1. Does Synergy Boreholes drill boreholes for Water Wells and Soakaway systems?
Yes. Our business has a long history of drilling holes for both geothermal (home heating, cooling, hot water) and water (soakaways, irrigation, livestock watering or potable, drinking water). Under the Water Act of 2003, domestic users may abstract up to 20 cubic meters (or 20,000 litres, or 4,400 gallons) of ground water, daily, without any permission or cost. A well utilised water borehole will pay for itself in a couple of years, particularly if the client has livestock, ponds, or swimming pools, or if the property itself has high water consumption, such as a large family home, a bed and breakfast or a hotel. For more information on Water Boreholes, please contact us.
2. Is a Ground Source Heat Pump right for my property?
If you answer yes to most of the questions below, it is very likely that a heat pump is the right choice for you. However, if you own an older property on a small plot, it might be that GSHPs aren’t suitable. Please contact us to ask for advice.
- Is your house a new build in the design stages, where you can incorporate features such as underfloor heating?
- Are you able to claim back, or have your project zero rated, for VAT? – This applies mainly to new build homes
- Does your house have a garden or outside area large enough to accommodate boreholes? An area large enough for a few cars is usually sufficient.
- Is your house well insulated – have the walls and roof been newly insulated within the last ten years?
- Does your house have underfloor heating?
- If your house is heated by radiators, is there quite a bit of capacity in reserve – do you find that often more than a third are unused? If not, new high efficiency radiators will need to be fitted.
- Do you want to cool your house during the summer months?
- Do you have space in a utility room, outhouse or garage, to accommodate a GSHP unit – approximately the same size as a fridge freezer?
- Are you able to invest upfront and see the financial benefit over a longer period?
3. How much will a borehole array and GSHP cost?
Boreholes are a long-term investment to provide energy independence and guaranteed environmentally friendly means of heating your home. They are not a cheap solution up front, but the costs will be recovered over time through much lower running costs. If you are interested in enquiring about a borehole array and Ground Source Heating solution, please contact us.
4. Can a heat pump be powered by a renewable energy source like a wind turbine or solar panels?
Absolutely. Many new developments are harnessing the power of the wind and sun to generate enough renewable energy to satisfy the needs of every household. Many of the houses within developments have roof mounted solar panels, which will, in part, power the GSHPs supplying the homes with heating, hot water and cooling. In the same way, any property that benefits from renewable energy such as wind, solar or even hydro, will be able to use their green electricity to power their GSHP and heat their homes in an even more environmentally friendly way
5. Can a GSHP provide heating and hot water for a whole house?
Yes, it can. Newly built or well-insulated buildings can be easily heated with a heat pump. Older properties, with less effective insulation might experience challenges in colder weather, with heat pumps needing to be larger (sized correctly)
6. What is the environmental benefit of GSHP Heating?
We believe that systems with a COP (efficiency) rating of 3.5 and above give a significantly large environmental benefit when compared to gas. Oil and coal are, in turn, less environmentally clean than gas, so the comparison is even better. Although pure electric heating may appear to be environmentally friendly, the origins of the energy cannot be guaranteed, and may have been generated in a fossil fuel burning power station. To ensure the environmental benefits of a GSHP, the electricity used to power the pump should ideally come from renewable sources, such as wind turbines, or solar panels.
7. Why is underfloor heating recommended to use with a GSHP?
While radiators are small units that need to run at high temperatures (up to 80°C) to heat the comparatively large airspaces around them, underfloor heating is a much larger area that can achieve a comfortably warm environment from input heat of around 35°C, which can be easily achieved with a GSHP. These systems work best in insulated homes, where the heat required is less than 50watts/sq.m of floor area. For the average older house, with less efficient insulation, the floor would have to be too warm to provide full heating, so extra high efficiency radiators would need to be installed. Please contact us for more information and to ask how we can help you with your project.
8. How much ground do I need?
Borehole space requirements are different. As a rule of thumb, one 100m deep borehole will deliver approximately 5 kW. If more than one borehole is required, the distance between boreholes should be 6-10m apart to avoid thermal coupling (boreholes taking the heat from each other or ‘sharing’ the communal heat in the ground between). So, the ground needed is dependent on the number of boreholes required for the project. Please contact us to find out more.
