YRES Limited

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions relating to the use, installation or efficiency of heat pumps, please check our FAQ’s, which cover the most common questions we are asked about this technology:

Q. How efficient is a heat pump system?

A. Modern systems are very energy efficient. For each kilowatt of electricity used to run the heat pump, three to four kilowatts of heat are delivered to the building.

Q. How do running costs compare with conventional alternatives?

A. It depends on what you are comparing it with. In a modern, well insulated house, a heat pump system can offer very high efficiency with moderate running costs.

An oil fired boiler would cost considerably more to run, the same could be said for Calor gas, and a electrically heated system would be at least three times more expensive.

Additionally a conventional boiler has to have regular maintenance and servicing.

Q. How large are these units?

A. A typical heat pump unit for a domestic dwelling is about the same size as a large fridge.

Q. Can the systems provide cooling?

A. Yes. There are reverse-cycle heat pumps that can deliver both heating and cooling.

Q. Could I install the heat pump outside or in my car-port, garage or basement?

A. Yes. There is generally no problem in doing so, and it normally means that the heat pump is closer to the pipe connections of the ground loops, which also means the whole system is easier to connect.

Some homeowners have even made up a small, well insulated, external enclosure for the heat pump.

Q. I have been told long trenches will have to be dug on my land to house the ground loops, but my land is too rocky to dig trenches /I don't have enough land to dig long trenches ; what do I do?

A. Boreholes or compact collectors can be used instead of trenches for ground source heat pumps. Alternatively an air source heat pump could be used.

Q. How big are the trenches?

A. A typical heating-only installation for a medium sized, new build detached house would need between 300 and 400m of 40mm pipe in the ground.

The trenches can be straight or curved and laid in any direction to suit your site, providing they are always a minimum of 2 metres apart.

A standard excavator, such as the type used to dig conventional foundations and footings, can dig the trenches and backfill them after the ground loops have been installed.

Once completed, and the ground loops pressure tested and buried, your renewable energy collection system can basically be forgotten. However, its location needs to be recorded to avoid accidentally digging it up!

Q. Can I install trenches on a downward sloping site?

A. Yes, provided you can physically dig the trenches, a moderate downward slope is not a problem.

Consideration needs to be given to purging air from a system with ground loops higher than the heat pump.

Q. I am currently designing a new house that will be extremely well insulated. Would a ground source heat pump system be worth considering and is it straightforward to install?

A. Yes, absolutely. All new houses in the UK must be able to meet or exceed Building Regulations, and with effect from April 2002, these are now the new higher standards for part L2.

These mandatory regulations have been designed to conserve fuel, reduce heat losses and ensure greater energy efficiency, and so will ensure that all modern properties will lose less heat and need less heating.

Q. My architect suggests I install under floor heating in my new house. Is this OK?

A. Yes. Heat pump systems are ideally matched to modern low temperature under floor heating.

Q. I have an older style property. Can I still fit a heat pump system?

A. Yes, you can, but your building must be well insulated for you to gain the maximum benefit.

The cost of a system is directly related to its size and with heat losses being fairly high from older buildings, this can add substantially to the capital cost of installation.

Money spent on upgrading insulation levels can save a considerable amount on the capital cost.

Q. Can radiators be used inside my house instead of under floor heating?

A. Yes they can, but you will need larger radiators, sized for the typical 45° C to 50° C water temperatures obtained from heat pump systems.

If your house is really well insulated your existing radiators may be suitable, but check to see how big they would have to be and the space they would take up.

There is now available a wide range of very stylish Italian die cast aluminium, high output radiators. These are very efficient and smaller than conventional radiators.

Upstairs is usually less of a problem as bedrooms are normally kept at lower temperatures.

Q. I have some very wet land. Can I use this?

A. Yes, wet land is better at conducting heat so, as long as you can physically dig a trench, its ideal.

Q. I have a large pond. I have a stream. Could this be used?

A. Yes, it is possible to use very large ponds and fast flowing streams as an energy heat source.

Q. Are heat pump systems really environmentally friendly?

A. Yes. In the UK there is now a strong move towards alternative technologies that are sustainable and, environmentally, much more acceptable.

It has been calculated that 35% of CO2 emissions are derived from the heating of buildings.

By using renewable sources of energy to heat your property you can help to reduce these emissions, particularly when compared to burning fossil fuels such as oil.

Most electricity suppliers are now offering 'clean green' electricity from a renewable energy source and, if you use this to power your heat pump, your property will be totally heated from renewable energy with zero carbon emissions.

Q. Are heat pumps dangerous? What about servicing and maintenance?

A. There are no hazardous gas emissions, no flammable oil, LPG or gas pipes, no flue or chimney and no unsightly fuel tanks.

GSHP systems have absolutely NO site emissions.

There is no need for regular servicing or annual safety checks and maintenance is very low.

Top 4 FAQ’s

Q. Why have I never heard of these systems before? Are they new?

A. Around the world, particularly in the USA and several parts of Europe, the use of heat pump systems is common.

The ground source heat pump was actually invented more than 50 years ago, and continuous development has greatly improved its efficiency and reliability. It is now a proven, cost-effective, safe and environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels.

Q. Are these systems expensive?

A. The initial purchase costs of a ground source heat pump system will be quite a lot more than a conventional oil or gas-fired boiler.

The initial one-off expense is offset by the lower running costs, lower maintenance and low servicing requirement.

There is also the security of knowledge that the majority of your heating and cooling energy comes out of your ground, is under your control and will not increase in price.

Q. Can it supply hot water for the house?

A. Yes. Virtually all heat pump are able to heat domestic hot water via a modern high efficiency indirect water cylinder either built in to the unit or as a separate cylinder.

Q. Can I use a standard domestic electricity supply?

A. Yes. There are a number of heat pumps that have been specifically designed to run on a standard UK single-phase supply.

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