Geothermal HVAC systems are up to 600% more efficient than traditional HVAC systems. They produce up to 4.5 units of heating or cooling energy for every unit of energy consumed. Geothermal systems in Quitman, GA, use the ground as a heat sink in summer and a heat source in winter. Read on to learn more.
What are Geothermal Heat Pumps?
The internal heat below the ground remains constant throughout summer and winter. This natural ground temperature is generally cooler than the natural air temperature in summer and hotter than the winter temperature. The systems use the ground as a heat sink in summer and a heat source in winter.
Geothermal heat pumps use a heat exchanger to move heat from the ground to your home or from your home to the ground. The heat exchanger refers to a system of underground pipes with a refrigerant or water. Instead of using electrical energy to generate heat for your home, the system leverages the constant heat a few feet below the ground and only requires electricity to power the heat pump.
How Geothermal Heat Pumps Differ From ASHPs
While geothermal heat pumps use the heat from the ground, air-source heat pumps (ASHPs) use the air outside your home to heat or cool it. Most geothermal heat pumps come with two-speed compressors with variable motors for added comfort. They are also quieter than ASHPs, last longer and need little to no maintenance.
There are dual-source heat pumps that combine a geothermal heat pump with an ASHP. The dual systems are more efficient than ASHPs and more affordable than geothermal heat pumps.
Closed-loop geothermal systems come in three main types that transmit heat to and from the ground. The type you choose will depend on the climate, available land, soil conditions and cost of installation.
Closed-loop systems can be horizontal, vertical or pond/lake. In horizontal systems, the pipes are horizontal with trenches up to four feet deep. These are ideal where enough space is available.
Vertical systems are ideal where enough horizontal space isn’t available or burying horizontal loops isn’t possible. These systems use less land and minimize disturbance in the existing landscape, but they’re more expensive than horizontal systems.
Pond/lake systems are ideal where there’s a body of water. Here, the pipes run underwater (at least 8 feet below the water surface) where they coil into circles. A professional should check the water source to ensure it meets the quality, volume and depth requirements.
Open systems use surface or well water as the heat exchange fluid. The fluid flows through the heat pump, distributing heat to and from your home. After complete circulation through the system, the water flows back to the ground through a recharge well or a surface discharge.
This system requires an adequate supply of clean water. You also need to meet the codes and regulations on groundwater discharge in your area.
Energy Efficiency and Effectiveness
Geothermal heat pumps can last for more than 20 years. The pumps can move up to five times the amount of energy used to power them between the ground and your home. Energy Star-certified geothermal pumps are up to 45% more efficient than conventional systems.
Installing a Geothermal Heat Pump
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the building function determines the energy savings you get from geothermal systems. Buildings maintained between 68°F and 78°F for 40 hours every week will benefit the most from geothermal heat pumps.
Consider if the geothermal system can fit into existing air ducts. A professional can help evaluate whether your home’s HVAC system is compatible with a new geothermal heat pump. They can also evaluate the type of soil to determine how well heat transfers and how much loop piping you’ll need for efficient heat transfers. Because installation involves digging, the surrounding landscape determines how long the installation will take.
As you now know, installing a geothermal heat pump requires several decisions for which you need professional guidance. Call Waller Heating & Air Conditioning for an assessment of your land and installation of your geothermal HVAC System.
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