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All about our ground source heat pumps

Maximum efficiency and high flexibility: Find out why ground source heat pumps are suited to bring heating comfort into new and old buildings off the mains grid.

ground-source heat pump

What you learn here:

  • What is a ground-source heat pump?
  • How does a ground-source heat pump work?
  • What are the pros & cons?
  • Does the technology fit my needs?
  • Which subsidies are possible to lower the costs?

Ground source heat pumps extract thermal energy from the ground near your property and convert this into heating and hot water for your home. They operate in cold temperatures and are incredibly efficient. The relatively stable temperatures of the soil create ideal operating conditions for ground-source heat pumps, providing more daily comfort.

These types of heat pumps are suitable for homes that have suitable land to install ground arrays or a borehole system.

Setup Variations Two types to choose from

Ground source heat pumps differ in the way they collect energy from the ground: either via surface collectors (close to the surface) or geothermal probes (deeper in the ground). Both have certain requirements to provide optimal performance:

  • Surface collectors

    Surface collectors require twice as much area for collectors as the to-be-heated area size. Excavation must be approximately 1.50 m deep and a minimum distance between the collectors, water pipes, ducts and buildings must be maintained. The collector's area must be unpaved and undeveloped to ensures sufficient rainwater absorption. Yet, bushes or shrubs can be planted on top.
  • Geothermal probes

    Geothermal probes fit even in the smallest property area since it only requires a hole of about 15 cm in diameter and from 80 m in depth (ideal if deeper than 100 m). In this layer of soil, a constant temperature of 10° C offers sufficient thermal energy to cover your heating and hot water demands. If more would be needed, the probe channel can be drilled deeper, or a second probe can be added (for heating performance higher than 8-10 kW).

Operating principle of a ground source heat pump How do ground source heat pumps work?

The ground source heat pump is connected to a set of pipes with a very cold mix of water and an antifreeze in them. This fluid is transported through the pipes to the ground and back to the heat pump. When passing this cycle, thermal energy in the ground heats the carrier fluid until its low boiling point causes it to evaporate.

Operating principle of a ground-source heat pump

Back in the heat pump, the resulting vapor is compressed to heat up even more. Ultimately, a heat exchanger transfers this heat to the heating system which then passes it on to your home.

How a ground-source heat pump works

Suitability check The right choice for your home?

In properties with large gardens, ground source heat pumps offer plenty of advantages. To find out whether you can benefit from these, too, just check your home on these required main characteristics:

  • Sufficient property area

    You don’t need a huge garden to install a ground-source heat pump system. A vertical system doesn’t require more space than is needed to operate the necessary digging machinery in your garden.
  • Effective insulation

    All heat pumps operate more efficiently at lower flow temperatures and therefore need a sufficient heat distribution in the building. Therefore, a well-insulated building is mandatory to retain sufficient heat.

At a glance: Pros and things to consider of the technology.

Generally, ground source heat pumps offer several major improvements over conventional heating systems in terms of comfort, efficiency, and sustainability. Yet, to provide a holistic view on the technology, it is necessary to point out the increased effort for excavation or drilling works as well as the importance of ground conditions for the heat pump's efficiency.

  • Pro: Cost-efficiency

    Ground-source heat pumps have the lowest electricity demand of all heat pump types thanks to steady soil temperatures. Using free geothermal energy also generates savings on operating costs.
  • Pro: Quiet operation

    Our elaborate Sound Safe System keeps noise emission from heat pump operation at a minimum and thus enables flexible placement of the system. Since it doesn’t operate with an unit outside, there’s no noise emission outside your home.
  • Con: Development effort

    The more gritty or sandy the soil, the less efficient the heat pump can operate. Therefore, ground conditions play a major role and increased excavation or drilling work for installation are needed. This raises development effort and costs.

Investment vs. financial support Costs and subsidies of a ground-source heat pump.

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) government grants helps homeowners in England and Wales with the cost of installing a low carbon heating technology in your home.

You can recieve up to £7,500 off the cost and installation of a ground source heat pump. The BUS operates in the form of a grant voucher which is provided to the installer after installation and commissioning.

To see if you're eligible and how to apply for BUS, click here.

Acquisition costs: A Ground-source heat pump ranges in pricing. Additional cost arise from surface collectors or geothermal probes (depending on the number of units) and large panel radiators or underfloor heating (depending on radiator type and size of living space).

Development costs: Mainly for excavation and drilling work (depending on amount and type of collectors, with geothermal probes being slightly more expensive). Higher development costs could arise for retrofits compared to new constructions.

Running costs: Low maintenance costs because of low electricity demand.

Find your expert nearby to plan first steps

FAQs Common questions, clear answers.

  • Is the financial effort of installing a ground-source heat pump worth it?

    Yes. The initial investment is well worth it over time – financially as well as environmentally. The costs of a ground-source heat pump are similar to other types of heat pumps, except for the potential use of geothermal probes. Yet, its particularly efficient operation with minimum emissions and running costs provides significant saving potentials on the long run.

  • How much property area do I need to install a ground-source heat pump?

    This depends on the chosen type of collector as well as the size of the living space. Outdoor space requirements of geothermal probes are close to none as long as operating the required drilling machinery is enabled. For surface collectors, on the other hand, significantly more land without any trees or buildings is required for installation. As a rule of thumb: double the amount of square metres to be heated by the heat pump.

  • Do ground-source heat pumps maintain their efficiency in cold climates?

    Absolutely. Geothermal heat pumps are primed to continuously deliver efficient performance in cold winter climate: This is possible since even strong temperature drops above the ground hardly affect the lower layers of soil from where thermal energy is drawn into the heating system.

  • What’s the general life span of a ground-source heat pump?

    With our current models, you can expect 20-25 years of running time before a replacement becomes necessary. Which is an improvement since in the past, life expectancy of a ground-source heat pump was only approximately 15 years.

  • What’s the difference between near-surface and deep geothermal energy?

    Surface-near geothermal energy is used to power the heating in your home. The energy is gathered by surface collectors at approximately 1.5 m below the ground or geothermal probes at a depth of up to 100 m.