The Basic Science of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

A number of people here in Central , Ohio, have sought Fairfield Heating & Cooling to make their homes geothermal homes. Still leery of geothermal heating and cooling yourself? Knowing a smidgen of the science behind it – and the mechanics as well – would undoubtedly help.

We’ve mentioned elsewhere the rewards of geothermal heating and cooling. Suffice it to say here that almost no other manner of maintaining apleasant home environment year-round are as efficient, dependable, or economical, especially when you gauge the energy savings.

Here’s how geothermal works its magic.

Thar’s Gold Heat in Them Thar Hills!

We tap the earth for precious metals. We tap the earth for oil. Now, more than ever, we’re tapping the earth for something likely just as valuable to most of us: the energy to heat and cool our homes that doesn’t involve oil.

You see, close beneath the earth’s crust – that would be roughly 33,000 feet under our feet – is a stratum of magma. This is a molten and semi-molten blend, primarily of silicates, in which temperatures vary from 1300 degrees Fahrenheit to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit and hotter the deeper you go (not that you’d want to go there!). What this serves to do is keep the ground immediately under the earth’s surface at a year-round temperature of between 45 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. So? Underground temperatures in Central (and essentially everywhere stateside, anyway) are warmer than the ambient air above ground in Winter and cooler than the ambient air above ground in Summer.

Time to Get Pumped!

What geothermal heating and cooling systems do, then, is transfer heat from the ground  to your home or heat from your home to the ground, as the season dictates. Either way, your home stays at the optimum temperature to keep you and your family comfy month after month.

The mechanism that performs the transfer is a geothermal heat pump. It continuously circulates water or some solution (predominantly antifreeze) between your home and loops of piping (predominantly fashioned of polyethylene, high-density polyethylene, PVC, or CPVC) buried in the ground. In Winter, the liquid is cold when it enters the ground. As it flows through the loops, it sucks up heat from the earth and is returned to your home warm. In Summer, the process is reversed: warm liquid goes into the loops, where it takes in the cooler ground temperatures before it’s returned to your home. Looking for details? You’ll find more specific information on ground loops here.

The salient point is that geothermal heating and cooling systems don’t produce energy. They aren’t like central heating systems, which generate heat themselves. Instead, geothermal systems heat and cool your home by making use of the energy already abundantly available beneath the earth’s surface. That’s why geothermal systems don’t only run quieter but also prove considerably more dependable, need less maintenance, have significantly longer lifespans, and are more environmentally friendly than old-school HVACs. That’s also why, in the end, you’ll save lots more more money by going geothermal.

Curious now? Talk with Fairfield Heating & Cooling, your Central geothermal heating and cooling specialist, today.