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Water Source Heat Pump

Water source heat pumps (WSHPs) operate by extracting thermal energy (heat) from water sources near your property and converting this into heating and hot water for your home. As you are required to have a body of water near your property, water source heat pump systems are ideal for homeowners that have a suitable source onsite, such as a lake, river, stream or borehole.

How does a water source heat pump work?

The system will be installed into a specified water source - the size of the installation is determined by a professional installer, based on the size of the property to be heated and the volume of the water source itself. A series of submerged pipes placed underground facilitate the heating process; by using an antifreeze liquid in closed-loop systems or the water from the source itself in open-loop systems, heat energy can be effectively transferred to the heat pump itself. Once the heat energy has been brought into the system, the overall process remains much the same as other heat pump methods.

Are water source heat pumps reliable and efficient?

While the overall efficiency will change as the temperature of the water source lowers and rises over time, the actual efficiency often outperforms both air and ground source heat pumps. This is due to the consistency in water temperatures outside, regardless of the weather conditions you live in - most water sources in the United Kingdom will sit somewhere between 7°C and 12°C.

Keep in mind that if your water source is prone to frost and freezing over, the overall performance of your WSHP could be affected. This will be assessed by your installer during the inspection and specification stage.

As an added benefit, pipework systems are installed to be submerged underwater, making water source heat pump systems a viable option for projects that are especially aesthetically sensitive and require minimal visual impact, both during installation and once completed.

Water source heat pumps are designed to work in cold temperatures and are incredibly efficient. They do require electricity to operate, but 75% of the energy required is generated from the thermal energy extracted from a water source, with only 25% being required from electricity. This means that 75% of the energy you use will be from a renewable source, which will reduce your emissions and CO2 impact.

The advantages of using thermal energy from water:

  • Provides heating and hot water for your home
  • Perfect for properties located near a water source
  • Heat pumps can be housed indoors or inside outbuildings where required
  • Doesn’t require extensive digging or drilling for installation
  • Ideal for properties generating electricity from a hydropower
  • Quiet during operation
  • Minimal visual impact during and once completed
  • Works in cold outside temperatures
  • Compatible with radiators and underfloor heating
  • Minimal ongoing maintenance
  • No fuel deliveries or fuel stored onsite
  • Possible to benefit from Government incentives such as RHI payments

Is a water source heat pump suitable for my property?

Here are a few things to consider when looking into a water source heat pump system for your property:

  • Do you have a suitable water source on your property? It’s important that a suitable water source can be accessed for the installation to be completed successfully. Rivers, streams, and lakes are all potential sources. Speak to a reputable installer who will be able to conduct a feasibility test and assess whether your local water source is suitable.
  • Is your home well insulated? Generating heating and hot water sustainably is only beneficial if you have improved the efficiency of your home. Each property is unique, but it is important to understand what other measures can be done to reduce heat being lost in your home. Looking at loft insulation and whether you have double glazing windows will be a good start, but consult a professional for further guidance on what is feasible for your home
  • Are you looking to replace a heating system, or for new build homes, is this the first heating system to be installed? Replacing an ageing heating system will deliver faster benefits due to the improvements in efficiency. However, for new build homes, it is worth discussing with your installer how your heat pump system will work throughout your home – this includes choosing underfloor heating or radiators, as well as suitable controls to operate it

Interesting in having a water source heat pump installed in your home? View our range of water source heat pumps here. Alternatively, you can find a local Vaillant Advance renewables partner who will be able to give you a free no-obligaton quote. They will survey your property and will be able to recommend the perfect Vaillant solution for your heating and hot water demands.

Learn about other types of heat pumps

Air source heat pumps

Ground source heat pumps