The Basics of Geothermal Heating Systems

September 4, 2014

What would you say to an HVAC system that doesn’t take up space in your home, will keep your home comfortable all year round, uses very little electricity and has been around for over sixty years? Most people wouldn’t be able to name such a system. Even fewer would think something like this exists. Yet many custom homeowners are enjoying geothermal HVAC. Here are the basics of geothermal heating systems:

What is a Geothermal Heating System?

Geothermal HVAC uses the steady ground temperature to heat your home during the winter, cool your home during the summer, and provide hot water for daily uses. While outdoor weather temperatures fluctuate constantly, underground temperatures will stay a normal temperature from 45-degrees Fahrenheit to 75-degrees Fahrenheit depending on your latitude.

Geothermal HVAC systems consist of a heat pump and a loop system (closed-loop or open loop). The heat pump and adjoining ductwork become placed inside your home while the loop system is filled with water or an antifreeze solution and buried underground. Some geothermal systems can also be placed in water such as a pond or lake, or where there is a natural aquifer.

How Does The Geothermal HVAC System Work?

Geothermal heat pumps work like regular heat pumps, using high-pressure refrigerant to capture and move heat between the indoor area and the outdoor area. However, while your normal heating system gets its heat – or gets rid of its heat – from the outside air, geothermal heating systems transfer heat through its system which is buried in the ground. If you go deep enough, after all, the earth’s temperature is a steady 50 degrees, regardless of the temperature on the surface. Thus, you always have a way to pull heat into your home or dump it into the earth.

When you want to cool your home during the summer, the geothermal HVAC system draws the heat out of the rooms. It will disperse the heat into the ground or use the hot air to heat the water in your hot water tank (based on the system you have). When you want to heat your home during the winter, the underground loops absorb heat from the ground into the water or antifreeze mixture. Then the indoor heat pump compresses the heat to an even higher temperature to disperse it through ductwork in your home.

Geothermal systems are useful and in many ways superior to their more common counterparts for a number of reasons. They do not produce noxious fumes and generally speaking, your home will smell fresher and cleaner for not having to deal with the chemicals that most heating and cooling systems entail. You will not have the noise pollution that often accompanies more complex environmental temperature control systems, either. Instead, you’re free to enjoy your comfortable, temperature-controlled home without any of these inconveniences.

Custom Homes Taking Advantage of Geothermal Heating Systems

When installed correctly by a qualified contractor and HVAC installer, these geothermal heating and cooling systems can last a lifetime. The HVAC system uses very little electricity to operate the heat pump, runs quietly, requires little maintenance and emits no greenhouse gases. For people interested in building a new home and have the sufficient amount of land, getting a geothermal HVAC system should be considered. You will be making a cost-effective choice while enjoying a more controlled air temperature inside your home no matter what the temperature is outside.