The geothermal heat pump has been in the spotlight lately. The Environmental Protection Agency recently declared geothermal systems as the most cost-effective and the most environmentally-friendly heating/cooling system on the market today. Geothermal systems boast a reduction of energy bills up to 70%. Geothermal systems have such a positive impact on the environment, that there are state/federal incentives and tax credits available to cover up to 65% of the cost of installation.
So What is This Power? The Power of the Earth!
Even in regions where summers are sweltering and winters are freezing, the below-ground temperature of the earth remains constant at a certain depth. This area of consistent, below-ground earth temperature is where the magic happens. By snaking a series of pipes through this zone, the geothermal heat pump pushes water through the looped piping system, harnessing the constant below-ground temperatures.
So, when it is hot outside, the geothermal system pumps water, chilled by the below-ground temperatures throughout the home, cooling the building and pushing out excess hot air. When it is cold outside, the geothermal system pulls water, warmed by the earth, into the home. This is fossil-fuel-free climate control. Not only is this more “green,” but it also dramatically decreases energy costs.
Where did the Heat Pump Come From?
Humans have been enamored with the power of geothermal heating for ages. We took the rudimentary use of hot springs for warm baths during paleolithic times and developed full geothermal district heating systems by the 1300’s. The idea of industrially harnessing geyser steam heat in the early 1800’s built the foundation for the first conception of the geothermal heat pump by the mid 1800’s. Then, by the 1950’s, the first successful geothermal heat pump was installed.
Since then, geothermal heat pumps have steadily increased in popularity. As the piping systems became more affordable, geothermal heat pumps were appearing worldwide. Today, the US sees the installation of 80,000 heat pumps a year, across all 50 states.
There’s no doubt that a great portion of its popularity today is due to the fact that geothermal heat pumps burn no fossil fuels and emit no greenhouse gasses. The energy costs of a geothermal heat pump are so remarkably low, that the system often pays for the costs of its own installation. Combined with the geothermal heat pump’s adaptability and customizable nature, the geothermal heat pump is charming homeowners around the globe. And, if history is any indicator, we will continue to see the advancement and expansion of geothermal heat pumps in the years to come.
Two Main Kinds of Geothermal Heat Pumps
With a closed-loop geothermal heat pump, an antifreeze solution is circulated through a closed-loop of plastic or copper tubing buried in the ground. A closed-loop system is available in three configurations:
Most popular and cost-effective for homes, the horizontal closed-loop geothermal heat pump consists of two pipes placed either side-by-side five feet below the ground, or staggered at four feet and six feet below the ground.
Most popular for commercial building and schools, the vertical closed-loop geothermal heat pump consists of two pipes vertically drilled into the earth and connected by a u-bend 100-400 feet below the ground.
Most cost-effective when a sufficient body of water is nearby, a pond/lake closed-loop geothermal heat pump consists of pipes run from beneath the home into the body of water and then coiled eight feet deep.
With an open-loop geothermal heat pump, surface water or well water circulates directly through the system, expelled back to the earth via well or run-off.
Should I get a Geothermal Heat Pump?
Professional geothermal contractors have the knowledge and insight to expertly assess your HVAC needs and best assess if you would benefit from the installation of a geothermal heat pump.
Call Presidential Heat and Air at 301-900-5559 for more information. Or, if you are ready to enjoy the benefits of a geothermal heat pump, call now to get a free estimate .