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heat pump

Water source heat pump in Perthshire

Water source heat pump in Perthshire

Heat Pumps are becoming increasingly accepted as a means of heating homes without relying on burning fossil fuels. For anyone who hasn’t had first hand experience of a water source heat pump or any other heat pump, the concept is simple. In the case of ground source, collector loops circulate a glycol/water mix (brine). Energy is absorbed by the brine, typically around 5˚C, and delivered to the heat pump inside the building. Once the energy has been extracted by the heat pump the brine is returned at around 0˚C to start the process all over again.

Where sufficient land is available to install ground loops, the ground array will consist of a number of circuits connected to a manifold. A pair of header pipes link the manifold to the heat pump within the building.

The collector pipes are buried at a depth of at least one metre, where the soil temperature remains stable across the seasons. All energy we extract is ultimately derived from the Sun, and this extracted energy is replaced as rainwater percolates through the soil. The design of the ground loop system considers the amount of energy required by the property, and the ground conditions together with local ambient temperatures.

Water source heat pump in Perthshire Scotland

In addition to burying pipework in earth, collector pipes may also be installed into a loch, or lake. The customary method of installation is a closed loop system. As the name suggests, the brine circulates through a sealed system and there is no interchange between the loch water and the brine circuit. Energy extracted by the water source heat pump is replaced by water flowing into the loch, and solar energy falling on the surface of the loch.

In the winter, temperatures in a lake get close enough to freezing that the colder water is less dense and floats to the top. The water temperature a the bottom of the loch, where he collector pipes are remains pretty much constant at a temperature of approximately 4˚C.

Old England Loch in Perthshire

The installation of water source heat pump collector pipes

A recent project took us to a new build house in Perthshire, Scotland, being constructed within a few hundred metres of a small loch. The available land was considered, and the local loch was presented as a possible heat source. Water is an excellent medium for collecting energy from, and this arrangement made it possible to install the complete collector array with minimum disturbance. Ground loops now more accurately described as loch loops are arranged on land where weights are attached. The loops now take on the appearance of a rope ladder, the rungs adding ballast and serving to keep the pipes apart.

Don kept himself warm!

During installation, our team typically takes a rowing boat out to carry a light rope across the loch, where others of the team wait on the opposite side to reel it in and tow the loch loops out into deep water. Before the pipes are filled, there is enough positive buoyancy to cause the loops to float. Having pulled the loop into the loch to its full extent the loop can be maneuvered into position and the ends of the loops are fusion welded to the manifold on the banks of the loch.

Pumping the glycol-water mix into the pipes has the effect of overcoming the natural buoyancy of the pipe, and the loops sink to the bottom of the loch. Once landscaping is completed and land reinstatement has taken place only the lid of the manifold chamber on the bank reveals the existence of the collector system.

Water source heat pump Scotland

The design of a ground heat exchanger is a complex engineering procedure. Typically, a conservative approach is adopted and early dialogue with us is important to confirm the suitability of a particular tract of land or water source as an energy source before work starts.

For those without packages of land attached to their houses, or access to a loch, do not despair. See our pages on air source heat pumps.

For another project in Perthshire: Underfloor Heating Perth.

Drone images and video: MadeByDrones.

Other images by: STUDIOVHF.

Ground source heat pump, underfloor heating and screed in Bridge of  Allan

Ground source heat pump, underfloor heating and screed in Bridge of Allan

Our team of fitters have recently completed a 350m² underfloor heating and screed project in Bridge of Allan, Stirling. The property is undergoing some extensive alterations and Incognito Heat Co. have been tasked to deliver a brand-new underfloor heating system and a ground source heat pump system to heat the entire property.

Due to the scale of the property, two underfloor heating manifolds are necessary, and these have been installed at opposite ends of the building to manage unwanted heat build-up on the approach to each manifold.

To maintain the highest standards, Incognito Heat Co. manage each step of the project from floor preparation, design and installation of the underfloor heating pipework, right through to the application and levelling of the liquid floor screed.

Underfloor heating with ground source heat pump installation in Bridge of Allan, Stirling

We believe the only way to achieve a quality result is to invest in quality suppliers and installers. Our screed material of choice is Cemfloor, which is a high performing cement based liquid screed. The product is available through a select number of concrete batching plants who must adhere to the most exacting standards and is installed by our installation team who themselves undergo regular product training.

Around twenty-five cubic metres of screed was ordered for this property, to be pumped and levelled in one continuous operation. On a project of this scale, a dependable supplier is called for who can ensure that material is always available, and at the correct consistency. For this we turned to our longstanding supply partners, Grange Quarries who have constantly performed, both in terms of reliability in deliveries and the quality of material.

Upon arrival, all fresh screed is tested for the correct flow rate. This test allows our lead installer Don to judge whether the material is within tolerances, and can be used immediately, or whether further judicious additions of water are required to bring the material to the looked-for workability. Our team is trained by the manufacturers and will if necessary, reject any material that falls outside the high standards we demand. A successful flow rate test result is always a welcomed outcome on what is always a very busy day.

Material is pumped into the building, and being liquid, it encapsulates the heating pipes very well. At this point it is apparent why such care and attention has been expended on the preparation, as a successful pour will often hinge on the standard of workmanship of the team working directly before.

Following placement of the material, the screed is worked with dapple bars to finally displace any entrapped air within it. On the last pass the surface of the screed is sprayed with a curing agent which creates a ‘skin’ to prevent excessive water loss which can lead to issues with cracking.

