Using heat from the ground 

Looking for alternatives to a gas boiler? You’ve likely heard the term ‘heat pumps’ used when researching alternative heating appliances, and you may be intrigued as to what a heat pump is and whether you should get one for your home. Well, Viessmann’s ground source heat pumps are a great way to heat your home in a more sustainable, green way. 

What is a ground source heat pump?

A ground source heat pump is a more renewable, eco-friendly way of heating your home. Using geothermal collectors or geothermal probes and an electricity supply, they gather natural heat from the ground surrounding your property and use it to provide your home with heating and hot water. As ground temperatures stay fairly constant throughout summer and winter, they can work year round and even provide cooling in summer.

For most ground source heat pumps, there are two ways the natural heat can be accessed - either from open loop or closed loop circuits.

Within the closed loop category, there are two further variants - horizontal ground loops and vertical boreholes. All of Viessmann’s ground source heat pumps can be used in both open and closed circuits .

Ground source heating and cooling systems are becoming increasingly popular as people look for more environmentally friendly energy solutions for their homes. By harnessing natural, renewable resources, ground source heat pumps and cooling systems can help you cut your carbon footprint and bring your energy bills down. You could further reduce your home’s emissions by choosing a setup that allows the pump to be powered by other renewable energy sources, such as photovoltaic solar panels.

What are the benefits of ground source heat pumps?

So many people are choosing to switch to heat pumps because of the benefits of this type of system. You can find some of these listed below.

  • Environmentally friendly

Heat pumps can harness the natural heat in the ground to heat your home, using electricity to help them along a bit. This makes them more environmentally friendly than their gas counterparts, but it should still be noted that electricity can be created through burning fossil fuels. You can make your heat pump even more friendly to the environment by using it alongside solar panels or energy generated from other renewable sources.

  • Energy efficient

Heat pumps are more efficient than gas boilers. In fact, it’s thought that whereas gas boilers are around 95 per cent efficient, heat pumps can be over 400 per cent efficient because for every unit of electricity used, around four units of heat are generated and used.

  • Provide cooling as well as heating

Unlike a boiler, which only has the ability to heat your home, a heat pump system can cool your home, too, by working in reverse.

  • Eligible for grants

Homes that have a heat pump installed are eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), a government grant that provides you with quarterly payments over seven years. Eventually, you may be able to pay off the cost of the heat pump altogether.

  • Reduce energy bills

While electricity does cost more than gas, we’ve previously calculated that a heat pump could actually cost less to run each year than a gas boiler, so you can reduce your annual heating bill.

  • Come with a warranty

All Viessmann’s heat pumps come with a standard warranty of two years, however this can also be extended if installed by a registered Viessmann installer.

  • Work even at low temperatures

If you’re concerned that a heat pump can’t generate enough heat when outside temperatures dip below zero, don’t worry. They can gather heat even when it’s as low as -20 ℃ outside, so more than adequate for the UK climate.

  • Low maintenance

Heat pumps are easy to run, don’t rely on any fuel deliveries and just require an annual service to ensure they’re working safely and efficiently.

Given these advantages, it’s not hard to understand why this technology continues to grow in popularity across the UK.

How does a ground source heat pump work?

As mentioned, a ground source heat pump gathers heat from outside and brings it into your home. It does this via pipes that are filled with a heat transfer fluid and laid in the ground. This heat is then transferred to a refrigerant which boils at a low temperature evaporating to a gas.

The gas can now be compressed to increase its temperature even more, raising it to a level where it can be used to heat your home. This is done in the condenser heat exchanger. As the gas heats the water, it cools down, causing it to condense back into a liquid refrigerant. The whole process then starts again.

Viessmann’s heat pumps and geothermal cooling systems use the most advanced technology to make the appliance work as quietly as possible, while also optimising its lifespan.

You can find our video on how a heat pump works here, as well as additional information. 

How efficient are ground source heat pumps?

