A geothermal heat pump system is a heating and/or an air conditioning system that uses the Earth’s ability to store heat in ground and water thermal masses. The highly efficient system saves energy and reduces utility costs while keeping your home comfortable year-round.
- These systems operate based on the stability of underground temperatures; the ground a few feet below surface has a very stable temperature throughout the year, depending upon location’s annual climate
- A geothermal system differs from a conventional furnace or boiler by its ability to transfer heat to or from the ground versus the standard method of producing heat
- Geothermal heating has the least expensive cost of operation, but initial installation costs will be the more expensive than conventional systems
For more information, read articles about Guide to Geothermal Heating and Cooling and Misconceptions About Geothermal Heating and Cooling.
Video: Benefits of Geothermal Heating and Cooling
Geothermal Heat Uses Solar Energy Absorbed by the Earth
The Earth absorbs almost 50% of all solar energy. This virtually untapped source of energy is available to heat and cool your home with a geothermal heat pump system.
- Just a few feet below the surface, the ground remains at a nearly constant temperature of 50°F to 70°F depending on geographic location.
- A geothermal heat pump uses that available heat in the winter and puts heat back into the ground in the summer
- Most Geothermal systems require digging a six foot trench for the installation of a ground source loop that can be as long as 1,500 feet for a 3 ton system, or longer. See below for additional loop configurations.
- Working with an underground loop system, a geothermal unit utilizes the constant temperature to exchange energy between your home and the earth as needed for heating and cooling.
- The type of loop system employed depends on a number of factors, including available ground space or other topographical features.
Geothermal Loop System Options
Click on a picture below for a larger image and additional information:
where the soil conditions allow for economical excavation. Learn more.
where land area is limited. Learn more.
- In winter, water circulating inside a sealed loop absorbs heat from the earth and carries it to the unit. Here it is compressed to a higher temperature and sent as warm air to your indoor system for distribution throughout your home
- In the summer, the system reverses and expels heat from your home to the cooler earth via the loop system
- Heat exchange process is not only natural, but a highly efficient way to create a comfortable climate in your home, as well