The Basic Science of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

A good many people here in Bloomington, Indiana, have engaged Quality HVAC to upgrade their homes to geothermal homes. Still suspicious of geothermal heating and cooling yourself? Comprehending something of the science behind it – and the mechanics as well – would undoubtedly help.

We’ve discusseded elsewhere the advantages of geothermal heating and cooling. It’s enough to say here that almost no other methods of maintaining apleasant home environment throughout the year are as efficient, reliable, or economical, especially when you consider the energy savings.

Here’s how geothermal makes that a reality.

Thar’s Gold Heat in Them Thar Hills!

We mine the earth for precious metals. We drill the earth for oil. Now, more than ever, we’re tapping the earth for something undoubtedly just as valuable to many of us: the energy to heat and cool our homes that doesn’t call for oil.

You see, close beneath the earth’s crust – no more than 33,000 feet under our feet – is a layer of magma. This is a molten and semi-molten mixture, principally of silicates, in which temperatures run from 1300 degrees Fahrenheit to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit and hotter the deeper you go (not that you’d want to go there!). What this does is keep the ground immediately under the earth’s surface at a reasonably consistent year-round temperature of between 45 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Meaning? Underground temperatures in Bloomington (and pretty much everywhere stateside, as it were) are warmer than the ambient air above ground in Winter and cooler than the ambient air above ground in Summer.

Time to Get Pumped!

The function, then, of a geothermal heating and cooling system is to|Underground temperatures being what they are, then, it’s the purpose of a geothermal heating and cooling system to transfer heat from the ground  to your home or heat from your home to the ground, as the season dictates. Either way, your home remains at an optimal temperature to keep you and your family in comfort throughout the year.

The appiance that performs the transfer is a geothermal heat pump. It continuously circulates water or some solution (usually antifreeze) between your home and loops of pipe (usually fashioned of polyethylene, high-density polyethylene, PVC, or CPVC) installed in the ground. In Winter, the liquid is cold when it enters the ground. As it courses through the loops, it sucks up heat from the earth and is reintroduced to your home warm. In Summer, the process is reversed: warm liquid enters the loops, where it’s cooled by the cooler ground temperatures before it’s returned to your home. Need details? You’ll find more thorough information on ground loops here.

The salient point is that geothermal heating and cooling systems don’t produce energy. They don’t work like central heating systems, which generate heat themselves. Instead, geothermal systems heat and cool your home by making use of the energy already amply available beneath the earth’s surface. That’s why geothermal systems not only run quieter but also are much more reliable, need less maintenance, have much longer lifespans, and are more environmentally friendly than standard HVACs. That’s also why, in the end, you’ll save a great deal more more money by going geothermal.

Curious now? Talk with Quality HVAC, your Bloomington geothermal heating and cooling specialist, today.