Time-lapse video:

Before our team leaves site, we will wash down all our equipment, so it is important that space is set aside for this messy but necessary task.  All windows and doors are shut to prevent air movement across the green screed whilst it is in its infancy. Care should be taken to guard against damage from foot traffic and point loading until the screed has gained full strength.

Full instructions on the care and maintenance of the new screed are supplied to the builder, so the minimum possible time is spent getting it to a point where floor finishes can be applied.

Heat pump and underfloor heating Aberdeen - Dundee

Heat pump and underfloor heating Aberdeen - Dundee

Incognito Heat Co were consulted at the initial pre-design stage of this proposed development, a stunning family home, with heat pump and underfloor heating, in an equally stunning location on the north east coast of Scotland, between Aberdeen and Dundee which enjoys panoramic views across the North Sea for this young family.

Working closely with the architects, Cowie Chartered Architects Ltd, and main contractor, Fotheringham Property Developments Limited, Incognito Heat Co were appointed to plan an efficient underfloor heating and a domestic hot water strategy. We were delighted to take up the challenge.

Why Underfloor Heating in Aberdeen and Dundee?

The first thing people think about when they hear about underfloor heating is mess. Everyone thinks installing underfloor heating in Aberdeen or Dundee is going to cause a huge mess in their home or commercial building. And, of course, that it’s going to be an expensive mess.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

When you work with the right installer, underfloor heating takes very little time, makes very little mess and, more importantly, it costs very little in the long run.

In fact, whether you change your existing flooring is up to you. If you’re in the middle of a refurbishment, then you probably already had it in the books. If you love your current flooring, installing pipes underneath it is perfectly doable – without harming it.

But that’s not all that underfloor heating brings to the table. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages

Benefits of underfloor heating

  • Improved thermal comfort: underfloor heating radiates heat from the floor to the roof. Unlike conventional heaters, it allows for a pleasant environment at a lower temperature.

  • Cost savings: underfloor heating is more efficient than conventional methods. The water in a radiator needs to be heated at 65-67 degrees Celsius. For underfloor heating, 27 to 29 degrees are enough. Plus, it doesn’t depend on oil prices rising due to political or economic instability.

  • Green energy: the water used in the pipes can be heated by heat pumps and pumped round with electricity obtained through solar panels or wind turbines. You can have your entire home running on renewable energy, thus helping the environment and your wallet.

  • Extra space and better design: tired of searching for clever ways to mask ugly radiators? Underfloor heating isn’t too pretty, either, but it’s completely out of sight. You can use the space where radiators used to be for a stylish decoration that gives every room a unique personality.

  • Better air quality: radiators circulate the same stale warm air through the room. Underfloor heating allows for fresh air circulation without harming the energy efficiency of the system.

  • Faster heating: the right underfloor system can heat your room in 20 minutes or less. That significantly faster than conventional radiators that need to heat the air around them first.

  • No energy loss: when you have a radiator in your home, you already know what opening the window above it does to your energy efficiency. You’re basically throwing money off that window. As the name says, underfloor heating heats the floor, which means that, even if you open the window, the energy loss is minimal.

  • Child friendly: Forget about baby-proofing metallic edges. Underfloor heating is safely tucked away. Plus, even the youngest members of your family can walk barefooted on a warm floor.

  • No maintenance: if your system is installed correctly, it will last for a lifetime without any maintenance work. Now this truly is long-term cost saving!

Want to reap some of these amazing benefits for yourself? Take a look at the process we implemented for our clients below:

Ground source heat pump and underfloor heating Aberdeen - Dundee

At the heart of our proposed system was a 3 phase 16kW Thermia Diplomat Duo Optimum ground source heat pump, with a 200 litre buffer vessel to serve the house's space underfloor heating, and 300 litre domestic hot cylinder to provide the house's domestic hot water requirements.

The field on the east coast between Aberdeen and Dundee, where the looped collector pipes for the ground source heat pump were laid.

(Drone image by Michael Fotheringham, other images by Vincent Hartman.)

The renewable energy for this heat pump between Aberdeen and Dundee is drawn from the ground via an array of ground collector pipes. In excess of 1000 metres of this pipe is buried horizontally one metre below the surface of the garden grounds of this property, and is connected to the heat pump which is located in the plant room of the house adjacent to the garage. 

Renewable energy with Underfloor Heating Aberdeen - Dundee

This pipe is then filled with a specialist glycol heat transfer fluid which is circulated constantly through the pipework whist the system operating, drawing low grade heat from the ground, and delivering it to the heat pump. This is where the heat pump works its magic, using its reverse refrigeration technology, turning this low grade heat into high grade heat, sufficient to providing stable warm comfort throughout the entire property during the coldest winter condition’s, and all the properties domestic hot water requirements.  

Inside the house, on the ground floor our Ambiente underfloor heating Aberdeen system, with its pipework buried in the floor screed, ensures that an efficient comfortable controllable atmosphere is constantly maintained. On the first floor, heat pump compatible radiators have been fitted.

Incognito Heat Pumps and Underfloor Heating Aberdeen worked closely with Fotheringham Property Development (from Gourdon, also between Aberdeen and Dundee) and the owners, as the house was being constructed from early springtime 2016, through to its successful completion and hand over just before Christmas 2016.

The results, we are pleased to report that the system came through the harsh #BeastFromTheEast winter of 2017/2018 without missing a beat, keeping the family warm and in hot water (in the nicest way).

Incognito team members turning up for work on the first of March 2018 (but didn’t get anywhere else after that).

Building your own dream home, have a similar requirement for a state of art modern super-efficient heat pump and underfloor heating system in the Aberdeen and Dundee area? 

Please contact us for an initial consultation, we look forward to hearing from you!