A heat pump is a device which applies external work to extract an amount of heat from a cold reservoir and delivers heat to a hot reservoir.
There are three important elements to a ground source heat pump.
i. The ground loop comprises lengths of pipe buried in the ground, either in a borehole or a horizontal trench. The pipe is usually a closed circuit and is filled with a mixture of water and antifreeze, which is pumped around the pipe absorbing heat from the ground. The ground loop can be:
-vertical, for use in boreholes
-horizontal, for use in trenches; or
-spiral, coil or ?slinky?, also for use in trenches.
ii. A heat pump operates in the same way that your fridge uses refrigerant to extract heat from the inside, keeping your food cool. A ground source heat pump extracts heat from the ground, and uses it to heat your home. It has three main parts:
-the evaporator (e.g. the squiggly thing in the cold part of your fridge) absorbs the heat using the liquid in the ground loop
-the compressor (this is what makes the noise in a fridge) moves the refrigerant round the heat pump and compresses the gaseous refrigerant to the temperature needed for the heat distribution circuit
-the condenser (the hot part at the back of your fridge) gives up heat to a hot water tank which feeds the distribution system.
iii. The heat distribution system consists of under floor heating or radiators for space heating and, in some cases, water storage for hot water supply.