Geothermal systems are heating and cooling systems that can heat air and/or water. They use the refrigerant cycle of a heat pump with a heat source derived from the stable and warm temperatures of the ground rather than the variable Air temperatures (Air Source Heat pump). As you can imagine when the air temperature is 10 degrees outside the ground temperature 6 ft to 200 ft below the ground is closer to 45 degrees.
There are 2 main ways of extracting heat from the ground for these systems. The first is an open loop or pump and dump system. This is when you take water from a well and pump it through a geothermal or ground source heat pump. The heat is extracted from the water using the refrigerant cycle to heat your home. The other method is called a closed loop system. This is when you either dig a trench or drill wells then put plastic pipe in the trench or well hole. A glycol fluid is pumped through the piping that exchanges heat through the piping and the ground to heat or cool the fluid to ground temperature. The fluid is then circulated through the geothermal or ground source heatpump to heat or cool the home. The well drilling with plastic pipe in the ground is the most common type that we do as it requires a very small footprint.
The geothermal systems are the most efficient systems available but do have a large initial investment. With the Federal Tax Credit (as of now it expired 2016 – awaiting to see if it is renewed) they are similar in price to a high end Air to Air Heatpump. Geothermal system’s Heating efficiencies are measured in COP which stands for Coefficient of Performance. A system with a 4.0 COP is 400% efficient! Typically we see 60% to 70% energy cost savings with these systems compared to electric baseboard or oil.
If you are interested in a geothermal system give us a call for a consultation or site visit. Stanley C Bierlys handles the following brand of Geothermal system…