Geothermal works differently than conventional heat pumps that use the outdoor air as their heat source or heat sink.
Geothermal systems don’t have to work as hard (which means they use less energy) because they draw heat from a source whose temperature is moderate. The temperature of the ground or groundwater a few feet beneath the Earth’s surface remains relatively constant throughout the year, even though the outdoor air temperature may fluctuate greatly with the change of seasons.
At a depth of approximately six feet, for example, the temperature of soil in most of the world’s regions remains stable between 45 degrees F and 70 degrees F. This is why well water drawn from below ground tastes so cool even on the hottest summer days.
In winter, it’s much easier to capture heat from the soil at a moderate 50 degrees F than from the atmosphere when the air temperature is below zero. This is also why Geothermal systems encounter no difficulty blowing comfortable warm air through a home’s ventilation system, even when the outdoor air temperature is extremely cold. Conversely in summer, the relatively cool ground absorbs a home’s waste heat more readily than the warm outdoor air.
Studies show that approximately 70 percent of the energy used in a Geothermal heating and cooling system is renewable energy from the ground. The remainder is clean, electrical energy which is employed to concentrate heat and transport it from one location to another. In winter, the ground soaks up solar energy and provides a barrier to cold air. In summer, the ground heats up more slowly than the outside air.
Geothermal systems can also provide all or part of a household’s hot water.
This can be highly economical, especially if the home already has a Geothermal system, hence a ground loop, in place.
One economical way to obtain a portion of domestic hot water is through the addition of a desuperheater to the Geothermal unit. A desuperheater is a small, auxiliary heat exchanger that uses superheated gases from the heat pump’s compressor to heat water. This hot water then circulates through a pipe to the home’s water heater tank. In summer, when the Geothermal system is in the cooling mode, the desuperheater merely uses excess heat that would otherwise be expelled to the loop. When the Geothermal unit is running frequently, homeowners can obtain all of their hot water in this manner virtually for free. A conventional water heater meets household hot water needs in winter if the desuperheater isn’t producing enough, and in spring and fall when the Geothermal system may not be operating at all.
Because Geothermal systems heat water so efficiently, many manufacturers today are also offering triple function Geothermal systems. Triple function systems provide heating, cooling and hot water. They use a separate heat exchanger to meet all of a household’s hot water needs.
Call Us Today: 713-666-1101