Southern Plumbing Merchants
Heat Pumps Ground Source Heat Pumps
The earth stores an enormous amount of solar energy from both solar radiation and rainfall, with ground source heat pumps extracting this freely available energy to provide low cost, low carbon, high efficiency heating and hot water.
To extract the energy, ground source heat pumps use collectors filled with a mix of water and antifreeze buried in the earth, either horizontally – if a large enough land area is available; or vertically in a borehole where land space is limited. Although more costly to install, with consistent temperatures below the surface of the earth throughout the year, ground source heat pumps deliver high levels of efficiency all year round irrespective of seasonal variations in air temperature.
Air to Water – Air Source Heat Pumps
Even cold air is full of energy and air source heat pumps use the freely available heat in the ambient air to provide efficient heating and hot water at air temperatures as low as -25°C. Because the source of heat - the air - is abundantly available all around us, air source heat pumps have the advantage of low installation costs and minimal space requirements, making them ideal for new build or retro fit applications, especially where space is limited.
Suitable for either indoor or outdoor installation, air source heat pumps can be used for heating, cooling and to produce domestic hot water and with the relatively mild winter temperatures in the UK, can achieve seasonal co-efficients of performance comparable with ground source heat pumps meaning excellent levels of performance can be achieved throughout the year. Air source heat pumps offer an affordable and practical renewable energy solution.
Air to Air – Air Source Heat Pumps
An air to air heat pump is an all-in-one heating and cooling system that’s designed to provide year-round comfort.
Outside air, even on cold days, contains latent heat which can be converted to provide environmentally-friendly, low cost heating for a wide range of domestic and commercial properties. Using a similar principle to the refrigerator, but in reverse, outside air is drawn into the external unit where it meets a liquid refrigerant. The refrigerant absorbs free energy from the air and turns into a gas. This gas is compressed to form a high temperature gas which is then converted by the indoor unit into warm air to heat the property. It is an extremely efficient process which could produce up to 5 times more heat than the electrical energy it uses and, as an added benefit, this operating process can be reversed in the warmer months to provide cooling air.
Climate change is now a generally accepted fact which has increased the focus on alternative energy sources such as solar thermal water heating, ground and air source heat pumps, biomass and wind turbines.
The most cost-effective, affordable renewable energy technology currently available for domestic and commercial applications is solar thermal water heating - the technology that allows to effectively collect and utilise solar energy radiated by the sun to heat the water.
Solar thermal technology transforms direct and diffuse solar radiation into useful solar thermal heat using solar thermal collectors. The heat is then used to heat water in domestic and commercial properties which at the same time helps to decrease carbon emissions and reduce global warming as well as offering a sustainable solution.
Solar energy is free, clean and safe. It is environmentally friendly and produces no waste or pollution. Using solar energy enables you to reduce not only your carbon footprint and promoting sustainability but also your energy bills. The whole process is simple and effective and entirely renewable – something which has to be good for both the environment and for future generations. Solar thermal offers an affordable and practical renewable energy solution.
Vacuum tube solar thermal collectors are currently considered the premium product on the market. They are the most efficient solar thermal collectors available and are on average 30 percent more effective than ‘traditional’ flat plate panel equivalents.
Each vacuum tube solar thermal collector consists of a highly insulated manifold and a row of solar tubes. The vacuum inside each tube ensures the most effective transfer of energy into heat as well as providing perfect insulation. It protects the system from outside influences, such as cold, wet or windy weather, resulting in consistent high quality performance all-year-round. Vacuum tube collectors can provide up to 70% of annual hot water requirements with zero carbon emissions. They are also flexible for building integration, fitting perfectly on sloping roofs, flat roofs or even façades. They are quick and easy to install as the tubes can be carried and fixed onto the roof individually.
In addition to Domestic Hot Water, some of vacuum tube collectors can also provide Central Heating support for standard or underfloor heating, specialised industrial hot water heating for high temperature applications, as well as solar cooling.
Flat plate panels are the most popular solar thermal collectors on the market. They provide a cost-effective solution both in domestic and commercial applications and deliver excellent levels of efficiency and performance.
Each flat plate panel consists of a dark flat-plate absorber of solar energy, a transparent cover that allows solar energy to pass through and reduces heat losses, a heat-transport fluid (typically antifreeze) and a heat insulating backing.
They are robust, hard-wearing and flexible in installation with both ‘in-roof’ and ‘on-roof’ options. ‘In-roof’ installations typically take place on new build properties. The solar panel is encased in a cassette unit that is then mounted directly onto the roof battens. The roof is then tiled up to the cassette, not only to provide a weather-tight installation, but also to maintain the integrity of the roof itself.
The ‘on-roof’ option tends to be favoured for use on existing properties, as the solar panel is mounted on top of the existing roof tiles on brackets that penetrate through the roof and are bolted to the rafters to ensure a secure fixing.
DrainBack systems are becoming more popular – they have a less complicated control system, which in turn makes installation and servicing very simple. The collector is mounted separately from the drainback tank and the solar thermal circuit has its own pump, generally at the drainback unit. Solar liquid is heated in the collector and transmits the heat via a heat exchanger coil to the domestic hot water in the storage vessel. With a drainback system there is automatic protection against any frost or freezing problems and there is no need to add Glycol or inhibitors. Similarly, this feature also protects against overheating and the build up of system pressure when the system is fully heated.