The Properties and Purposes of a Geothermal Heat Pump

What most homeowners say they love most 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 to need maintenance. And that alone goes far in decreasing the overall energy costs of Charleston homeowners who’ve gone geothermal.

 

That said, the system does have some moving parts. Most of them are found in its most important component, too: the geothermal heat pump.

This is the engine that drives the system. Its role is to transfer heat. And it transfers heat either from the ground into your house or from your house into the ground, depending on ambient temperatures. In Consequence, 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 incorporating antifreeze. This liquid flows through loops of underground pipes to which the heat pump is linked 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 conveyed throughout a home by way of either a forced air or a hydronic system. During cooling season the exact opposite happens: the pump draws heat from your home and transfers it underground through those same buried loops. Oh, and somewhere in the process, more than a few geothermal systems also produce domestic hot water.

The crucial difference between a geothermal heat pump and a typical furnace is that a heat pump doesn’t set fuel afire to generate heat. No, indeed, it takes heat that already exists and merely moves it around. That naturally makes it a much more efficient heating and cooling system. Understand this, too: underground temperatures typically remain at around 50º F all year long. The upshot? A geothermal heating and cooling system uses significantly less energy to cool your home than regular air conditioners.

So … is a geothermal system best for your Charleston home? See this region’s geothermal wizards, the cordial gang at Custom Climate Heating & Air.