The Basic Properties and Purposes of a Geothermal Heat Pump

One of the most unexpected things about a geothermal heating and cooling system is that it has almost no moving parts. There’s just that much less that can get screwed up– that much less needing maintenance. And that by itself makes a huge difference in decreasing the overall energy costs of Rochester homeowners who’ve gone geothermal.

 

Still, the system isn’t totally devoid of moving parts. Most of them are found in its most conspicuous component, too: the geothermal heat pump.

This is the system’s powerplant. Its job is to transfer heat. And it transfers heat either from the ground into your house or from your house into the ground, depending on the climate30. As such, it’s a furnace and an air conditioner united in one compact package.

Water – or an antifreeze solution – is the medium by which the heat pump transfers heat. This liquid flows through underground loops of pipe that are attached to the above-ground heat pump. During heating season the liquid draws heat from the ground, the heat pump draws the warm liquid up into refrigerant coils, and from there the heat is distributed throughout a home by either a forced air or a hydronic system. During cooling season it runs the other way ’round: the pump draws heat from your home and transfers it to the earth through those same buried loops. Oh, and somewhere along the way, various geothermal systems also produce domestic hot water.

The basic distinction between a geothermal heat pump and a standard furnace is that a heat pump doesn’t burn fuel to generate heat. Rather, it takes heat that already exists and just moves it around. That naturally makes it a much more efficient heating and cooling system. Be aware of this, too: underground temperatures most often stay at around 50º F all year long. Result? A geothermal heating and cooling system uses considerably less energy to cool your home than typical air conditioners.

So … is a geothermal system the answer for your Rochester home? Speak with this region’s geothermal gurus, the helpful gang at Earth Energy Heating & Cooling Inc..