The Fundamental Properties and Purposes of a Geothermal Heat Pump

What most homeowners say they appreciate most about a geothermal heating and cooling system is that it has almost no moving parts. There’s just that much less that can get screwed up– that much less needing maintenance. And that in and of itself goes a long way toward slashing the overall energy costs of Columbus homeowners who’ve gone geothermal.

 

Of course, the system is not without any moving parts. the better part of them are found in its most vital component, too: the geothermal heat pump.

This is the system’s workhorse. Its job 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. Consequently, it’s a furnace and an air conditioner rolled into one discreet package.

What, then, does a heat pump use to transfer heat? Water! Well, that or a solution incorporating antifreeze. This liquid courses through pipe loops buried underground and secured to the heat pump, which is kept above ground. During heating season the liquid draws heat from the ground, the heat pump draws the warm liquid up into refrigerant coils, and from there the heat is dispensed throughout a home by 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 by way of those same buried loops. Oh, and as an added bonus, lots of geothermal systems also provide domestic hot water.

The critical difference between a geothermal heat pump and a standard furnace is that a heat pump doesn’t burn fuel to generate heat. Instead it takes heat that already exists and just moves it around. That naturally makes it a much more efficient heating and cooling system. Keep this in mind, too: underground temperatures almost always hold at around 50º F through the year. The upshot? A geothermal heating and cooling system uses substantially less energy to cool your home than regular air conditioners.

So … is a geothermal system the answer for your Columbus home? See this region’s geothermal experts, the cordial gang at Hottinger Geothermal.