The Fundamental How and Why of a Geothermal Heat Pump

What practically everyone says they like best about a geothermal heating and cooling system is that it has almost no moving parts. There’s just that much less that can go bad– that much less to keep up. And that in itself makes a big difference in reducing the overall energy costs of Green Bay homeowners who’ve gone geothermal.

 

Still, the system isn’t free of all moving parts. the bulk of them are found in its most conspicuous component, too: the geothermal heat pump.

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

The medium by which a heat pump transfers heat is either water or an antifreeze solution. This liquid courses through loops of underground pipes to which the heat pump is attached above ground. During heating season the liquid draws heat from the ground, the heat pump draws the warm liquid up into refrigerant coils, and the heat is then is conveyed throughout a home by way of either a forced air or a hydronic system. During cooling season it runs the other way ’round: the pump draws heat from your home and transfers it to the ground via those same buried loops. Oh, and as an extra perk, many geothermal systems also supply domestic hot water.

The essential difference between a geothermal heat pump and a typical furnace is that a heat pump doesn’t set fuel afire to generate heat. Rather, it takes heat that’s already present and just moves it around. That naturally makes it a much more efficient heating and cooling system. Be aware of this, too: underground temperatures generally remain at around 50º F all year long. And that means? A geothermal heating and cooling system requires considerably less energy to cool your home than regular air conditioners.

So … is a geothermal system right for your Green Bay home? See this region’s geothermal gurus, the cordial gang at Van's Refrigeration.