Viessmann’s ground source heat pumps have a Coefficient of Performance of between four and five, making them more efficient than a gas boiler. 

What is Coefficient of Performance (COP)?

COP is a way of measuring the efficiency of a ground source heat pump. In simple terms, it tells us the amount of energy that needs to be input in order to obtain a set amount of energy that comes out. For example, a heat pump with a COP of four would tell us that for every one kilowatt (kW) of electrical energy used, we would get the equivalent of four kW of heat out.

What size ground source heat pump do I need?

As with any heating system, it’s important that you get the size of the system right for maximum heat transfer without using too much energy.

Heat pumps come in a range of sizes from around 4 kW to 15 kW for residential use, and the size you need will depend on the potential heat loss of your home as opposed to the size of your existing gas boiler.

An expert will need to come to your property to work out how much heat is lost from your home. This is because the heating installation will be sized to counter the loss of warmth from your property and to ensure that the heating needs of your home are met comfortably even on a cold day in winter.

Heat pumps are best located in homes that have excellent insulation and minimal heat loss. A competent MCS accredited heating installer will be able to assess this for you.

Viessmann Ground Source Products

  • EfficiencyLabel
Vitocal 200-G
Cutting-edge technology for extremely efficient heating

This attractively priced geothermal heating system is efficient, quiet and simple to install. It is perfect for detached and semi-detached houses.

  • Ground source
    Heat pump
  • Up to
    17.2 kW
  • Ideal for
    New Builds
  • Power Supply
    240 Volts and 400 Volts
Discover the Vitocal 200-G
  • EfficiencyLabel
  • EfficiencyLabel
Vitocal 222-G
A compact ground source heat pump with integral DHW cylinder

Ideal for detached homes, the Vitocal 222-G is a compact unit that includes all the components needed for central heating and DHW heating. It has a cylinder capacity of 170 litres and heating output of 5.9 to 10 kW.

  • Ground source
    Heat pump
  • Ideal for
    Detached
  • Up to
    10.4 kW
  • Energy efficiency
    A++
Discover the Vitocal 222-G
  • EfficiencyLabel
Vitocal 300-G
Thermal energy from the ground and groundwater

Prepared for Smart Grid and able to use photovoltaic power generated on site, the Vitocal 300-G provides thermal energy from the ground and groundwater. It is ideal for detached houses and apartment buildings.

  • Ground source
    Heat pump
  • Ideal for
    Detached
  • Suitable for larger
    Residential
  • Power Supply
     400 Volts
Discover the Vitocal 300-G
  • EfficiencyLabel
Vitocal 350-G
The first choice for ultimate DHW convenience

The Vitocal 350-G heat pump achieves a high flow temperature of up to 70°C and is a great option for modernisation projects with radiator heating systems. It is prepared for the utilisation of photovoltaic power.

  • Designed for
    Residential
  • Ground source
    Heat pump
  • Up to
    104.6 kW
  • Power Supply
     400 Volts
Discover the Vitocal 350-G
Vitocal 350-G PRO
A large heat pump that delivers flow temperatures up to 73°C

The Vitocal 350-G heat pump achieves a high flow temperature of up to 70°C and is a great option for modernisation projects with radiator heating systems. It is prepared for the utilisation of photovoltaic power.

  • Ground source
    Heat pump
  • DHW up to
    73°C
  • Efficient
    Cooling
  • Superior
    Reliability
Discover the Vitocal 350-G

Can ground source heat pumps provide hot water?

Yes, ground source heat pumps provide all of your heating and domestic hot water needs, so you don’t need a separate appliance for your hot water. 

Does the government provide grants for ground source heat pumps?

As an incentive for people to switch to a more eco-friendly way of heating their home, the government introduced the renewable heat incentive (RHI). People who join the scheme within 12 months of their heat pump installation and stick to the rules (mostly around having an annual service) can receive payments four times a year for seven years. Other appliances and devices eligible for grants include biomass boilers and solar water heaters. 

How much noise do ground source heat pumps produce?

