot water circuits of the house.

There are two main types of air source heat pump system:

  • An air-to-water system distributes heat via your wet central heating system. Heat pumps work much more efficiently at a lower temperature than a standard boiler system would, so they are more suitable for underfloor heating systems or larger radiators (that give out heat at lower temperatures over longer periods of time).
  • An air-to-air system produces warm air which is circulated by fans to heat your home. However, they are unlikely to provide you with hot water as well.

Is it suitable?

The unit can be fitted to an outside wall or stood on the ground. It should be sited where there is plenty of space around it to ensure a good flow of air. A sunny wall is ideal. Heat pumps are not recommended for homes on the gas network.

As air source heat pumps produce heat at a lower temperature than traditional boilers, it's essential that your home is well insulated and draught proofed.

Ground source Heat Pumps

What are the benefits?

  • The system will pay for itself much more quickly if it's replacing an electricity or coal heating system.
  • No fuel deliveries required.
  • Can provide space heating and hot water.
  • It’s often classed as a ‘fit and forget’ technology because it needs little maintenance.
  • Can be easier to install than a ground source heat pump, but efficiencies can be lower.
  • Heat pumps have some impact on the environment as they need electricity to run, but the heat they extract from the air (ground) is constantly renewed naturally.
  • Ground Source Heat Pump
  • What is it?
  • Ground source heat pumps use the constant temperature of the soil at 1 metre below the surface as their heat source.

How does it work?

A ground source heat pump circulates a mixture of water and antifreeze around a loop of pipe - called a ground loop - which is buried, or alternatively via a bespoke borehole in the garden. Heat from the ground is absorbed into this fluid and is pumped through a heat exchanger in the heat pump. Low grade heat passes through the heat pump compressor and is concentrated into a higher temperature that is capable of heating water for the heating and hot water circuits of the house. After circulation, the cooler fluid passes back through the loop into the ground where it absorbs further energy from the ground in a continuous process while heating is required.

Is it suitable?

Your garden 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.

Since ground source heat pumps produce a lower temperature heat than traditional boilers, it's essential that your home is well insulated and draught proofed to ensure maximum effectiveness of the heating system.

Underfloor heating systems, larger radiators or low temperature fan convectors (warm air heating) perform better than standard radiator-based systems because of the lower water temperatures required.

What are the benefits?

  • Radiators will operate at lower surface temperatures than when connected to a conventional gas/ oil fired heating system. As heat pumps deliver their heat at lower temperatures, it is often necessary to run the heating system for longer periods to heat your home efficiently. The system will pay for itself much more quickly if it's replacing an electricity or coal heating system.
  • No fuel deliveries required.
  • Can provide space heating and hot water.
  • It’s often classed as a ‘fit and forget’ technology because it needs little maintenance.
  • Heat pumps have some impact on the environment as they need electricity to run, but the heat they extract from the air (ground) is constantly renewed naturally.

Contact Us

Tel: 01304 872128

Email: energy@dover.gov.uk

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