What is a Water Source Heat Pump?

Many towns and cities are built on rivers or sources of water. This was to allow widespread trade, improve transport links, and provide a fresh source of water. Now this form of water could be used to heat the homes of residents who live nearby.

Water Source Heat Pump

A heat pump system removes heat from its surroundings and uses it to create a comfortable environment in a person’s home or business. The majority of these heat pump systems are either air source or ground source heat pumps. Using water instead of air or ground has some distinct advantages:

The benefits

  • The rate of heat transfer from a water source heat pump is much higher than ground or air as the viscosity of water means it circulates better; providing a constant energy source.
  • Although it may be more difficult to repair a water source heat pump, it removes the need to dig large holes to install ground source heat pumps.
  • The CoP (coefficient of performance) of a water source heat pump means that the average annual temperature of the system is better than that of an air or ground pump. For example 2 meters below the surface of the Thames never drops below 7 degrees. This means that the system will not be affected by fluctuations in outside temperatures.


Michael Farmer, Head of Technical for 361 Degrees, believes water source heat pumps are an excellent low carbon technology and represent an interesting solution.

“With balanced loads of cooling, heating and hot water, there could be CoP ratios of six and upwards on certain types of mixed-use scheme," he says. "However, as with any technology, a feasibility study must first be carried out, and with water source heat pumps another system is often found to be a more viable option."

To find out more, contact the 361 Degrees team to see if a water source heat pump is right for you.

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