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Last updated: 09 September 2021

5 Steps for Saving Energy with a Ground Source Heat Pump

A Guide for the Installation and Use of a GSHP

Rome wasn’t built in a day. We could talk in those same terms about choosing and installing a ground source heat pump. The process of adapting your home so that you and your family enjoy the comfort only a first class HVAC system can offer while saving money and helping the environment can be exhausting. But, in the medium/ long term, it turns out to be worth the effort. Here you’ll find a guide with the basic steps of such a challenge.

Insulating Your House

When considering a ground source heat pump as the heating system of your house (here it’s important to stress out that heating does not only include space heating, but also the provision of hot water), it’s a common mistake to focus only on that purpose, missing the bigger picture.

A proper approach would take into consideration all energy needs, losses and inputs of the house. That leads to the following statement: it’s nonsense using a ground source heat pump without a previous insulation of the house. By having proper insulation in place, you will also reduce the running cost of the heat pump.

The first step for a successful energy saving strategy is the reduction of energy losses, which is achieved by means of insulating the space we want to heat. Only once that’s done, it’s time to think about heating options.

Choosing the Right Type of Ground Source Heat Pump

Even though the ground source heat pump market is not a big and world spread one, when compared to leading renewable energy markets such as those of wind and solar energies, it’s well established and mature in many parts of Central and Northern Europe, as well as North America.

That implies there are different suppliers that can offer very interesting options. In addition to that, the inherent complexity of a ground source heat pump system generates a large amount of variables and possible solutions. 

There are two types of ground source heat pumps:

  • Horizontal ground source heat pumps
  • Vertical ground source heat pumps, which requires a borehole to be dug up.

Installing the Heat Pump and the Ground Loop

A detailed explanation of the necessary works that would take place in your property for installing a ground source heat pump could scare you. Specially as regards to the ground loop, the element responsible for exchanging energy with the Earth’s crust, that requires an intense process of digging. For that reason, it’s advisable to take the following two precautions.

When involving in this project, you should know you’ll face a very high initial investment. It’ll take some years until your utility bill savings match that investment. And, since the removal or modification of any of the elements of the system, specially the ground loop (also known as the closed-loop system), is very expensive, at the least, you should trust the designer of the project, who’d better be a professional with proven experience.

Adapting the Distribution System

Apart from the heat pump itself and the ground loop, the basic component of a ground source heat pump system is the distribution system, that releases the heat harvested by the ground loop. The consideration of it as a provider of heat only would translate into wasting one of the potentialities of a ground source heat pump: the supply of air conditioning.

In cool climates all year round that cooling mode could not be indispensable, but in temperate to warm climates is something unavoidable. Fortunately enough, in most cases for those temperate/ warm regions, the ground source heat pump installation is coupled with the adaptation of the previous HVAC system or, in case there wasn’t one, the installation of it (and, of course, the necessary devices in the heat pump system to reverse the fluid’s flux and make it able to operate in cooling mode).

Making Smart Use of the Heating

You may think once the whole system is installed everything is done. Well, think again. The utilisation patterns of a heating/cooling device play a key role in its performance. A constant switch on/switch off pattern based on the presence of residents may look like a good idea, one that shows consciousness for the environment.

The best thing to do, both for your pocket and for nature, is to maintain a constant temperature at any given moment (that would change from month to month or week to week).

Are you ready to invest in a ground source heat pump? All you need to do is fill in the contact form at the top of the page, and GreenMatch will send you up to four offers from suppliers near you. This service we provide is non-binding and completely free of charge!

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