Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems
What if. . . there were an abundant source of free, renewable energy that could be used to heat your house in the winter, cool it in the summer and provide hot water all year round?
Well a growing number of homeowners say there is. . . and it's powered by the sun. While you may be picturing solar panels, these homeowners are actually talking about geothermal. If you're a typical homeowner, almost two-thirds of your total energy bill is for heating, cooling and hot water. The rest is for lighting, appliances and other usage. That means the biggest opportunity to save money on your energy bill is to increase the efficiency of your heating, cooling and hot water system.
A geothermal heat pump taps into the renewable solar energy stored in the ground to provide savings of up to seventy percent on utility bills. Although it operates similarly to a standard heat pump, a geothermal heat pump exchanges heat with the earth instead of the outdoor air. Outdoor air temperatures can vary greatly from day to night or from winter to summer, while the temperature just a few feet below the earth’s surface stays an average fifty five degrees to seventy degrees Fahrenheit year-round.
To see why that's so important, let's look at traditional conditioning systems. In order to cool your home an ordinary system collects indoor heat and expels it outside. Unfortunately summer temperatures can easily hit ninety or one hundred degrees which means outside air is already filled with heat and is less willing to accept more. The exchange process becomes harder and harder. The result is that an ordinary heat pump or air conditioner becomes least efficient exactly when you need it to be the most efficient.
A geothermal unit never sees hot summer air. It collects heat from your home and moves it to the much cooler 55° earth. It doesn’t matter how much outdoor conditions fluctuate; the ground remains relatively constant. Thanks to the constant temperature of the earth, a geothermal heat pump is more than twice as efficient at cooling than any regular heat pump or air conditioner.
To warm your home, an ordinary heat pump reverses to collect outdoor heat from the air and move it indoors. Unfortunately, as winter temperatures drop, there’s less and less available heat to collect. Again, the exchange process becomes harder and the heat pump becomes least efficient at exactly the time you need it to be the most efficient. A geothermal unit never sees cold winter air. It draws from a reservoir of much warmer 55° temperatures, concentrates it, and moves it to your home.
And unlike a traditional furnace which returns less than 96¢ of heat for each dollar spent burning expensive, polluting fossil fuel - a geothermal heat pump returns up to Five dollars of heat for each dollar spent on electricity. That’s because unlike a furnace, a geothermal heat pump doesn’t create heat through combustion - it simply collects and moves it.
Now that you know the benefits of using the earth, let’s look at how it’s accomplished. A geothermal system uses of series of underground pipes called a “loop.” The earth loop eliminates the need for fossil fuels. It’s the heart of a geothermal system, and its biggest advantage over ordinary heating and cooling technologies.
Closed loop systems circulate a water based solution through a collection of small diameter, high density polyethylene underground pipes. There are three main types of closed loop systems. Where space is limited, vertical loops are used. Well drilling equipment is used to bore small-diameter holes, one hundred to four hundred feet deep. Horizontal loops are generally preferred where more space is available. Pipes are placed in trenches that range in length from 100 to 400 feet. If a nearby body of water is available it can be utilized for a pond loop. Coils of pipe are simply placed on the bottom of the pond or lake to capture the geothermal energy.
Open-loop systems are an option if water is plentiful and low in minerals. These systems use groundwater from a well as a direct energy source. WaterFurnace dealers and loop installers are trained to design the best loop system for a particular home to ensure optimum performance. You’ve learned that a WaterFurnace system lowers bills dramatically using the stored solar energy in the ground. You’ve also learned how the system works. Now let's look at it's other benefits.
WaterFurnace geothermal systems are recognized by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as the most environmentally friendly, cost-effective and energy-efficient heating and cooling technology available. Geothermal heat pumps help electric utilities achieve significant reductions in their peak demand loads. By reducing the demand on electric utilities, geothermal systems reduce the need for new power plants which typically are powered by coal or natural gas. Compared to an electric resistance heating system, a typical 2,500-square-foot home with a geothermal system can save the electric utility company more than nine tons of coal a year.
These systems also minimize the threats of acid rain, air pollution, the greenhouse effect and global warming problems directly linked to the burning of fossil fuels. In fact installing a single geothermal unit is the environmental equivalent of planting seven hundred fifty trees or removing to cars from the road.
As you can see there are many reasons to switch to a WaterFurnace geothermal heat pump. It's the most efficient conditioning system available. It's environmentally friendly. It has the longest life span... and it provides quiet comfort. That's why we call it smart from the ground up! For additional information about the benefits of a geothermal heating and cooling system visit EarthRiverGeo.com or request a complementary geothermal heat pump installation estimate.