How Do Geothermal Heat Pumps Work?
Geothermal systems are an environmentally friendly way to heat and cool your home. Using refrigerant-filled pipes buried in the ground, geothermal systems move heat back and forth between indoors and outdoors. Because ground temperatures stay relatively constant (depending on where you live, ground temperatures are usually between 45° and 75°), geothermal systems can utilize the earth’s temperature to maintain comfortable temperatures in your home.
The four types of geothermal heat pumps are:
- Pond/lake systems
- Open-loop systems
Horizontal, verticle and pond/lake systems are all closed-loop systems. Horizontal systems are most common in residential settings and typically use two pipes placed in trenches at least four feet deep. Piping is then looped, allowing for a shorter trench. Verticle systems are more often used for commercial and other large properties where there isn’t space for horizontal placement of the underground pipes. With pond/lake systems, pipes are placed in a nearby body of water at least 8 feet deep to prevent freezing.
Open-loop systems are less common and utilize a well or other surface body water as their heat exchange fluid instead of antifreeze/refrigerant.
Are Geothermal Heat Pumps Effective for Cooling?
Yes! Though their name makes most people think of them primarily as heating appliances, geothermal systems provide excellent, consistent cooling. While during the winter, the geothermal pump pulls warmth from the ground, bringing it inside, in the summer, it does the opposite. It removes heat from the air in your home and transfers it to the ground outside.
Benefits of Geothermal Cooling
One of the greatest benefits of installing a geothermal system in your home is that it dramatically reduces utility costs. Geothermal systems are incredibly energy efficient, especially compared to traditional furnaces and air conditioners. A geothermal system can be 300% to 400% more efficient!
Furthermore, geothermal systems have a long lifespan and require little maintenance. On average, a geothermal system will last for approximately 25 years. That is a decade longer than a conventional air conditioning system! Though these systems require less maintenance, it is still recommended that you have your system looked over by a professional once a year to look for signs of wear and tear.
Another benefit that should not be overlooked is that geothermal systems are incredibly quiet. You don’t have to deal with excess noise because they don’t rely on a compressor or combustion system. You no longer have to turn the TV up whenever your AC kicks on.
Finally, geothermal systems are much easier on the environment than traditional systems. They require significantly less energy to run, thereby consuming less fuel. This is a major benefit in the summer when cooling costs can skyrocket, especially here in Georgia, where we have to deal with both heat and humidity. Additionally, they rely primarily on the ambient heat in the ground, a renewable resource, making them even more environmentally friendly.
Are Geothermal Heat Pumps a Good Choice for My Georgia Home?
While geothermal heat pumps offer many benefits overall, are they right for your home? One thing to consider is the upfront installation cost. Depending on the size of your property, a geothermal system can cost well over $10,000 to install. This can make converting your system to a geothermal system unrealistic for many homeowners.
However, if you are building a new construction home, you may be able to work this cost into your overall budget. Additionally, if you plan to be in your home for a long time, the investment may be worth it, especially considering that a geothermal system can reduce your monthly cooling and heating costs by more than half.
If you are considering switching to a geothermal heat pump, reach out to Premier Indoor Comfort Systems for help selecting and installing your new system.