How does geothermal heating and cooling work? (video)
Geothermal heating and cooling has come a long way since the 1950s, when it was introduced to the public. But more than 50 years later, most homeowners are unaware of the renewable heating and cooling power that's available for free just a few feet under the ground.
Back in the 1950s, the power of geothermal HVAC was well understood but the technology was not up to the task of transferring heat to and from the ground in an efficient way.
Later in the 1970’s geothermal heating and cooling started to take hold. Today geothermal is widely recognized as one of the most efficient ways to heat and cool your home.
Many homeowners are still are reluctant to use the ground under our collective feet as a renewable heating and cooling method. The biggest problem is that people are not aware of what geothermal is and even less are knowledgeable about how it works.
Since the ground absorbs nearly half of the solar energy our planet receives, it’s time we tap that energy for heating and air conditioning. With all of this solar energy soaking into the earth, the earth remains at a constant, moderate temperature just below its surface all year round.
However, air temperature varies greatly from summer to winter, making air source (traditional) heating and cooling least efficient when it is needed it the most.
Geothermal heating and cooling systems take advantage of the stable temperature (~55 degrees F.) underground using a piping system, commonly referred to as a "loop." The water circulates in the loop to exchange heat between the home, the ground source heat pump, and the earth, providing heating, cooling, and hot water at remarkably high efficiencies.
In fact, geothermal heating and cooling systems are 400-600 percent efficient and can cut heating, cooling, and hot water costs by up to 80 percent.
Watch this video that explains how geothermal works and will fit into your home.
During the winter, geothermal heating and cooling systems absorb heat stored in the ground through the water that circulates in its underground loop. This heat is carried to the ground source heat pumps where it’s concentrated and then sent as warm, comfortable air throughout the home.
With a regular heat pump when the demand for heat is the highest, the air outside is coldest making it hard for the standard heat pump to work. As a result, a traditional air source heat pump works much harder to extract the amount of heat from the cold air needed to properly heat the home.
In contrast, a geothermal system consumes less energy as it easily absorbs heat from the abundant supply stored below ground, making geothermal heating significantly more energy efficient.
Gas furnaces burn natural gas to provide heat for your home and are only 98 percent efficient, while geothermal systems use significantly less energy collecting heat from the earth, achieving 400-600 percent efficiencies.
During the summer, geothermal heating and cooling systems absorb heat from your home and transfers it to the underground loop where it is then absorbed by the cooler earth. The geothermal heat pump uses the cool water returning from the earth to create cool, dehumidified air for the home.
When the demand for cooling is high, the outside air is also very hot. A traditional air source heat pump must work hard to force the heat from your home into the already heat saturated air.
In contrast, a geothermal heat pump consumes less energy as it easily rejects heat into the cool earth, making geothermal cooling significantly more energy efficient.
Read more about geothermal heating and cooling.
Topics: Geothermal Heating & Cooling