Geothermal Heat Pumps
What Is Geothermal Energy?
Geothermal energy is the heat from the earth. It can be found almost anywhere, including Michigan.
Geothermal heating capitalizes on the fact that temperatures in the earth remain fairly constant when digging just a few feet below the surface. Whether you live somewhere where temperatures fluctuate or somewhere with a more constant temperature, the temperature below the surface stays relatively the same.
How Does That Energy Exchange Work?
The upper part of the earth’s crust, roughly the first 10 feet of ground, can maintain a temperature between about 50°F and 60°F. Geothermal heat pumps, also known as ground-source heat pumps (GSHP), can use this energy to heat and cool buildings while using less energy than a typical HVAC system. This type of energy is a viable heating-and-cooling option for a myriad of climates, since the earth’s temperature remains steady.
Geothermal heat pumps do not create their own heat, as they do not burn fossil fuels. Instead they transfer heat from one location to another. In this case, from the earth to your home and back out.
For instance, during the cooler months, the geothermal heat pump extracts heat from the ground and transfers it inside to warm your home. Then the reverse happens in the warmer months. It takes the warm air from inside and dispatches it out to the cooler earth.
Because these pumps harness the earth’s available energy, they can save you anywhere from 30 to 70 percent on your energy bill over the next five to 10 years. Say it’s 5°F one night during the winter, and you have the thermostat set for a cozy 72°F in your home. It takes a lot less energy to reach your desired temperature if the starting point is 55°F (the ground temperature) using a geothermal heat pump.
How Does the Geothermal Heat Pump Work?
Geothermal HVAC systems use a series of equipment and piping to transfer the earth’s energy to and from your home. This heat transfer is conducted via the heat pump’s outdoor ground heat exchanger, one of two main elements to the geothermal heat pump. The other element is the heat pump unit itself.
A ground heat exchanger is the series of pipes called the loop, which is buried in the ground either vertically or horizontally, depending on the geography of the area. With these systems, the pipes are either considered a closed-loop or open-loop system.
The majority of the systems we install are closed-loop systems, meaning the loop utilizes fluid (usually water mixed with environmentally friendly antifreeze) that circulates through the pipes to absorb and dispel the heat from the ground. This heat is then extracted by the heat pump unit and delivered in or out of your living space using a conventional ductwork air-delivery system.
An open-loop system differs from the closed loop in that the open loop connects directly to a water source like ground water or a pond. It uses this water in the system for heating and cooling.
So Many Advantages . . .
There are plenty of advantages to installing a geothermal heat pump rather than a more traditional heating-and-cooling system:
- Versatility—This heat pump can both heat and cool a building. It can even be equipped to provide hot water. And as far as installation goes, our professionals can install geothermal heat pumps in either a new construction home or a current one, also in most climates due to the below-surface constant temperature.
- Low maintenance—With the majority of the system’s hardware residing underground, maintenance is very low.
- Long life—This system typically has a lifespan of more than 20 years, if properly maintained.
- Energy efficient—According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this is the most energy-efficient heating-and-cooling system out there.
- Environmentally friendly—Since this system is not creating its own heat via burning fossil fuels, and only transfers heat from one location to another, it is extremely environmentally friendly. Additionally, this system uses the least amount of electricity, reduces air and water pollution, and produces the fewest emissions. It’s safe for the environment as well as your home. It also provides the most stable comfort level, with more efficient humidity control and less noise.
Call Us to Discuss Geothermal Heat Pumps
If you have any questions about geothermal heat pumps or would like to talk with one of our professionals about one, call our ESI Heating specialists today at 517-647-6906.