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How Does Geothermal Heating and Cooling Work?

Are you looking for an HVAC system to both heat and cool as well as lower operating costs, plus is environmentally friendly? Geothermal heating and cooling may be the answer you’re looking for! The heating and cooling pros at Energy Savers are here to tell you more about these great systems, how they work, and how they can benefit your family.

How Geothermal Heating and Cooling Works

Conventional HVAC systems work by creating heating and cooling – furnaces and boilers burn fuel to produce heat to warm the air, then the air is cycled into your home. Geothermal heating and cooling systems work by transferring heat found below ground (or within a water source, depending on configuration) into your home. To cool, they extract the heat from indoors, moving it out and depositing it below ground or within the water source.
Below ground, the temperature remains consistent between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, no matter how warm or cold above ground temperatures reach in Alabama and Georgia. The temperature within the earth provides ample thermal energy for heating homes and businesses, and the earth acts as a heat sink absorbing excess heat to cool indoor areas.

Geothermal Heating and Cooling Components

Geothermal heating and cooling systems use different components in comparison to conventional HVAC systems, which transfer heat inside and out of your home.

  • Geothermal loops (also called ground loops) are a network of pipes installed below ground. They are filled with fluid that aide in the transfer of heat. For heating, the ground loop absorbs heat from the earth which is then moved indoors. For cooling, excess heat is transferred into the ground loop’s fluid and cycled through the loop where it is released into the earth.

Geothermal loops can be installed in four configurations – which is best, depends on the application.

  1. Horizontal loops are laid at least four feet deep and cover more area, making them a good choice for residential and new construction.
  2. Vertical loops are installed within deep wells, requiring less space. These are well-suited for commercial applications, limited land availability, shallow soil or bedrock drilling requirements.
  3. Pond or lake loops can be installed using an on-site body of water as the heat exchange source. They are typically the least expensive configuration.
  4. An open loop system utilizes an on-site well or surface water as a heat exchange source.
  • Geothermal heat pumps move energy between the earth and the home. To heat, the heat pump works with the ground loop, carrying absorbed heat from the loop into the heat pump, which concentrates heat for use in your home. To cool, the heat pump operates in reverse – it extracts excess heat from indoor spaces, sending it through the ground loop to be expelled into the earth.

Benefits of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Geothermal heating and cooling systems offer distinctive benefits for users, including:

  • Lower operating costs – because these systems do not burn fuel and produce heat to electricity utilization rates of up to 5:1, geothermal HVAC is very affordable to run. You can save approximately 70 percent on monthly energy bills versus conventional HVAC systems.
  • Environmentally friendly – because they consume no fossil fuels and boast highly efficient electricity use, geothermal heating and cooling is a more environmentally friendly option for indoor comfort.
  • Long equipment life – geothermal heating and cooling systems last longer than conventional HVAC equipment. While geothermal heat pumps last about as long as a conventional air conditioner (12 to 15 years with proper care) the ground loop components can last over 50 years! It is well protected within the earth and is not easily damaged.

Start gaining the comfort and energy saving advantages geothermal heating and cooling has to offer your family. Contact Energy Savers today to learn more about these innovative systems and see about installing an eco-friendly comfort system at your home!