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How Do Ground Source Heat Pumps Work?

Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) use pipes which are buried in the ground to extract heat from the ground. A ground source heat pump circulates a mixture of water and antifreeze around a loop of pipe, called a ground loop, which is laid in the ground or through a large body of water. Heat from the ground or water is absorbed into the fluid and then passes through a heat exchanger into the heat pump. The ground stays at a fairly constant temperature under the surface, so the heat pump can be used throughout the year.

The length of the ground loop depends on the size of the property and the amount of heat you require. Longer loops can draw more heat from the ground, but need more space to be buried in. If space is limited, a vertical borehole can be drilled instead. Normally the loop is laid flat or coiled in trenches about two metres deep, but if there is not enough space a borehole can be dug to a depth of up to 100 metres for a typical domestic home. Heat pumps have some impact on the environment as they need electricity to run, but the heat they extract from the ground, the air, or water is constantly being renewed naturally.

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