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  • Writer's pictureDavid Dwyer

What You Need to Know About Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems

If you are looking for a way to reduce your energy bills and your environmental impact, you may want to consider geothermal heating and cooling systems. These systems use the Earth’s natural heat to provide heating, cooling, and hot water for your home or business. In this blog post, we will explain how geothermal systems work, what are their benefits, and how you can install one in your property.

How Geothermal Systems Work

Geothermal heating and cooling systems, also known as ground-source heat pumps or geoexchange systems, consist of a heat pump connected to a series of buried pipes. The pipes can be installed either in horizontal trenches just below the ground surface or in vertical boreholes that go several hundred feet below ground. The heat pump circulates a heat-conveying fluid, sometimes water, through the pipes to move heat from point to point. Depending on the season, the system can operate in two different modes:

  • Heating mode: In winter, the ground temperature is warmer than the ambient air temperature, so the heat pump can move heat from the ground to the building. The heat pump can also use a device called a “desuperheater” to heat household water for free.

  • Cooling mode: In summer, the ground temperature is cooler than the ambient air temperature, so the heat pump can move heat from the building to the ground, in effect cooling the building. The excess heat can also be used to preheat water and reduce water heating costs.

Geothermal systems require a small amount of electricity to drive the heating/cooling process, but they deliver more energy per unit consumed than conventional systems. For every unit of electricity used in operating the system, the heat pump can deliver as much as five times the energy from the ground, resulting in a net energy benefit. What Are the Benefits of Geothermal Systems Geothermal systems offer many advantages over traditional heating and cooling systems, such as:

  • Lower operating costs: Geothermal systems can cut energy bills by up to 65% compared to traditional HVAC units1. They also have lower maintenance costs and longer lifespans than conventional systems.

  • Environmental benefits: Geothermal systems are considered a renewable resource because they use the Earth’s natural heat. They do not emit any greenhouse gases or air pollutants and have minimal impact on the land.

  • Comfort and reliability: Geothermal systems provide consistent and even heating and cooling throughout the year, regardless of weather conditions. They also operate quietly and do not require any outdoor equipment that could be affected by vandalism or weather damage.

How to Install a Geothermal System If you are interested in installing a geothermal system in your home or business, you will need to consider some factors such as:

  • The heating and cooling efficiency of the system: The efficiency of geothermal systems is indicated by their coefficient of performance (COP) for heating and their energy efficiency ratio (EER) for cooling. These ratios measure how much heat is provided or removed per unit of energy input. Look for the ENERGY STAR® label, which indicates that the unit meets ENERGY STAR criteria.

  • The economics of the system: Although the purchase and installation cost of a geothermal system is often higher than that of other heating and cooling systems, you may recoup your initial investment in a few years through lower utility bills. You may also qualify for special financing and incentives from federal, state, and local governments; power providers; and banks or mortgage companies that offer energy-efficient mortgage loans for energy-saving home improvements.

  • The site characteristics: The suitability of your site for a geothermal system depends on factors such as climate, soil conditions, land availability, and local regulations. You will need to find a qualified installer who can evaluate your site and design a system that meets your needs.

At American Renewable Energy, we are experts in renewable energy. We can help you choose and install the best system for your home or business. Contact us today for a free consultation and estimate.

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