DB Heating
GSH

Open Loop Ground Source

Water from the underground water table, which is readily available almost everywhere, is pumped up to the surface through a small (150mm diameter) borehole. The heat pump extracts energy from the water, which is cooled by around 5°C in the process, and is returned to the water table via a soak-away, ditch or stream, or sometimes a second borehole.

SOLECO heat pumps extract energy directly from the underground water, rather than via an intermediate heat exchanger, which is the more common but less efficient solution. This method is also more efficient than extracting energy from the ground via a closed loop pipe, so open loop heat pumps will generally operate all year round with high efficiency, and are unlikely to require back-up heating.

GSH

HORIZONTAL CLOSED LOOP GROUND SOURCE

This type of heat pump uses a buried pipe or "slinky" to collect energy from the ground. Around 50 metres of slinky are required for every Kilowatt of heat output, so this type of system is only suitable for properties with very large gardens.

The slinky is buried in trenches approximately 1 to 2 metres deep, and contains an anti-freeze mixture circulated by the heat pump. Heat is transferred from the ground to the anti-freeze, then from the anti-freeze to the heat pump. Because there are two steps in transferring heat from the ground to the heat pump, the losses are greater and the efficiency is lower than the open loop system.

During extended cold periods, and towards the end of winter, the heat extracted from by this type of heat pump tends to reduce the ground temperature and heating efficiency, so a backup heating system is generally recommended.

GSH

VERTICAL CLOSED LOOP GROUND SOURCE

Where a large garden is not available and space is at a premium, a vertical closed loop system may be used instead.

Closely related to the horizontal closed loop system, this type of installation uses a U-shaped pipe within a vertical borehole to collect energy from the ground. The pipe contains an anti-freeze mixture, which is circulated by the heat pump.

The vertical and horizontal closed loop systems offer similar levels of performance and efficiency, although the vertical system can be installed in properties with little available land. As with the horizontal system, the ground can become chilled during extended cold periods, so a backup heating system is generally recommended.

GSH

AIR SOURCE

This type of heat pump extracts energy directly from the air. Whilst they are the simplest and least expensive to install, they are also the least efficient and most expensive to run.

This is because efficiency and power output depend on the temperature difference between the source (air) and output. At the coldest time of the year, air temperatures may be 10°C to 15°C colder than ground water. Just when the most heat is required, the efficiency and heat output of an air source heat pump is at its lowest – much lower than an equivalent ground source heat pump.

As a result, air source systems almost always require back-up heating.

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