Geothermal Heat Pump Systems
How Does Geothermal Heating Work?
If you're planning to build a new house, office building, or school,
or replace your heating and cooling system, you may want to consider a geothermal heat pump (GHP) system.
Geothermal heat pump systems are also known as GeoExchangeSM, ground-source, water-source heat pumps (as opposed
to air-source heat pumps), earth-coupled heat pump, heat pump ground-source, or ground-coupled heat pump.
Regardless of what you call them, energy-efficient geothermal heat pumps are available today for both residential
and commercial building applications.
Geothermal Heat Pumps
Geothermal Heat Pumps (GHP's) have been supplying homes and businesses with high efficiency heating
and cooling for nearly 20 years.
Did you know? The average life span of a geothermal heat pump is 22 years. That's a long
Geothermal heat pumps save money, reduce emissions, and are cost effective in replacing conventional
heating and cooling technologies.
A geothermal heat pump system can be installed in virtually any area of the country
and will save energy and money. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), GeoExchange systems are
the most energy efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective space conditioning systems
available (source: "Space Conditioning: The Next Frontier," EPA 430-R-93-004, April 1993).
While residential geothermal heat pump systems are usually more expensive initially to install
than other heating and cooling systems, their greater efficiency means the investment can be recouped in two to
seven years. After that, energy and maintenance costs are much less than conventional heating and air-conditioning
When geothermal heat pump systems are installed in commercial buildings, the state-of-the-art
designs are extremely competitive on upfront costs when compared with cooling towers and boilers, and they have
lower energy and maintenance costs.
In addition to their cost effectiveness, geothermal heat pump systems offer aesthetic advantages,
quiet operation, free or reduced-cost hot water, improved comfort, and a host of other benefits.
In winter, fluid is circulated through pipes in the ground and draws
radiant heat stored in the earth. The system removes this heat
and compresses it to a higher temperature and distributes it throughout a building.
In the summer, the system extracts heat and humidity from the building
and transfers it back to the cooler earth.
Geothermal Vertical Loop Design
Geothermal operates efficiently because the
energy source, the sun, has already created the energy and stored it in the earth. Geothermal heat pumps may be
referred to as geothermal energy pumps, ground-coupled heat pumps, and ground-source cooling geothermal.
Renewable Geothermal Energy
geothermal energy renewable? Geothermal is nothing more
than absorbed solar energy, which is a renewable energy source. The earth absorbs about 50% of the sun's
energy that reaches the earth's surface.
In physics, there are two types of energy:
potential and kinetic. Let's think of a loaded spring. When the spring is stretched, it has potential energy (no
movement). When the spring is released, it has kinetic (moving) energy. Solar energy in the earth is potential
energy waiting to be used.
and Reliable Energy
geothermal heat pump is four to five times more efficient in fuel
conversion than a gas furnace. One benefit of the super efficiency is a longer lifespan of the
equipment. The lifespan of geothermal units is estimated to be 22 years by the U.S. Department of
Energy. I have had geothermal in my own home for 17 years. The most energy-efficient central heat and air and the
highest-rated HVAC units are by far geothermal heating and cooling systems.
For both residential and commercial buildings, there are three ways to
put geothermal energy sources to use:
Horizontal loops are sometimes used where adequate land is available for underground loops that
range from 100 feet to 500 feet in length.
- Vertical Loops –
Vertical loops are ideal when land surface is limited.
Vertical holes (about 6 inches in diameter) are drilled to depths ranging from 100 feet to
Vertical loops are almost always used in a neighborhood setting.
nd Loops – Pond loops are a very economical alternative when a
body of water is nearby.
The pipes are placed along the bottom of the lake.
The success of a geothermal heat pump or geothermal energy pump is directly
related to the quality of the geothermal
heating and cooling installation. DO NOT let any company install your geothermal system that does
not have adequate experience. Always ask for references.
If you have trouble finding an installer in your area, please give me a call at 501-653-7931, and
I will be happy to help you. Carrier, Trane, and Water Furnace are major manufacturers of geothermal equipment.
Manufacturers use software programs that give you accurate geothermal operation costs; however, the software I use
when sizing your system calculates both accurate geothermal operational costs and geothermal residence
Geothermal as an investment
How much does it cost to install
geothermal heating and cooling? As a general rule, installing geothermal will cost about $3,000 more
per ton than an air-to-air heat pump. Don't say, “Yikes, $3,000 per ton!” Think about this: Let's say your house
requires a two-ton air-to-air heat pump. It will cost roughly $6,000 more to install geothermal than to install
a less efficient system. If you add the $6,000 to your thirty-year mortgage, your payment increases around
Geothermal heating and cooling, could
$60 a month and much more in some cases, for the rest of your life, not to mention
almost zero maintenance, an average 22-year life span, and a percentage of FREE hot water. You actually make money every month. Take a moment and
calculate how much you can save at $60 a month for 22 years: almost $16,000, on your $6,000 investment, and you’ll
probably save even more.
You can have the best and pay less!
A geothermal heat pump that utilizes a closed loop system has many benefits and NO
risk or environmental downside. In a closed loop system, the heat pump compressor is inside you
r home or crawlspace, and water is circulated through the pipes connected to the compressor. You
have NO outdoor equipment. Not only can an energy efficient home save you a lot of money, but it can also save
Are you building a home and looking for a custom, energy efficient house plan? Visit my home
design site at www.rye-homes.com for more information.
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