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How do geothermal heating systems work?

12kw arotherm plus heat pump

What you'll learn

  • What is geothermal energy?
  • How do geothermal heating systems work?
  • How much heat can geothermal heating systems provide?
  • Why should I install a geothermal heating system?

What is geothermal energy ?

The sub-surface of the Earth contains heat, or geothermal energy, that is retained at largely constant levels throughout the year, regardless of the season. This heat has historically remained unused, but the development of geothermal heating systems in the past century have meant that we can now use this geothermal energy to heat our homes.

installer working on aroTHERM plus heat pump

How do geothermal heating systems work?

Domestic geothermal heating systems come in the form of ground source heat pumps. These systems work by installing a ground loop pipe underground and pumping water containing antifreeze around the loop. The antifreeze picks up heat as it circulates through the ground loop pipe and sends it through a heat exchanger into a heat pump. The heat pump then uses the heat to power the home’s central heating.

The longer the ground loop pipe, the more heat will be collected. The length of the pipe will depend on the size of the property and the amount of heat needed to keep the home at a comfortable temperature throughout the year.

A heat pump installer will be able to advise you on the most suitable system for your needs before beginning the process of burying the pipe underground.

How much heat can geothermal heating systems provide?

Ground source heat pumps operate at around 35-50°C. This is lower than boiler systems, which operate at around 70-80°C. While operating at a lower temperature, ground source heat pumps can be highly efficient and keep a home warm throughout the colder months.

It is worth bearing in mind, however, that geothermal heating systems are most appropriate for homes with underfloor heating systems.

Why should I install a geothermal heating system?

There are many reasons why a geothermal heating system could be right for your home. These include:

  • They are environmentally friendly, as they do not rely on fuels like oil to heat a home. Geothermal energy is renewable and sustainable, making it a perfect choice for homeowners looking to lower their carbon footprint.
  • Geothermal energy is reliable. The resource does not fluctuate to the same degree as other renewable energy sources like solar and wind, making it easy to budget in advance.
  • Ground source heat pumps require very little maintenance because the ground loops are designed to last for many years.
  • If you install a geothermal heating system you may be entitled to financial support through renewable incentives.


  • The sub-surface of the Earth contains heat, otherwise known as geothermal energy.
  • Ground source heat pumps use a ground loop to collect heat and use it to power a home’s central heating system.
  • Ground source heat pumps operate at a lower temperature than boilers heating systems.
  • Geothermal heating systems are environmentally friendly and are eligible for financial support through renewable incentives such as BUS or HES funding.

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