Geothermal Heating And Cooling
How Does A Geothermal
Home Heating System Work?
Geothermal heating and cooling is a new system that can be
integrated into almost any home. It is revolutionizing the industry and advancing green building concepts. While
price is often a determining factor during a renovation project, it often results in settling for less than perfect
A homeowner may apply the same mindset to a home’s heating or cooling system by installing a cheaper unit.
However, the cost of operating that unit is going to be much higher than an energy efficient one, which would
significantly increase operating costs.
A geothermal system is an energy efficient method of maintaining comfortable temperatures in your home. The
system utilizes a renewable energy source that will not harm the environment. While the initial cost of installing
this system is much higher than gas, electric or oil fired furnace, the system provides you with energy savings
throughout the life of the unit.
The Geothermal Heating And Cooling Concept
The main feature of this system is that it heats and cools a home by using the energy that is stored in the
ground from the sun’s rays. Three methods are utilized to access this energy:
- Vertical Loop - this involves digging down into the ground several hundred feet to install
a closed loop system, which is ideal for homes that do not have a lot of land.
- Pond Loop - for homeowners that have a pond on their property, the closed loop system is
installed at the bottom of the pond.
- Slinky or Horizontal Loop - the closed loop system is installed horizontally over the
In either system, the fluid that is inside will pass through the loop, transfers the heat from the home back to
the ground while in the cooling mode, and gathers the heat from the ground during the heating mode. This unique
process is what makes this type of system stand apart from the rest. A geothermal heating and cooling system is a
wise investment to make, as it allows the homeowner to recover the cost of the improvement in a reasonable amount
of time. In addition, the system will continue to provide the homeowner with years of energy savings, making it an
ideal purchase for any type of home.
Types of GHP Systems
Geothermal heat pumps are generally classified as "closed-loop" or "open-loop" systems based on the
type of ground loop that they use:
- Closed-loop systems. Closed-loop systems circulate a solution of water and antifreeze
through a series of sealed loops of piping. The loops can be installed in the ground horizontally or
vertically, or they can be placed in a body of water, such as a pond.
- Open-loop systems. Open-loop systems circulate water drawn from a ground or surface
water source. Once the heat has been transferred into or out of the water, the water is returned to a
well or surface discharge (instead of being recirculated through the system). Open-loop systems are not recommended for residential use.
Heating Water for Buildings and Pools with GHPs
- Buildings. Most geothermal heat pumps sold today are equipped with a "desuperheater"
to meet up to half of your home or business's hot water needs. Desuperheaters provide the greatest
benefit during the summer, when hot water is produced using the excess heat removed from the building
during the cooling process. In the winter, desuperheaters can also reduce your hot water bills by
preheating water. Desuperheaters are standard on some units, optional on others. Stand-alone systems that
will heat water on demand (instead of only when space heating/cooling takes place) can also be
- Pools. Pool heating using a GHP is effective in warm climates, where a great deal of
excess heat is produced during the space cooling season. You will need to purchase a separate
"water-to-water" heat exchanger to heat your pool.
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