Geothermal heating is somewhat of a new technology among heating systems, especially for private home use. As with any relatively new technology, not much is known about it among the general populace. What most people do know is that geothermal heating is supposed to be one of the most energy efficient heating systems available. Why is that, though? Let’s examine what a geothermal system actually is, how it works, and how it will help you save money.
What is Geothermal Heating?
Geothermal heating is a system that takes heat from the ground and uses it to warm the house. The system itself consists of a wide underground pipe loop, installed around 15 feet beneath the surface. This pipe loop can be either horizontal or vertical, depending on the space available for the system. The loop is often filled with water or some kind of refrigerant. Inside the house is the central heating unit, which is connected to this loop. The central unit is also connected to the home’s ductwork.
When the system is turned on, the central unit begins cycling the liquid from the underground loop through itself. The central unit leeches thermal energy from the liquid, which it uses to warm the air being circulated around the house. Then, the liquid will be returned to the loop.
How Does This Save Money?
The geothermal heating system is a type of heat pump, relying on thermal energy present in the environment to heat the home instead of burning fuel to create it. Most heat pumps utilize the outside air for this thermal energy, which is fine most of the time but becomes scarce during very cold weather.
A geothermal system, however, uses thermal energy from the ground. Below 10-15 feet, the temperature underground remains at a constant 50-60 degrees regardless of weather. This provides the geothermal system with a constant, renewable source of heat to draw from year-round. A geothermal system saves you money by utilizing preexisting heat to warm your home, instead of burning fuel. It also avoids the common heat pump problem of losing efficiency when the weather drops below freezing temperatures.