Your Essential Guide to Geothermal Systems

Over the years, “going green” and reducing one’s carbon footprint has become not only popular but necessary for the Earth’s environment. Everything from fashion to building to the automobile industry has taken steps to make their processes more environmentally friendly while creating more sustainable products. One popular way to go green for homeowners has been through the installation of a geothermal heating and cooling system in their homes. But geothermal systems aren’t new. In fact, some forms of them have been around since the 1940s. However, as technology has advanced, geothermal systems have never been more efficient. 

What Is a Geothermal System?

To put it simply, geothermal heating and cooling systems are energy-efficient systems that use the ground’s natural temperature to heat homes in the winter and cool them in the summer. A geothermal system has three major parts:

  1. An air handling system that transfers the air during the process
  2. A heat exchanger that takes heat from the ground or transfers heat back to the earth
  3. The geothermal loop that moves heat between the air handling system and the heat exchanger

All of these components work together to provide natural sources of heat or air to your home.

Also known as Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP), geothermal systems take advantage of the fact that the ground’s temperature stays pretty constant throughout the year and take advantage of it as both a heat and a cooling source. 

The process of heating your home with a geothermal system includes four steps:

  1. Circulation – The above-ground heat pump moves water through a series of buried pipes. 
  2. Heat Absorption – The water absorbs the heat from the surrounding soil or groundwater. 

  3. Heat Exchange and Use – The heated water returns to the building through a heat exchanger that transfers the collected heat to the building’s existing air system. 
  4. Recirculation – Once the heat is transferred to the building, the water returns to the ground to be heated again. 

For cooling the home, the process changes a bit with water-absorbing the heat from the building through a heat exchanger, sending the heated water back to the buried pipes where it releases the heat to the soil and returns to the building for another round. 

Benefits of a Geothermal System

Well, the biggest and most important benefit to going geothermal is that it’s more environmentally conscious. Fossil fuels used by traditional heating and cooling systems leave a much larger carbon footprint than using geothermal energy. 

Other benefits include:

  1. It’s Renewable Energy – Geothermal energy can be renewed over and over again for more than a lifetime. Using renewable sources of energy helps reduce our own impact on the climate crisis. 
  2. It Uses a Stable Source – Unlike wind or solar energy, geothermal energy is derived from a source that is always available and stays relatively stable in its temperature. 
  3. It Saves Homeowners Money – How much money? According to the EPA, geothermal heating and cooling systems can save 30-70% on heating costs and 20-50% on cooling costs compared to regular heating and cooling systems. That could mean as much as $1500 in savings a year. 
  4. The Equipment Lasts – Regular HVAC systems hold up for about a decade on average if they are regularly maintained. Major parts of these systems are often located outside and are subject to weather-related wear and tear. However, geothermal systems are largely underground and untouchable by the elements helping them last for many decades. 
  5. They’re Safe – One concern for a lot of families in the winter while their heating system is running is the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning. Geothermal systems eliminate that risk and are clean and safe to run without the threat of combustion. 

Are you ready to discuss changing out your HVAC system for a geothermal system that will not only save you money but will help save our shared environment? The experts at Quality Air and Heating can walk you through the process of installing and using a brand new geothermal system. Contact us today to discuss how we can get started.