One of the main worries about heat pumps is the amount of noise they make, but with adaptations in technology, they’re actually not that loud.

Ground source heat pumps are slightly quieter than air source heat pumps, which is good as they’re located indoors. They’re thought to reach around 40 to 50db. This is relatively quiet when you consider the average dishwasher is around 50 to 60bd and a vacuum cleaner around 70db.

Our compact, floor-standing heat pumps take up little space and are particularly quiet when in operation, making them suitable for installation in a range of places, including near living spaces.

How to install a ground source heat pump

When installing a ground source heat pump, there are some things to consider, including:

  • Whether you will use bore holes or a horizontal ground loop
  • Whether the system will be connected to solar panels
  • Where the indoor unit will go

Once an installer has conducted an on-site survey (including an evaluation of the hydrology and geology of the soil on your land), they will be able to advise you on the best system for your property. This may include a horizontal or a vertical ground loop, depending on how much space is available. Boreholes are better for homes that don’t have a lot of surrounding land. The installer will also advise on the best heat pump and energy distribution system for your home.

The installation itself usually begins with the ground loop, and the pipes and connections will be tested once in place. Then, the installer will begin modifying the pipework. If necessary, they may recommend replacing or upgrading your existing radiators or underfloor heating. The heat pump will then be installed and connected.

When the whole system is in place, it will be flushed and tested to ensure everything is operating correctly. If the installer is happy with the results, they will hand the system over to you, demonstrating how to operate it and check its health. It’s important to make sure you take all this information on board as this will help you to get the most out of your new eco-friendly heating solution.

Who should I get to install a ground source heat pump?

When looking for an installer to fit your heat pump, it’s important that you use a properly accredited professional who is Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MSC) approved. This is vital if you want to qualify for the RHI grant.

It’s also recommended that you get a number of quotes before making a final decision, and you may want to read customer reviews or ask for references from owners of systems that are a number of years old.

How much does it cost to install a ground source heat pump?

The cost of your geothermal heat pump installation will be affected by a range of factors, including how big your home is and how well insulated it is. As a very rough estimate, installing a typical system can cost anywhere between £10,000 and £18,000.

When considering the cost, it’s important to take into account the money that can be brought in through government grants and the savings you could make thanks to reduced energy bills, particularly if your current heating system is inefficient.

To help you optimise your savings as a result of ground source heating installation, it’s essential that you have an efficient heat distribution system in place. Underfloor heating tends to be best, but if this isn’t possible, you should install large radiators. Your installer will be able to advise on the most suitable option for you.

Not sure which product you need? Get a free product consultation.

Brine / water heat pump

Heat from the ground

[1] Vitocal brine / water heat pump

[2] DHW

[3] Heating water buffer cylinder

Control via internet with ViCare & Vitoconnect

The easy to use ViCare app allows you to control your heating system via the internet. Its graphic interface has been designed to enable completely intuitive heating system operation.

Vitoconnect internet interface

Vitoconnect is the interface between the boiler and ViCare. As well as being compatible with new Viessmann heating systems, it is available for a range of existing household appliances. The interface is connected directly using a cable, and a plug-in power supply unit is included in the standard delivery. This small accessory, which measures just 10cm x 10cm, is available for wall mounting.

Why choose ground source heat pumps from Viessmann?

Viessmann is one of the leading suppliers of heat pumps in Europe, with over 100 years’ experience in the home heating industry. Our heat pumps utilise the best technology to provide efficient heating and cooling when you need it. Thanks to sleek German engineering, our ground source heat pump is one of the quietest on the market and is built to last.

Here, you can find a real case study of a home that uses a Viessmann ground source heat pump. 

What are the next steps?

Enquire about a ground source heat pump and get a quote today. Here at Viessmann, we’d be happy to answer any further questions or organise a Viessmann-approved installer to take a look at your home.

Solar ready

All of our ground source heat pumps are designed ready for use with power generated on site, for example by photovoltaic systems.

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