The Fundamental How and Why of a Geothermal Heat Pump

One of the most unexpected things about a geothermal heating and cooling system is that it has almost no moving parts. There’s just that much less that can go wrong– that much less requiring maintenance. And that alone makes a big difference in reducing the overall energy costs of Central homeowners who’ve gone geothermal.

 

Of course, there are some moving parts in the system. Most of them are found in its most conspicuous component, too: the geothermal heat pump.

This is the system’s engine. Its purpose is to transfer heat. And it transfers heat either from the ground into your house or from your house into the ground, depending on seasonal temperatures. Consequently, it’s a furnace and an air conditioner united in one discreet package.

How the heat pump transfers heat is with water or an antifreeze solution. This liquid circulates through loops of underground pipes to which the heat pump is secured above ground. During heating season the liquid draws heat from the ground, the heat pump draws the warm liquid up into refrigerant coils, and from there the heat is dispensed throughout a home by either a forced air or a hydronic system. During cooling season the process is reversed: the pump draws heat from your home and transfers it underground via those same buried loops. Oh, and somewhere in the process, lots of geothermal systems also provide domestic hot water.

The fundamental differentiator between a geothermal heat pump and a typical furnace is that a heat pump doesn’t ignite fuel to generate heat. Instead it takes heat that’s already there and merely moves it around. That naturally makes it a much more efficient heating and cooling system. Bear this in mind, too: underground temperatures most often hold at around 50º F all year long. And that means? A geothermal heating and cooling system uses considerably less energy to cool your home than standard air conditioners.

So … is a geothermal system what’s needed for your Central home? Look to this area’s geothermal wizards, the cordial people at Fairfield Heating & Cooling.