What are Ground to Air Heat Pumps? And are they a Good Choice?

Heat pumps can sometimes be used in a “dry” system and are known as ground to air heat pumps. But are they as efficient as “wet” systems?

air vent

Ground source heat pumps are an efficient way of heating your home with reused heat. Most commonly, these heat pumps are used with underfloor heating, a “wet system” in which water is heated and underfloor pipes warm the room. This system can also be used to heat water in radiators. Occasionally, however, ground source heat pumps can be used with a “dry system”, in which air, rather than water is heated. But is this an efficient and economical way to heat your home?

 Potential problems with ground to air heat pumps

 You may encounter a number of problems when installing ground to air heat pumps.

  • Less common than “wet” systems. You may struggle to find manufacturers who make them, or an installer who can competently fit them.

  • Air contains less heat-to-volume, making it necessary for much larger heat ducts to be installed. This can make an installation more complex and time consuming, as well as making it harder to control the delivery of heat into the home. All of these factors will drive up the price of the installation.

  • Renewable heat incentive eligibility- Unfortunately, ground to air heat pump installations aren’t currently eligible for the government’s domestic renewable heat incentive which comes into force in Spring 2014, which can make funding your installation more difficult.

 Alternatives to ground to air heat pumps

 If the potential issues have put you off ground to air heat pumps, you may want to consider combining the simplicity of a “wet system” with the circulatory power of an air system. Fan assisted radiators are heated by hot water, as they are in an ordinary “wet system”. A fan then works to circulate their heat more efficiently around the room. A fan assisted radiator can eliminate the need for large heating devices, making their presence in your home less intrusive, though they are usually more expensive to buy and install.

Ground to air heat pumps are, in theory, an alternative to “wet systems” such as underfloor heating and radiators, however, they are rarely worth the extra cost to buy and install, delivering few clear benefits over “wet systems”, so it would be wise to consider the more conventional systems to use with ground source heat pumps before considering a ground to air system.

Image sourced: kongtemplation

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