When considering heating and cooling systems for a home, maybe you’ve heard the term “geothermal systems.” But what does that really mean?
An alternative to the traditional air conditioning and furnace options, a heat pump system is an energy efficient and environmentally friendly way of heating and cooling your home that can reduce energy costs and CO2 emissions.
The basics regarding heat pumps
Heat pumps are basically two-way air conditioners. In the summer, it moves the warm air in your home to outside. In winter, the heat pump reverses this process and takes heat from the cold outdoors and moves it inside the house.
There are two basic types of heat pumps:
- Air-source heat pumps use the outside air as the heat source in winter and heat sink in summer.
- Ground-source heat pumps, better known as geothermal heat pumps, use the ground as their heat source and heat sink.
How do Geothermal Heat Pumps work?
Wherever you live, the temperature beneath your home remains relatively constant, regardless of the season. Just a few feet down, the earth is a near consistent 55 degrees Fahrenheit, summer or winter. A geothermal heat pump system harnesses the stable underground temperature to provide heating, cooling and hot water at remarkably high efficiencies. So high, in fact, that energy use can be cut by up to 80 percent.
To access this stable underground temperature, a geothermal heat pump is connected to a series of underground loop pipes. These pipes are made from an extremely strong and long-lasting polyethylene material. Water, usually mixed with an environmentally safe antifreeze solution, is pumped through this loop pipe system.
In summer, the heat pump takes heat from the air in your home and transfers it to the underground loop system, which then radiates the heat away, into the cool earth. Now cooled to a comfortable temperature, the air is circulated back through your home using a traditional duct system.
In winter, the system is reversed. Heat is extracted from the ground using the same loop system. In the heat pump, the heat from the underground loop is compressed to a much higher temperature and used to warm the air in your home.
Since the geothermal system uses an earth loop to provide your home with heat in the winter, there is no need to burn any fossil fuel for heating.
Geothermal systems require quality HVAC professionals
No matter the type of heat pump you are considering, be sure to use a licensed and bonded professional to install the device. Proper installation ensures that your system operates at maximum efficiency and helps you avoid unnecessary repair or maintenance issues.
If problems with your heat pump do arise, be sure the maintenance technician also is an experienced professional.
Contact HVAC 911 to be referred to a reliable local plumbing contractor who can help you with any heat pump related questions. If you need a heat pump installed or would like emergency repair service, HVAC 911 will find the right contractor for what you need.