Geothermal Heating and Cooling is often referred to as Geoexchange, Geothermal, or Ground Source Heating and Cooling. Geothermal heating & cooling is not to be confused with a geothermal power plant. A geothermal power plant generates electricity using the core of the earth. We are talking about using the crust of the earth to heat and cool a home or building.
Geothermal works because the ground beneath our feet is warmer then the outside air in the winter and cooler in the summer. Inserting a series of small pipes into the ground allows heat to be transferred to and from your home. In this process heat is not created, it is transported thereby eliminating the need to burn fuel.
Yes, Geothermal Systems are possible in your neighborhood! In fact geothermal systems are used in almost every state in the USA. Ideal candidates are homeowners who currently burn expensive heating oil or propane.
1. Heat Pump – the unit inside the house that moves the heated or cooled air.
2. Ground Loop – the underground pipes that transfer the hot or cold energy that connect to the heat pump.
Winter Operation: The underground pipes, called a ground loop, circulate water which absorbs the heat from the earth and returns it to the indoor heat pump. The heat pump extracts the heat from the liquid then distributes it throughout your home as warm air. With the heat removed, the water is re-circulated to collect more heat from the ground. This cycle keeps your home warm (and can even pre-heat your home’s water supply) while vastly reducing the need for fuel or other costly non-renewable resources.
Summer Operation: The indoor heat pump takes the hot air from your home and extracts the heat. This leaves behind cool air to be distributed throughout your home’s vents as air-conditioning. The removed heat from the air is absorbed by the water in the ground loops and then rejected into the cool earth. In this case, the water is warmer leaving the home then when it returns.
This is not a new technology – nor is it a science experiment. The EPA has acknowledged geothermal systems as the most energy efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective space conditioning systems available on the market. Geothermal heating and cooling is also the standard in many European nations. In Sweden and Switzerland for instance, more than 75% of new homes have geothermal. If you currently spend too much on electricity, oil, or propane to heat your home, then it is a good idea to explore what switching to geothermal can mean for your bottom line.
Here is a good example of the geothermal by the numbers of one homeowner who switched from propane.