Did You Know…
About 6 million people in the U.S. get their household energy through geothermal technology? Half of these, about 3 million, receive electricity from geothermal power plants, and the other half use geothermal heat pumps to provide their heating and cooling needs. Source: Geothermal Energy Association.
What Is A Geothermal Heat Pump?
A geothermal or “ground-source” heat pump (GSHP) is an electrically powered system that taps the energy stored in the earth. A GSHP system uses the earth’s relatively constant temperature and/or the earth’s ground water to provide heating, cooling, and hot water for homes and businesses.
GSPH’s are 3.5 - 5 times as efficient as the most efficient fossil fuel furnace. Instead of burning a combustible fuel to generate heat, they simply move heat that already exists. By doing so, they provide 3.5 - 5 units of energy for every unit used to power the heat-pump system.
How Does Geothermal Heating And Cooling Work?
The outdoor temperature fluctuates with the seasons. However, the underground temperature remains at a relatively moderate and constant temperature under the frost line. The frost line is the point underground at which the temperature maintains above 32 degrees. Typically, the frost line is three feet or more under the surface.
You can use the earth to heat and cool your home by creating an earth loop of piping under the frost line. In the winter, this loop carries natural heat from the underground to an indoor unit (GSHP). Once the heat is transferred to the GSHP, the energy of the heat particles are compressed (which increases the heat content) and distributed throughout the ductwork in your home.
In the summertime, the opposite happens. The effect of cooling is achieved when heat is removed. Many have the misconception that air is cooled, but actually heat is removed from the air resulting in a cooler temperature. In the geothermal process, heat from your home is absorbed by the GSHP and transferred back to the earth. If additional air conditioning is needed, the compressor in the GSHP will supplement the heat transfer, thereby maintaining lower temperatures in your home.
This concept has been around for many years. However, the current technology now provides a virtually maintenance free and low operating cost comfort system that taps the earth’s resources to heat and cool your home efficiently and easily.
Earth loops that do the heat transfer can be categorized as having closed or open loops. These loops can be installed three ways: horizontal, vertical, or in a pond/lake. The type chosen depends on the available land area and the soil and rock type at the installation site. These factors will help determine the most economical choice for installation of the ground loop. Comfort Solutions does not recommend open loops because they are susceptible to debris and higher maintenance.
Is Geothermal The Right Solution For You?
Geothermal installations generally cost more than a conventional furnace or heat pump system installation; however a geothermal system will operate at a fraction of the cost. When deciding whether geothermal is right for you, consider the following:
- Planning to build a new home. Geothermal should be a priority consideration…..even before picking the kitchen counters.
- Your current heating and cooling system needs to be replaced and you have no plans of moving. Geothermal should be considered.
- Your current heating and cooling system needs to be replaced and you are planning to sell your home. You would be doing your part for the environment, but you may not receive return on your investment. In this situation, you may want to consider replacing the existing system with a high efficiency system replacement.
Depending on your particular scenario, Comfort Solutions will offer you the most honest and accurate information available to help you make an informed decision. Comfort Solutions can actually calculate the annual operating cost of a geothermal system and compare it to the operating cost of your existing system.
Although we would like to see all homeowners and businesses choose geothermal to lower their heating and cooling operating cost and to preserve the environment, geothermal may not always be the best solution.
Why call us?
Comfort Solutions has taken the initiative to invest in the proper geothermal training and is certified through the Carrier Corporation Geothermal Training Program. Our integrity and expertise will help you make an informed decision as to whether geothermal is the most viable option for you. If it is, we will take care of all of your geothermal needs, from design to completion.
When it comes to Geothermal in Alexandria, Arlington, McLean, Fairfax, and all surrounding areas, we have you covered.