Geothermal Heating & Cooling Options:
What Lies Beneath

Ten feet below the surface of the earth, it’s a temperate 55 degrees. Whether it’s 102 degrees during high summer or -20 in the deep freeze of winter, the earth’s internal temperature remains 55 degrees. This constant temperature of the earth’s crust makes an ideal atmosphere for geothermal heat and cooling pumps because the outdoor temperature has no effect or influence on how it works.  The energy from the earth continuously renews itself and your heating and cooling system without an external unit.

But how does a geothermal system work? Where does it go? How does it cool? Geothermal heat pumps, also known as the GeoExchange (GHP), have two main components: the pipe system underground that collects the earth’s energy and the heat pump unit inside that cools and heats your home. To harness the earth’s power, a few different types harness that energy, depending on your outdoor space, soil conditions, and climate. 

earths core

The first is a closed-loop system consisting of continuous underground pipe loops filled with antifreeze/water solution that transfers the earth’s heat to the heat pump. The closed-loop system can be installed either vertically or horizontally, depending on available outdoor space. The vertical model needs less outdoor space and gets installed with a well driller. The horizontal model is cheaper to install because you can use a backhoe instead of a drilling rig.

The constant temperature of the earth’s crust makes an ideal atmosphere for geothermal heat and cooling pumps because the outdoor temperature has no effect or influence on how it works

The second option is the open-loop system which uses either a well or a surface body of water in the heat coil system (instead of antifreeze like the closed-loop system) through the geoexchanger. The water recirculates to keep the comfort levels in your home regulated and will dispense into the ground to keep the energy cycle regulated. This system can be practical when there is a body of clean water nearby and the lowest cost because the supply line pipes from the building lead to the water, coiled in circles at least eight feet underground. However, this type of system requires more permits, licenses, and codes to meet with your local government regarding groundwater.

Waterfall

There are also hybrid systems that utilize different geothermal options and sources, including outdoor cooling towers. These are useful in warmer climates where you need more cooling than heating. There are also standing wells which is a variation of the open-loop system with a deep vertical well. This option can work if the geology around the area allows it, not to mention if local governments allow it.

The GeoExchange (GHP) has two main components: the pipe system underground that collects the earth’s energy and the heat pump unit inside that cools and heats your home.

Now that you know what goes on underground, how does it transfer into your home? A heat pump is connected to the closed or open loop system into the ductwork throughout the house, just like a traditional HVAC, but more eco-friendly, energy-efficient, and economical. Although the upfront costs of installing a geothermal system may seem expensive, the energy savings in the years to come will make the installation worth every penny. 

According to energy.gov, a geothermal system pays itself off in 5-10 years. The system lasts considerably longer as well–the inside system can last up to 20 years, and the closed-loop component can last over 50 years, thanks to no outdoor wear and tear. If you can add the installation of the geothermal unit to your mortgage, you’ll see savings almost immediately. In terms of energy savings, homeowners with geothermal units saw an overall 35% decrease in heating and cooling bills almost immediately.

geotherm diagram

The weather may be frightful outside, but inside your home will be delightful because you have geothermal heating and cooling. You’ll also be delighted when you see your energy savings every month because you dug deep and installed a geothermal unit.

In terms of energy savings, homeowners with geothermal units saw an overall 35% decrease in heating and cooling bills almost immediately.

Ready to dig deep and see what lies beneath? Call Climate Control Corp. to install your new geothermal system today! 859-277-7192