The Properties and Purposes of a Geothermal Heat Pump

What almost everybody says they like most of all about a geothermal heating and cooling system is that it has almost no moving parts. There’s just that much less that can go bad– that much less requiring maintenance. And that by itself goes a long way toward lowering the overall energy costs of Lexington homeowners who’ve gone geothermal.

 

Of course, the system does have some moving parts. Most of them are found in its most conspicuous component, too: the geothermal heat pump.

This is the system’s powerplant. Its task is to transfer heat. And it transfers heat either from the ground into your house or from your house into the ground, depending on the weather30. As such, it’s a furnace and an air conditioner united in one discreet package.

What, then, does a heat pump use to transfer heat? Water! Well, that or a solution containing antifreeze. This liquid flows through loops of underground pipes to which the heat pump is attached above ground. During heating season the liquid draws heat from the ground, the heat pump draws the warm liquid up into refrigerant coils, and the heat is then is circulated throughout a home by either a forced air or a hydronic system. During cooling season it runs in reverse: the pump draws heat from your home and transfers it to the ground by way of those same buried loops. Oh, and as an added bonus, many geothermal systems also supply domestic hot water.

The critical differentiator between a geothermal heat pump and a more familiar furnace is that a heat pump doesn’t set fuel afire to generate heat. Instead it takes heat that already exists and simply moves it around. That naturally makes it a much more efficient heating and cooling system. Keep this in mind, too: underground temperatures most often stay at around 50º F all year long. Result? A geothermal heating and cooling system requires considerably less energy to cool your home than standard air conditioners.

So … is a geothermal system best for your Lexington home? See this region’s geothermal pros, the helpful people at Arronco Comfort Air, Inc..