Water source heat pump is WSHP, which discharges heat to the ground instead of to the air in the cooling tower. The water from the refrigerant to the water heat exchanger is circulated through a series of wells by a small in-line pump. The fluid flows turbulently throughout the circuit to maximize heat transfer with the ground.
The key to understanding geothermal heat pumps is that heat is discharged to the ground, and the ground is always colder than air in summer and warmer than air in winter. Therefore, ground source heat pumps are more efficient than water source heat pumps.
This limitation can be alleviated by drilling deeper wells, increasing well spacing or drilling more wells, for example, increasing the size of the well field. Another possible solution is a hybrid system with a cooling tower that uses the ground loop as a heat storage capacitor after the day's operating time is over to discharge some or all of the heat. There are several computer simulation programs that can be used to accurately determine the ground handling capacity of the annual design building load.
There are two configurations of ground source heat pumps. Each unit can be piped to a dedicated set of wells (usually one well per ton of cooling capacity), or many units can circulate fluid through many wells on a main circuit. The latter must target hybrid systems. One advantage of the shared header loop is that one large, high-efficiency pump is used to transport water instead of many low-power, fractional horsepower, and relatively low-efficiency pumps, one for each unit. The energy consumed by the latter is several times that of the latter, which reduces the efficiency of the entire system. A suitable variant is to install horizontal pipes, usually in the form of spiral, elongated pipes. These coils are easier to install, do not require skilled drillers and expensive equipment, and can usually be incorporated into the overall site plan of a new building.