Geothermal Heat Pumps Keep The Home Warm And Cool All Year Round

Geothermal heat pumps are a very clean renewable energy adaptation. First patented in Switzerland in 1912, they are now increasingly adopted, particularly in the USA, Canada, and Europe.

They cool or heat air space in residential or commercial buildings or can be used for underfloor heating.

They're also known as ground source heat pumps, geoexchange systems or earth energy systems (EES).

Click here to download a guide explaining how you can install a geo heat pump yourself.

Geothermal Heat Pump Benefits Include

  • Reduced heating costs up to 70% compared to electric furnaces
  • Cooling efficiency improvement of around 25%
  • Low maintenance, simple technology
  • Proven life of 20 years or more/li>
  • Cheap to run after start-up cost
  • Available everywhere
  • No emissions
  • Reduced energy demand
  • How Does Geothermal Energy Work With A Heat Pump?

    A geothermal heat pump works by using the stable temperatures found underground (ground source) or in ground water.

    Some geothermal systems even use city sewerage and drinking water infrastructure to tap their heat for use above ground. Talk about "clean energy" being a relative concept! (Of course you'd only get the sewerage HEAT, the rest stays down there ...).

    Have you ever visited a cave in hot weather? Or in winter? Still a nice even temperature in there compared to the outside air isn't it? That's the principle upon which geothermal heat pumps work. And why they can cool a space as well as heat it.

    How did that heat get in the Earth and won't it be depleted if we take it out? The sun heats the Earth every day and the earth stores some 47% of it.

    Warm Earth! Enough under a normal residential block to heat and cool your home. Geothermal energy is renewable as long as the sun is up there!

    A geothermal heating system transfers the stable Earth temperature from underground to your home or other building. That's why it's called a pump.

    But to call it a "heat" pump is to obscure its flipside function: to cool spaces. It equally transfers the Earth's cooler temperatures relative to hot summer outdoor temperatures.

    Diagram of a typical geothermal heat pump system

    Geoexchange heat pumps have an outdoor unit (the condenser) and an indoor unit (the evaporator coil). A refrigerant fluid carries the Earth's heat above-ground through a looped pipes system that sits underground. This refrigerant fluid absorbs heat when expanded and so serves as a packing horse for heat.

    It's hard to get your head around this at first, but even cold air contains much heat. That's why a conventional air heating system works. The lower the outside air though, the harder such a pump has to work. That's why earth energy, always at an even temperature, works so efficiently.

    Diagram source: Geothermal Heat Pumps Installation Guide

    Earth heat pumps use the Earth's low-grade heat just below the surface (not hot but plenty of it) for you to use. As the low grade heat from the earth circulates through the loop your system's heat exchanger picks up more and more of it from the heat transfer fluid in your loop to make your place nice and warm – or cool. Having a geothermal power loop under your garden is like having your own oil well in your backyard!

    We can talk at another occasion about vertical and horizontal loops, open or closed. This guide tells you all about it, including how to install a geothermal heat pump yourself – if you're up to it!.

    Geothermal Heat Pumps Energy Efficiency

    Since the days of President Bill Clinton the US Environmental Protection Agency has agreed that geothermal energy is the cleanest (emission free), energy-efficient and cost effective space conditioning system available.

    Compared to conventional systems geothermal represents a savings of 30 to 70% in the heating mode and 20 to 50% in the cooling mode. It simply outperforms any energy source, whether renewable or not.

    The Future Of Geothermal Heat Pumps In Homes, And Other Buildings

    The main, perhaps only, objection to installing geothermal heat pumps is its installation cost. This can range from $10,000 to $30,000 depending on your residential home. So geoexchange heat pump prices are significant at the moment. This cost would be more readily affordable in your home package's mortgage payments, if you built your new home with a geothermal heat pump in the first place.

    But with the election of Barack Obama the stage is set for renewable energy's exponential growth. Among his energy proposals is that 10 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025. His Energy Plan calls for $150 billion of investment in clean technologies over 10 years, greenhouse emission reductions, promotion of energy efficiency, low-carbon biofuels, and renewable energies.

    So get set for policies that involve increasing and other ways to support renewable energy. Beneficiaries will range from large geothermal energy utilities to that of residential and commercial buildings.

    Can I Buy Ready-Made Earth Heat Pump Systems Anywhere

    Yes there is a growing number of geothermal heat pump manufacturers, suppliers and installers. If you're stumped about finding any please use this form to ask and if we cannot point you in the right direction someone who reads your post may do. Help and be helped!

    Another living database, like the one on solar energy and other renewable energy grants and incentives here.

    According to this guide you can install geothermal heat pumps yourself and it tells you how. There a growing number of professional installers though and there may well be one in your area. Doing it yourself is not for the faint-hearted. Get ready for a lot of digging!

    The advantages of geothermal energy are significant. Well worth investigating as you contemplate making your existing home more energy efficient or build one.

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