How Does a Geothermal HVAC System Work?

Almost half of the solar energy our planet receives is absorbed into the earth. Just below the ground, temperatures remain consistently between 55 and 60 degrees year-round. Because below-ground temperatures are so stable, geothermal HVAC systems can provide reliable and energy-efficient heating, cooling and hot water for your Bunn, North Carolina, home on even the hottest and coldest of days.

What Are the Components of a Ground Source Heat Pump?

Geothermal systems consist of an indoor unit called a heat pump and an outdoor underground unit called a ground loop. The ground loop pipes connect to the indoor heat pump. The indoor unit of a geothermal system can last for up to 25 years, and the outdoor ground loop system can last for up to 50 years.

How Does a Geothermal Unit Heat My Home?

Geothermal heat pumps don’t generate heat like furnaces. Rather, they use the heat that’s already available just below the ground. In winter, the ground is always warmer than the air. The geothermal ground loop circulates water through the ground where it absorbs heat and transports it to the indoor heat pump. The heat pump then removes heat from the water, converts it into warm air and uses it to heat your home. The heat energy extracted from the water is distributed throughout your home via a conventional ductwork system. After the heat is used, the water is recirculated to gather more heat from the ground and the process is repeated.

How Does a Geothermal Unit Cool My Home?

With geothermal technology, the electric heat pump cycles water or refrigerant through the underground loop and transfers the heat from indoor air to the ground outside. The heat is released into the ground and absorbed by the earth. The water in the loop is then cooled by the earth and returns to your home where it provides additional cooled and dehumidified air. This process operates continually to remove heat and keep your home consistently and comfortably cool.

Do Geothermal Systems Really Provide Free Hot Water?

If you add a desuperheater to your geothermal installation, it will give you hot water, too. In winter, warmth from the ground loop is used to heat your water as well as your home. The cooled liquid in the ground loop is then pumped back outside and into the ground where it is again warmed and redirected back to heat your home and generate additional hot water.

In summer, the desuperheater recycles wasted heat from the heat pump’s compressor and uses it to heat your water. Hot water heating during the summer months is particularly effective because indoor heat is used to keep water hot instead of traveling back into the ground. This process can reduce annual water heating costs by as much as 50 percent.

What Are the Benefits of a Geothermal Heat Pump Installation?

High energy efficiency is the biggest advantage of having a geothermal system. Geothermal HVAC is 400 to 600 percent more energy efficient than air source heat pumps, furnaces and central air conditioners. By comparison, gas furnaces are 98 percent efficient. Geothermal systems can cut heating, cooling and hot water costs by up to 80 percent. Even in the coldest regions on earth, geothermal systems offer effective and highly efficient heating and cooling solutions. Homeowners generally recoup installation costs via energy savings within eight years, and unlike gas, oil and propane, dirt is a natural and clean source of energy that’s always abundantly available and can never be exhausted.

To learn more about whether a geothermal heating and cooling system would benefit your Bunn, North Carolina, home, visit Alford Mechanical Heating and Air Conditioning or call us at (919) 246-5265 to schedule a free geothermal HVAC installation consultation.

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