How do Ground Source or Geothermal Heat Pumps work?

If you’ve heard of these types of heat pumps but don’t know the difference, rest easy - they're both the same!

Distinguished based on the source of heat they tap into, geothermal solutions extract heat from the ground beneath the earth through a system of underground loops. This setup makes ground source devices a superior choice in temperatures that are extremely hot or cold.

Using the consistent ground temperature that lies five meters underground, businesses can enjoy cost-effective heating or cooling through heatwaves or freezing conditions, without using any more energy than required.

Geothermal heat pumps also require very little ventilation compared to air source heat pumps, providing you with the freedom to place photovoltaic panels on rooftops.

In warm conditions and in high heat load buildings such as offices, data centres, and gyms, geothermal heat pumps are able to reduce cooling requirements by up to 70%. This is done through “free cooling”.

In warm conditions, the heat from the property is absorbed into water through an air conditioning unit, which is either ducted, wall-mounted, or ceiling-mounted. With air to water heat pump technology, this type of cooling system can also be passed through water pipes embedded in the floor, walls, or ceiling. The warm water extracted is then passed through the cool earth, dissipating heat into the ground, and cool water is then pushed back into the property, requiring only the power of a circulation pump.

In cold conditions, heat is extracted from the ground no matter what the ambient temperature. This is then converted into a higher temperature through a refrigeration system, similar to a standard air conditioner, except the heat is transferred to the water. This hot water can then be used for potable hot water, pool heating, underfloor heating, and a ducted heating system.

Types of Geothermal Heat Pump Systems

closed-loop systems


Categorised into either horizontal, vertical or pond/lake configurations, these types of ground source devices circulate water through a closed loop pipe.

Made of plastic tubing, these loops are buried in the ground or submerged in water - depending on the configuration chosen. Through a simple exchange, heat is absorbed from the property into the water and then dissipated into the ground or vice-versa.



horizontal systems


The most cost-effective solution for large residential properties - particularly, new constructions - horizontal systems are a reliable choice when ample space is available.

Requiring trenches at least 4 feet deep, these systems utilise pipes buried at various distances underneath the ground. Another way in which installation takes place is by looping the pipe, slinky-style, in a shorter trench, slashing costs and making it a more practical option in areas that aren’t as suited for traditional installation methods.


vertical systems


Vertical systems, on the other hand, are better suited in homes with limited outdoor space. These also make a suitable choice in areas where the soil is too shallow for trenching, minimising the disturbance to the original landscape.

Here, vertical loops are connected to a horizontal pipe, placed in trenches, and connected to the heat pump in a given house.

Open Loop Systems


Here, a well or a surface body of water is used as the heat exchange fluid that is circulated through the geothermal heat pump. Once this takes place, the water returns to the ground through the well, recharge well or surface discharge.

This system is a suitable choice in properties where there is an adequate supply of clean water which meets local regulations pertaining to groundwater discharge.

Pond/ Lake Systems


For properties that feature a sizeable body of water, a pond/lake closed-loop configuration may just be the most cost-effective option.

Here, a supply line pipe is installed underground, connecting the building to the water, and coiled into circles around 2-3 metres beneath the ground. These can only be placed, however, if the pond or lake meets a certain set of criteria pertaining to volume, depth, and water quality.

Hybrid Systems


Drawing from multiple bodies of heat, including both geothermal and air-based sources, hybrid systems are effective in homes where cooling needs are greater than those relating to heating.

Installed in a variety of methods, including the ‘standing column well’ approach, hybrid systems are one of the many popular ways in which homeowners can enjoy the superior heating and cooling generated by heat pumps.

Madimack's Geothermal Heat Pump Technology

Trinity Heat Pump

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The Madimack Trinity Heat Pump is a truly superior tri-purpose system, catering to the heating, cooling, and hot water requirements of your home.

Some of its stellar features include:

  • Simultaneous heating and cooling
  • Heat recovery
  • Pool heating
  • Solar PV ready 
  • Perfect to meet the needs of high-performing passive homes



Heat and Cool Series

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For homeowners with limited needs, our Heat and Cool Series is the perfect solution for luxurious heating and cooling.



Some of its top-rated features include:

  • Heating or cooling
  • Hot water and hydronic heating
  • Pool heating
  • Solar PV ready
  • Perfect to meet the needs of high-performing passive homes

Thermally Active Buildings

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Thermally Active Building Systems (TABS) are those that use a building's concrete thermal mass for heating and cooling. This occurs through the use of embedded pipes, within which hot and cold water circulates continuously.

 Features include: 

  • High energy efficiency
  • Cost-effective - 50% less operational costs and 30% less investment expenditure
  • Fewer health hazards
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Heat exchangers
  • Expedient installation process





In Australia, Madimack is an industry leader in the provision of superior heat pump solutions. 


Is a geothermal heat pump a good choice for you?
Madimack carries out technical surveys, heat load calculations and other services to make sure geothermal heat pump systems are viable for your commercial projects. 


Fill in the form below for a free quotation for geothermal heating and cooling in your commercial property! 

With our exceptional range of devices specifically catering to Australian properties and climates, contact us today for a free quote from our experts!