Geothermal heat pumps are becoming increasingly popular among homeowners who want to heat and cool their households efficiently, and with only the slightest impact on the environment. Unfortunately, various geothermal myths may give homeowners the wrong idea about these HVAC systems, and we’d like to clear the air. First, however, some details about how a geothermal heat pump operates.
A geothermal system employs a high-efficiency heat pump inside the house, which exchanges heat with a water/anti-freeze mixture that flows through a network of pipes buried under your yard (or else submerged in a nearby body of water). That liquid mixture transfers heat between your home and the ground. During the cooling phase, it pulls heat from your home, as with a regular A/C or heat pump, and then sends it outside via the pipes (also called a loop system) and “rejects” it into the ground. During the heating phase, it transfers heat from underground into your home, via the water-filled pipes, where the heat pump converts it into inexpensive heating. In the summer, these systems also can heat water for your home.
The system works by taking advantage of the fact that the ground just a few feet under your yard stays relatively constant throughout the year, between 45 and 60 degrees. Since the temperature of the ground is closer to your desired temperature than the air is in either winter or summer, it requires much less energy to accomplish the heat exchange than with a conventional air-source heat pump.
Geothermal Myths Debunked
- They are mainly used for heating. As explained, geothermal systems have the ability to operate in both directions. Both processes require less energy than a conventional forced-air HVAC system.
- Geothermal systems consume a lot of water. Water is used as a heat transfer agent, but isn’t actually consumed.
- They make a racket. If you are looking for silence, a geothermal system is actually your best option. They make a small amount of noise with the indoor heat pump, but there’s no noisy outside compressor/condenser, since the heat exchange occurs underground.
- They need a lot of space. Using vertical loop systems, rather than the more common horizontal loop layout, you can fit a geothermal system into a relatively small yard.
- They are prohibitively expensive. While installation is comparatively expensive, a qualifying geothermal systems will leverage a 30 percent federal tax credit, plus many states and utilities also offer incentives. Moreover, the monthly energy savings from your geothermal heat pump will pay back the difference in cost in a relatively short amount of time.
For information about a geothermal system in your Indianapolis area home, please contact us at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Brownsburg, Indiana and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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