The Properties and Purposes of a Geothermal Heat Pump

What the great majority of people say they like best about a geothermal heating and cooling system is that it has so little in the way of moving parts. There’s just that much less that can go bad– that much less to maintain. And that in and of itself goes a long way toward decreasing the overall energy costs of Western North Carolina homeowners who’ve gone geothermal.

 

That said, the system isn’t free of all moving parts. the bulk of them are found in its most conspicuous component, too: the geothermal heat pump.

This is the engine that drives the system. Its task 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 weather30. That being the case, it’s a furnace and an air conditioner rolled into one discreet package.

Water – or an antifreeze solution – is the medium by which the heat pump transfers heat. This liquid courses through pipe loops buried underground and secured to the heat pump, which is positioned above ground. During heating season the liquid draws heat from the ground, the heat pump draws the warm liquid up into refrigerant coils, and the heat is then is circulated throughout a home by means of either a forced air or a hydronic system. During cooling season the process is reversed: the pump draws heat from your home and transfers it underground by way of those same buried loops. Oh, and somewhere in the process, many geothermal systems also supply domestic hot water.

The basic distinction between a geothermal heat pump and a traditional furnace is that a heat pump doesn’t burn fuel to generate heat. No, indeed, it takes heat that already exists and just moves it around. That naturally makes it a much more efficient heating and cooling system. Bear this in mind, too: underground temperatures almost always hold at around 50º F through the year. The upshot? A geothermal heating and cooling system uses substantially less energy to cool your home than traditional air conditioners.

So … is a geothermal system what’s needed for your Western North Carolina home? Consult with this region’s geothermal specialists, the friendly folks at Bullman Heating & Air.