The Properties and Purposes of a Geothermal Heat Pump

What the great majority of homeowners say they appreciate most 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 get screwed up– that much less to keep up. And that in and of itself goes a long way toward reducing the overall energy costs of Bloomington homeowners who’ve gone geothermal.

 

Of course, there are some moving parts in the system. Most of them are found in its most important component, too: the geothermal heat pump.

This is the engine that drives the system. Its purpose is to transfer heat. And it transfers heat either from the ground into your house or from your house into the ground, depending on seasonal temperatures. That being the case, it’s a furnace and an air conditioner rolled into one discreet package.

What, then, does a heat pump use to transfer heat? Water! Well, that or a solution incorporating antifreeze. This liquid courses through underground loops of pipe that are connected to the above-ground heat pump. During heating season the liquid draws heat from the ground, the heat pump draws the warm liquid up into refrigerant coils, and from there the heat is distributed throughout a home by either a forced air or a hydronic system. During cooling season the exact opposite happens: the pump draws heat from your home and transfers it underground by way of those same buried loops. Oh, and somewhere in the process, various geothermal systems also supply domestic hot water.

The essential difference between a geothermal heat pump and a conventional 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. Be aware of this, too: underground temperatures almost always hold at around 50º F through the year. The upshot? A geothermal heating and cooling system requires substantially less energy to cool your home than typical air conditioners.

So … is a geothermal system right for your Bloomington home? See this region’s geothermal specialists, the helpful folks at Quality HVAC.