Geothermal Heat Pumps

Published September 2013 by

Have you ever visited or seen famed thermal hot springs? Ever wonder how it is that pools of water can be heated completely on their own. These pools are fueled by dense pockets of geothermal energy. Yet, these aren’t the only places that produce geothermal energy. The supply is everywhere and green energy specialists have figured out innovative ways to harness this energy to heat your home.

Geothermal Heating:

Do you remember when you would buy a fish from the pet store and need to submerge its bag of water in the tank before you let him get into the water? That’s because the temperature of the tank’s water needed to adjust the water in the bag so the fish wouldn’t die of shock.

Geothermal operates under a very similar principle. The ground remains a fairly consistent temperature all year round, about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. After being snaked through the ground, the ends of long pipes of liquid are attached to a geothermal heat pump. The pump works two ways:

When you want to warm your house, the system will warm the liquid understand and then cycle it into the pump. The heat will be delivered to refrigerant coils that distribute the heat into your home through a type of blower.

When you want to cool your space, the system will suck in warm air and transfer the heat from that to the liquid. The liquid will then be moved to the pipes in the ground, which will diffuse the heat out until the liquid is cool again. When it is coo, it will cycle back into the pump to receive more heat and repeat the process.

The Major Benefits:

  • Geothermal is completely renewable because the Earth will never run out of energy.
  • The temperature consistency means the system is dual-functioning, saving on purchasing or using other equipment.
  • Geothermal heating uses 25-50% less electricity than traditional heating systems.
  • The system is quiet and very durable; common estimates states that these systems operation will last at least 25 years.
  • Very few moving parts so it requires very little maintenance.
  • Can be installed in relatively small amounts of land because the pipes can be manipulated. Unlike solar panels which all take up a finite amount of space, the underground piping can take on a variety of different shapes from long narrow lines to curls that look like springs. As long as you can dig deep enough and your designer is creative, you can install geothermal in nearly any configuration.

The Drawbacks:

  • Significantly more expensive than traditional heating. The average cost is about 3-4 times that of a conventional heating system.
  • Unlike some solar systems which you could setup yourself, geothermal must be installed by a professional. Because the coils need to be a certain depth in the ground and the system is setup with a specialized coolant, professional services are required.
  • Easier to setup on new homes because you can install modern ductwork. Otherwise, ductwork may need to be overhauled to be compatible with these types of systems.

Geothermal is one of many great energy-efficient, renewable options on the market today. If you are interested in if a geothermal heat pump if right for you, contact a an HVAC specialist to learn more.

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