What is geothermal heating?
Geothermal heating is a method of temperature control by pulling up heat from the ground. The ground deep within the Earth’s crust is warmed by the core and unaffected by weather patterns, which means it stays relatively the same temperature regardless of the season. Because the ground has a steady temperature of about 55 degrees, it costs less energy to convert that into warm or cool air to keep your property comfortable.
The two main kinds of geothermal heating are ground-source heat pumps and radiant heating systems.
How does a ground-source heat pump system work?
A geothermal system is made up of a closed-loop system of pipes installed underneath your home or business. To heat your home, a temperature-conducting fluid (otherwise known as ‘refrigerant’) is transported through these pipes. As the refrigerant moves through the pipes, it collects the heat from the ground and transports it back to the heat pump. Once here, the heat pump distributes the heat throughout your home.
To cool your home, the refrigerant moves through the piping back into the ground, where the naturally cooler core temperature of the Earth cools the fluid. Once the refrigerant cools down, it moves back to the heat pump and into the expansion valve. The expansion valve decreases both the pressure and temperature of the fluid, effectively cooling it. Once the refrigerant is cooled, it moves through the evaporator coil to absorb the heat from inside your home.
The process repeats in either direction until your home reaches the set temperature.
What are the pros and cons of geothermal heating?
- More environmentally-friendly than other heating and cooling systems
Geothermal energy is a renewable resource
Geothermal heating can save you 25-60% on your heating and cooling costs
Fewer moving parts means less maintenance
Geothermal systems can last 25-50 years (depending on the type of system)
More expensive installation costs upfront
Retrofitting an older home requires large scale excavation
Damage to underground loops by tree roots or animals can be expensive to repair