Ground source heat pumps introduction
Ground source heat pumps, which are also confusingly referred to as Geothermal heat pumps, typically have higher efficiencies than air-source heat pumps. This is because they draw heat from the ground or groundwater which is at a relatively constant temperature all year round below a depth of about eight feet (2.5 m). This means that the temperature differential is lower, leading to higher efficiency. Ground-source heat pumps typically have COPs of 3.5-4.0 at the beginning of the heating season, with lower COPs as heat is drawn from the ground. The tradeoff for this improved performance is that a ground-source heat pump is more expensive to install due to the need for the digging of wells or trenches in which to place the pipes that carry the heat exchange fluid. When compared versus each other, groundwater heat pumps are generally more efficient than heat pumps using heat from the soil.