How Geothermal Works
Fundamentally, geothermal systems work differently than ordinary heating and cooling systems. Conventional systems have to produce heat by burning some type of fuel, typically propane, natural gas or fuel oil.
Geothermal systems donít create heat; instead they collect and distribute it. First, you should realize that the earth absorbs and stores nearly half of the sunís solar energy. As a result, at a depth of six feet it maintains a fairly constant temperature of 45 to 70 degrees F.
The geothermal system taps into that free, renewable energy and puts it to work. Your own backyard has the potential to be an energy source for heating and cooling comfort. Outdoor air temperatures fluctuate throughout the year with the changing seasons. In contrast, ground temperatures about four to six feet below the Earth's surface remain relatively moderate and constant all year. That's because the Earth absorbs 47% of all the heat energy that reaches its surface from the sun.
A geothermal system circulates a water-based solution through a buried loop system to take advantage of these constant temperatures. A single piece of equipment has the ability to heat and cool your home, while providing some or all of your home's hot water as well. Geothermal systems can save you 30% to 70% on your monthly utility bills.
During the heating cycle, the earthís natural heat is collected in the winter by a series of pipes called a loop system. The fluid circulates through the loop extracting heat from the ground. The heat energy is transferred to the geothermal unit. The unit compresses the extracted heat to a high temperature and delivers it to your home through a normal duct system or radiant heat system.
For cooling, in the summer, the process is simply reversed. Because the earth is much cooler than the air temperatures on a hot day, the geothermal system removes heat from the home and deposits it into the ground. The fluid is cooled by the ground temperatures and returned to the unit for cooling your home.The result is a comfortable home all year round.
The Heart of the System: Geothermal Loops
Your loop system is the heart of geothermal technology. Regardless of the option you select, it will deliver over 300% efficient comfort and savings for many years into the future. Your local geothermal dealer will help you select the proper loop system based on a site survey and by conducting a detailed energy analysis of your home. Installing a geothermal loop system is like getting a 70% discount on energy for the life of your home.
Since most of the energy used for heating and cooling is free from the earth, geothermal systems are the most efficient and environmentally friendly systems on the market today.