Water Source Heat Pumps 101

What is a water source heat pump?

While referred to as heat pump, the water source system provides both heat and air conditioning to a home, with both enclosed in the same casing.  Driving its refrigerant cycle (reversible from heat to air as needed) are a tube-in-tube heat exchange mechanism, a heat / cool coil, a compressor, a fan, and reversing controls and valve.

How does a water source heat pump differ from a standard system?

In choosing a heat pump system for your home, you have two options: air-to-air, or geothermal.

  • Air-to-air –  The standard heat pump option, this process transfers heat between your house and the outside air.
  • Geothermal – A heating unit that gathers heat for the home from either the ground (ground source) or a nearby body of water (water source.)

Why Geothermal?

Despite the higher heat pump installation cost, the advantages to choosing a ground source or water source heat pump, over an air-to-air system are numerous:

  1. Ongoing costs are lower because ground or water temperatures remain relatively constant.
  2. Energy use is reduced by as much as 60 percent, over air-to-air heat-pump options
  3. Humidity is considerably reduced
  4. Less complicated, smaller units, water source and ground source heat pumps work more reliably and fit more easily into any home size or design than do their air-to-air counterparts. Repairs are minimal.
  5. Some water source systems qualify for LEED credentials, raising the house to green-home status.  Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), is a globally-recognized green rating system. Homes that qualify are more attractive to prospective buyers, selling faster and for more money than their non-green neighbors. The U.S. Green Building Council has more on LEED accreditation.

Who Can Choose Water Source Heat Pumps?

All that is required to take advantage of this economical heat option is a nearby supply of clean water, such as a pond, well, or lake.  Cleveland, Ohio, for example, is ideal for water source heating, with its nearness to the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie.

Most water source heat pumps rely on circulating wells. The experts at Stovicek Heating and Air Conditioning, a Cleveland-area division of KW Lang Mechanical, offer tips on appropriate depth, size, and spacing for water wells.

If your home is near a clean body of water, a water source heat pump is your most reliable and least costly heating and air conditioning choice. Contact us today to learn more!