The groundworks for heat pumps are a vital part of any heat pump installation. There are many misconceptions surrounding how such systems should be installed and a number of these focus on what is required in relation to groundworks – hardly surprising considering that this element is hidden from view in the finished installation.
The aim of this article is to provide clear information on the options available to help you choose the best and most cost-effective solution for you, although it’s important to remember that the options will vary depending on the amount of land and the budget available.
Groundworks for Heat Pumps – The Ground Loop
The main objective of the groundworks for heat pumps is to accommodate the ground loop. The ground loop is a series of pipes buried in the garden where the temperature is fairly constant between 10˚C and 13˚C. The ground loop contains a water and glycol (a type of antifreeze) mix at a low temperature which is gently warmed by the surrounding soil (not to be confused with geothermal heat pumps, which make use of the volcanic core of the earth) and in this way, captures the heat which is used by the heat pump.
Straight Ground Loops
The simplest ground loop method consists of a single straight out and return line. It often consists of several loops brought together with a manifold which is known as a Straight Ground Loop.
Slinky Ground Loops
Slinky ground loops are most typically specified for ground source heat pumps as they reduce the amount of land needed. A loop is created meaning energy is extracted from a smaller area. It’s therefore very important to know how to plan the groundworks correctly in order to make best use of the stored heat within the ground and ensure it is not depleted.
It is essential to get good advice from a company that has been installing heat pumps for many years, with plenty of previous projects under their belts to make sure they are well placed to offer the best advice and support. This will give you peace of mind that the ground loop has been specified and installed correctly for the most efficient results.
Groundworks for Heat Pumps – Boreholes
As an alternative solution to slinky or straight ground loop systems, boreholes are another method employed, particularly when very little land is available. The borehole is designed and specified to provide sufficient energy collection from the ground to allow the ground source heat pump to operate efficiently.
The location of the boreholes is always site specific and the depth of the borehole will be dependent on several variables including the heat load of the house and the geology of the ground. Extensive experience is required to ensure that all relevant factors are taken into consideration during the specification process. Often, geological surveys are also undertaken to determine exactly what is required for your project giving you the confidence the groundworks and system as a whole have been correctly specified throughout.
You can find more information about boreholes on our Boreholes for Heat Pumps page.