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by the NFCC

Geothermal heat pumps


Geothermal heat pumps absorb low-grade heat from a heat sink (an area where heat is plentiful) and then compress and upgrade the heat before transporting it to another location, where it can be used for space or water heating.

Low-grade heat can be found in many different heat sinks, including the air, ground and water. While a different form of heat pump is required to collect heat from these different sink sources, their general operational principles remain the same.

The heat pump system is typically installed on the outside of the building. An antifreeze mix circulates through an array around the heat sink, absorbing heat which is fed into the heat pump unit.

A heat exchanger and electric compressor in the pump are used to upgrade the heat, enabling it to reach a temperature that warms up water, which will be fed into the building's central heating system.

Heat pumps require significant electrical input to pump and compress the heat in the property, and may have their own meter connection point. This is a relatively new technology with safety controls.

Hazards (for further information refer to National Operational Guidance: Utilities and fuel)

  • Hot surfaces and liquids
  • Electricity supplies present

References and further reading