9. Is a borehole better than a horizontal pipe trench system?
Because these systems both harvest solar energy from the ground, on paper, their performance should be similar. However, horizontal shallow trenches, or slinkies, are more vulnerable to problems associated with low ground temperatures, such as freezing of the manifold and permafrost, resulting in a loss of performance. In real terms, it comes down to cost and practicalities such as the size of a plot. If land is readily available, the horizontal trench system may be cheaper to install than a borehole. But, many heat pump installers are now recommending against the use of trenches and “slinkies” because of increasing complaints relating to permafrost, or icing up of the area above the coils and in and around the manifolds. Boreholes also take up far less space which reduces the impact on the surrounding land.
10. Is an air-source system a viable option?
Both Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs) and Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHPs) have their pros and cons. As a general rule, GSHPs are more expensive to install, due to the requirement for borehole arrays, but they can guarantee a more consistent and higher energy efficiency, all year-round. ASHP’s can struggle in colder temperatures and therefore sometimes require a backup boiler for cold weather. Once in, boreholes and GSHPs are more discreet, and ASHPs have a reputation for being quite unsightly and noisy with efficiencies dropping when you need them most. GSHP’s are significantly more energy efficient, with the higher installation cost being offset by reduced operational costs leading to savings overall.
11. Can any plumber install a GSHP system?
To install Heat Pumps, plumbers or installers require specialist training, for example, from the heat pump manufacturer. We would not recommend an untrained individual installing a GSHP, as there are some potential pitfalls to avoid. A heat pump cannot simply be fitted in place of a boiler as there are some fundamental differences in the operation, it is specialist skill to ensure the heat pump works as efficiently as possible.
12. Should a GSHP have equivalent output to a conventional boiler?
Boilers are usually of a higher specification than the property requires. They are often used with timer switches to quickly heat a cold building. It therefore makes sense for a plumber to ensure the house can be quickly heated and remain warm enough during colder months. Similar to a boiler, but more pronounced, it is an unnecessary expense to install an oversized heat pump system, so instead, the capacity of a GSHP is more accurately aligned with demand. Heat pumps are happy running continuously without a rest, so they shouldn’t ever have to work hard to heat a cold house.
13. Can a Heat Pump be installed into an average town house with a small garden?
Installing GSHPs is often difficult in this situation. However, our borehole drilling machinery is compact and can access surprisingly tight spaces. If you would like to contact us, to discuss the specifics of your project, please click here.
14. How long will a heat pump last?
Heat Pump manufacturers give a guideline of a 25-year lifespan, even with minimal maintenance. As with the majority of domestic appliances, despite this projected long life, heat pump manufacturers will usually only guarantee their heat pumps for 2 years.
15. Can a heat pump also heat domestic hot water?
Yes, it can. Many homes and businesses use GSHPs to heat their hot water.
16. There is a big variation in efficiency claims. Who do I believe?
There are a great variety of heat pump applications and uses, resulting in a wide range of efficiencies. There are a number of systems and manufactures that we would recommend. Please contact us for more information.
17. What if the heat pump installed in my house is too small or I don’t have enough boreholes?
The house does not get warm enough, the heat pump runs continuously, and if the system has a back-up electric immersion heater, this will likely also run a great deal, at considerable cost. The system will try to extract more and more heat from the ground around the boreholes. This will lower the ground temperature. The heat energy in the ground close to the borehole loops will become exhausted. This in turn makes it harder for the pump to extract more heat. A vicious circle is formed. The heat pump starts to operate outside its comfort zone, it loses efficiency and ultimately the system may fail. If this is the situation you are currently in, please contact us to see if we can help.
18. What if the GSHP is correctly dimensioned, but there are too many boreholes?
The system will perform perfectly at full capacity, for a longer period. (perhaps longer than you require). Money may have been wasted in putting in too many boreholes, but the system will not fail if there are too many, only if there are too few.
19. How far apart should boreholes be placed?
Boreholes should be spaced 6-10m apart to avoid thermal linkage (and efficiency loss) between holes.
This value can also vary according to the ground characteristics. 7m is a good conservative average. A thermogeological assessment will provide the correct spacing.
20. How far should boreholes be from buildings?
A minimum of 3m to avoid the remote possibility of freezing ground temperature induced subsidence.