When building a home, there are several ways to cover your heating and cooling needs. Gas, electric-powered ACs, and furnaces are some of the popular options. However, there is another eco-friendly solution just under your feet. This is the arena for geothermal energy, a reliable and effective source of energy that has been in existence for over 80 years.
Okay, before you plunge into confusion about this, let us help you out. In this article, we will break down everything pertaining to the world of geothermal heating and cooling. Doing so will help you navigate through it with ease.
What is Geothermal Heating and Cooling?
Geothermal cooling and heating is a process by which heat is exchanged from the ground using GSHP. GHSP- Ground Source Heat Pump is a unit that drives a heat exchange fluid from the ground to the house.
The system takes advantage of the fact that the ground is relatively warm, just 5 feet from the surface. Therefore, during winter, the system exchanges warm underground heat with cool surface air allowing you to heat your home. The same happens when it is very hot, that is, during summer. The only difference is that during this time, the pump and heat exchanger fluid come together to cool down your house.
So, depending on the season, the ground can be a heat source or a heat sink. We will be talking about this later on in detail.
How Does Geothermal Heating and Cooling Work?
As we have just said earlier, a geothermal system works by transferring underground heat/coolness to your home. It achieves this through a series of pipes connected to a pump and filled with liquid. The pipes form part of a distribution or geothermal loop.
The pipes in this loop are found in two key areas. The first series of pipes are located under the floor or walls of your home. The other group of pipes is sunk deep underground. Each of these sets functions in a relatively similar manner.
For the unit to work, the pressurized fluid must flow through the pipes thanks to the force generated by the pump. During summer, the fluid in the pipes will absorb heat. As it flows underground, it is cooled in the geothermal loop. Once that happens, it is pumped back to the upper side of the distribution loop. After a few minutes, the air around cools down. This process subsequently lowers your home’s temperature.
During winter, the opposite happens. Instead of the fluid cooling your home, it will raise its temperature. Here is how it works; as the cold fluid from the distribution loop flows underground, it is heated up. The warm fluid then recirculates to the upper side warming up your home.
Geothermal Heating and Cooling Pros and Cons
Like any other home installation system, a geothermal HVAC system has its pros and cons. Here are some of them;
Sustainable Mode of Regulating Temperature
There are several ways of heating your home. Some of them involve the use of fossil fuel, peat, or even firewood. All these sources of heat have a fair share when it comes to environmental pollution.
A geothermal heating and cooling system, on the other hand, is sustainable. By using it, you are just taking advantage of the stable ground temperature. As such, no harmful gases or toxic wastes are released into the environment.
It is a Reliable Source of Heat
During blizzards in winter, at times, there may be electricity outages. If you rely on an electrically powered heating system, then you will definitely be doomed.
The good thing with geothermal heat pumps is that it does not matter how hard the blizzards are hitting; the unit will continue to operate. This, therefore, means that you can completely rely on it, “day in, day out.”
Geothermal Heat is Simple, Fast and Effective
An impressive aspect of a geothermal heating system is how it works. It uses simple heat contacting pipes and a mere heat pump. Once the pump is switched on, the underground heat transfer begins right away and is strongly felt throughout the house.
High Upfront Cost
Installing a geothermal heating unit is quite costly. This is because you need to cater for a number of things such as utilities, drilling, and wages, among others.
Requires the Skills of Experts
Some people love the idea of fixing things on their own or perhaps putting in place items without needing help from others. Now, this is a “bummer” to such people since installing geothermal HVAC requires the services of experts. This is because they possess the right skills to install the system and ensure it works seamlessly.
How Long Does Geothermal Heating and Cooling Last?
A properly installed geothermal heating and cooling unit can last you for over two decades. We say this because the pump’s operational lifespan is said to range between 20 and 30 years. In contrast, the underground connection is expected to serve you for at least 50 years. After that, you will need to do some repairs or probably total replacement of the unit.
The primary reason behind a geothermal unit’s extended lifetime is that it is well protected from several destructive elements. In essence, the underground pipes are blanketed by a thick layer of soil that does not corrode them. They are also not affected by the extreme heat and cold in summer and winter, respectively. This, therefore, means that they can last for long without being forcefully expanded or contracted to breaking point.
The distribution unit is also safely tucked inside the wall away from these elements. It, too, will last for up to five decades, provided your home lives for that long.
Is Geothermal Heating and Cooling Worth It?
Geothermal heating and cooling for homes are indeed worth it. The units are efficient, effective, and reliable. You can use it anywhere you want, provided there is soil to lay underground pipes.
Furthermore, if you are close to water bodies, the unit comes with other advantages. Instead of digging over 400 feet of trenches, you can simply lay the pipes under the water. Just 12 feet below the surface of the water, and you are good to go.
When it comes to efficiency, geothermal installations are second to none. Experts say they work over 399% better than traditional furnaces and other units. Being also a renewable source of heat, it is environmentally friendly.
I know you are troubled about the high installation fees. However, that is just a one-time thing. Also, the investment will be worth it in the long run. From a mathematical perspective, a geothermal unit consumes up to 50% less power than ACs. With the reduced cost of power, you will be able to save a lot.
Geothermal heating and cooling systems are fantastic additions to your home. They do not pollute the environment, and the units consume less power. Furthermore, they are highly effective. Above all, a geothermal HVAC is highly reliable as it is believed to serve its users for decades.
If you would like to get one installed but feel stuck as you have just read that the process requires skilled individuals, worry no more. Water well drilling okc is a licensed and certified firm providing geothermal drilling service and we are endowed with talented employees who can comfortably install a geothermal heating and cooling system for you. Call us today, and we will sort you out.