Answer: Ground source heat pumps are better installed by an MCS accredited professional to ensure that they work as effectively as possible and to qualify for the RHI. What you can “DIY” is prepare for the assembly and dig the trenches for a horizontal GSHP system.
A Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) provides a fantastic source of renewable heat for domestic use in the UK. GSHPs harvest solar heat energy, absorbed by the soil, transferring it to your home’s heating system to keep you cosy and warm.
If properly installed, they are very efficient, can provide a low-carbon (or carbon-free if powered by renewable electricity) method of heating and can save you a lot of money in the long-term.
So, how do ground source heat pumps actually work?
There are two main parts to the GSHP…
First is the ground loop buried underground, which can be either vertical (fitted into a borehole up to 150m deep) or horizontal (installed in trenches around 1m deep). The pipes in the ground loop contain a fluid that absorbs heat from the soil to warm your home.
Second is the heat pump itself fitted in the house, which picks up the heat from the ground and transfers it to high grade heat for your home. There are a lot of things to take into account if you want a GSHP, including whether you have the space available, the costs, and how you will install it.
If you want to get your hands on a GSHP, this guide will explain how to acquire this sustainable and cost-effective source of heat for your home. In a nutshell, it is always better to engage a reputable and accredited installer. Keep reading for more information!
Okay, so we might disappoint you here. Installing a ground source heat pump by yourself is not a smart idea. Why? Here are three of the main reasons…
The RHI scheme is administered by Ofgem and pays you money for the amount of heat energy you produce with renewable technology.
It is a great incentive to promote sustainability and means you can make a bigger return on investing when using this technology. Ofgem states that in order to qualify for the Domestic and Non-domestic RHI schemes, your heating product and installer must be accredited by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). ensuring that high quality standards are met.
As part of your RHI application, you will need to present an MCS certificate to confirm that your system has been installed up to MCS standards. If you install the system yourself you will not qualify for an MCS certificate and will therefore not be able to register for the RHI. Smart Renewable Heat is an MCS-accredited installer.
Installing a GSHP into your home is not an easy task and is not typically carried out by the homeowner. There are many considerations, including the sizing, design and installation that requires expertise to ensure the most efficient heating system.
Arguably one of the most important steps in the process is having an experienced heating engineer design the system. For the GSHP to work correctly, the heat pump, the ground collector and the radiator/underfloor heating systems all need to be correctly sized. Getting the design right is paramount to ensuring the effectiveness of a GSHP – under-sizing and oversizing can both lead to poor performance, high running costs and mistakes can be very costly to resolve.
To ensure high levels of health and safety on your site it is always better to employ experienced professionals. Installations can be challenging, involving very large and/or heavy appliances (heat pumps often weigh over 200kg), specialist tooling and procedures (for example electrofusion welding for ground loop pipes), working in confined spaces and with COSHH rated materials.
Professional installation by an MCS accredited installer ensures that working systems and practices have been subject to risk assessment and quality management procedures to ensure consistent, safe working practices are always followed on site.
It is clear that an accredited installer is necessary to ensure you have the best ground source heat pump system possible. So, what can you DIY to make the process easier?
Property owners can choose between a vertical and horizontal GSHP. Due to the expertise required to drill vertical system there is very little you can take on yourself. Money can be saved, however, when installing a horizontal system if you dig the trench yourself.
If you have plant on site or can hire in a digger, your MCS installer can liaise to coordinate trench excavation. Doing this can remove the cost of hiring groundwork contractors which costs around £2-5 per square metre, and can certainly add up when you’re excavating bigger trenches of several hundred metres.
You can also prepare the outdoor and indoor components for the certified installer. It is important that a trained installer installs and connects the key elements and commissions the heat pump. But you can make sure that all the preparation has taken place in loop field and in the plant room. By preparing these areas, you will provide easy access to the installer to finish his job quickly and efficiently.
Finally, you can get to know the controls for your GSHP. It’s not really a “DIY” but it’s an important thing to consider because understanding how to operate your system will allow you to use it more efficiently. In fact, Energy Saving Trust discovered through trials that control systems were generally difficult for users to understand.
Make sure you understand the controls by going through them in depth with the installer. Get all the clarity you need as soon as possible.
A ground source heat pump is a great way to heat your home renewably. There are a lot of factors to consider but the research is worthwhile.
An accredited MCS installer like Smart Renewable Heat can ensure that your system is properly designed, installed, and running as efficiently as possible. It makes the whole process smoother and ensures qualification for the RHI, which improves return on investment. There are a couple of things you can do to help with the process and make it a bit cheaper, such as preparing the plant room and digging the trenches for a horizontal system.
It’s a no-brainer that living comfortably with consistent renewable heat is worth the investment rather than trying to cut costs and attempting “DIY” which could potentially create problems. At Smart Renewable Heat, we take great care with designing our tailor-made systems, so you can rest assured that you’re in good hands.
If you are looking to install a ground source heat pump, request a quote today
Please contact us using the form below, or call us on 0800 865 4328.