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What is Geothermal Heating and Cooling?

Posted On: October 15, 2021

Geothermal heating and cooling is one of the safest and most energy-efficient forms of temperature control. When used to maintain constant temperatures within the home, a geothermal heat pump regulates the air in your home, providing comfort all year round. 

Let’s take a look at how geothermal cooling and heating works.

What is Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is heat from the sub-surface of the Earth. Below the surface, there are underground reservoirs and rocks that retain heat.

How Does Geothermal Energy Work?

Accessing the Earth’s warm areas can require drilling into the ground. Once the hole is created, cold water is introduced to the heated area to produce steam. The steam rises to the surface and is pushed into turbines. The spinning turbines then generate electricity. Excess water is cooled and sent back down to the heated area to start the process again.

What is a Heat Pump

A heat pump transfers heat from one location to another. It extracts heat from the air,  moving it into a refrigerant. The refrigerant is compressed, raising its temperature, and then piped through an extractor in your home, increasing the ambient temperature of your inside air.

Although it is called a heat pump, it also functions as an air conditioner. By reversing the process, extracting the heat from inside the home, and transferring it outside, it cools your home to your level of satisfaction.

How Geothermal Heating and Cooling Works Inside Your Home

Around 10 to 20 feet below where you are standing, the Earth maintains a constant temperature of about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. You may have encountered this when you step into a basement. 

It is cooler in the basement during the summer months, and during the winter months, it is warmer. Geothermal heating and cooling within the home use the geothermal process of the Earth without having to drill a mile down or generate electricity. 

There are several types of geothermal systems, including:

  • Closed-loop
  • Open-loop
  • Pond loop
  • Slinky coil ground loop

For this article, we are only going to look at closed-loop systems. 

In a closed-loop system, pipes are inserted into the ground and connected to a heat pump. The lines are filled with a water solution to prevent freezing and help the transfer of heat. 

Heat is extracted from the home during the summer months via the heat pump and sent into the ground. At the same time, the cooling 55-degree Earth temperature is sent back through the heat pump and into the home. The heat pump works oppositely during the winter months, extracting the warm 55-degree temperature from the earth and replacing the cold air in your home.

Fifty-five degrees is a great starting point in both cases. It allows the heat pump to increase or decrease the home temperature as needed. The heat pump requires less electricity to operate than any heater or air conditioner, since it has a 55-degree baseline in either direction.

How to Get Geothermal Services in My Area

T.E. Spall & Son should be your first call for repairing, maintaining and installing geothermal heat pumps. With over 35 years of experience in the HVAC industry, you can count on us to provide a safe working environment, excellent customer service, and the highest grade of technical performance. 

Call Spall today and find out how we can save you money with a geothermal heat pump installation.

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