Geothermal heating can be a practical solution if you’re looking for a way to keep your home comfortable during the colder months. As its name suggests, it uses heat that’s naturally stored in the earth. The process does involve complex mechanisms, some of which we’ll review in further detail below, but the idea is pretty straightforward. It allows people to use a plentiful natural resource to their advantage.
History of Geothermal Energy
The idea of using heat from the earth in order to stay comfortable is not a new one. In fact, archaeologists have found evidence that shows that people in North America used hot springs as a source of warmth more than 10,000 years ago. When the United States was expanding its borders, spring-fed baths were popular in certain areas. Around the world, as communities and industries grew, scientists and inventors came up with ideas to use the earth’s heat in other ways. In the early 1900s, geothermal power plants were developed.
Over the years, industry professionals have continued to work hard at harnessing natural resources. Today, geothermal energy is utilized in multiple ways. You can enjoy its benefits by having a geothermal heat pump installed in your home.
Residential Geothermal Heat Pumps
Geothermal heat pumps have gained popularity in recent years. One of the primary reasons for their success has to do with efficiency. They use significantly less energy than traditional heaters do, and this can result in considerably lower utility bills. They’re able to use less energy because they transfer heat from one place to another rather than having to generate it.
Traditional heaters, whether they’re furnaces that heat air or boilers that heat water, have to create their own heat. During this process, they consume a lot of fuel. If you currently have a traditional heating system, you’re probably accustomed to paying quite a bit for your gas, oil, and/or electricity each month.
A geothermal heat pump operates differently, though the results are the same. The system includes an indoor component as well as an outdoor one. The outdoor component consists of piping that’s buried in the ground. In the outdoor part of the system, heat is absorbed by the refrigerant in the pipes. This heat is naturally generated by the earth. Underneath the ground, the temperature stays at a fairly constant temperature throughout the year, around 50 or 55 degrees. The refrigerant in the system is extremely cold, and since there’s a temperature difference, the heat from the ground will move freely to the refrigerant. This is true even in winter when the air temperature and the surface of the ground might be below freezing. If you dig deep enough, you’ll be able to find warmth.
The refrigerant is then sent to the indoor component. At this point, the heat that the refrigerant is carrying gets released and can be distributed throughout your home. In many homes, the indoor unit is connected to ductwork. In this sense, it’s similar to having central air. The only difference is where the heat comes from.
Geothermal heat pumps are very versatile. In addition to heating and cooling a building, they can be used to heat. In order for a geothermal heat pump to act as an air conditioner, the heat transfer process has to be reversed. In this case, the refrigerant in the system absorbs heat from inside your home, brings that heat to the outdoor piping system, and releases it into the ground. Since the ground is much cooler than the hot refrigerant, it will accept the heat very quickly. A geothermal heat pump’s flow of refrigerant can be easily switched when the seasons change.
A Variety of Systems
Geothermal heat pumps come in multiple styles. Some come with two-speed compressors as well as variable fans so that they can better adjust to changing conditions. These models are generally more efficient because they can adjust their operation according to specific needs. They don’t need to be running at full speed all the time, but they can kick into a higher gear whenever necessary.
Additionally, the arrangement of the outdoor piping system can be set up to accommodate your preferences and the kind of property you have. The piping can either be horizontally or vertically oriented. A horizontal system requires more square footage, so it could be ideal if you have a large yard. On the other hand, a vertically oriented piping system may be better if you have less space to utilize. However, it does require digging much deeper. If you’re trying to decide which approach to take, a professional can help you determine which would be better for your situation.
A geothermal heat pump system can be more expensive than a traditional unit. This difference may be enough for some customers to hesitate moving forward. Remember, though, that a geothermal heat pump can work as both an air conditioner and a heater. Instead of having to purchase and install multiple units, you’ll just have one to deal with.
Also, the energy savings resulting from a geothermal heat pump could add up over time. If you can decrease your utility bills each month, you can make a significant impact on your budget for the year. Many homeowners can get about 20 to 25 years out of their geothermal heat pumps, and over the course of this period, the savings could really grow. Of course, you’ll have to look at your household’s budget and utility costs to determine the best approach for your particular situation. Keep in mind that a new geothermal heat pump may be eligible for certain tax credits or rebates, providing you with yet another way to save money. In addition, many HVAC companies have financing plans that you could utilize.
Ask Us for Help
If you live in the Atlanta area and are considering a geothermal heat pump, feel free to reach out to our team at Bardi Heating, Cooling & Plumbing for assistance. We can go over your options with you and recommend a system that could work at your place. We’ve been in the industry since 1989, and we’ve been able to thoroughly develop our skills. As manufacturers have released new kinds of systems, we’ve adapted our practices. At our family-owned business, we know a lot about energy-efficient systems, and we’d be happy to help you get something set up.
We regularly install, maintain, and repair heaters, heat pumps, and air conditioners for local customers, and we have a plumbing division, too. In case you need help with garbage disposals, drains, installations, repairs, sewage lines, water lines, water heaters, or anything else related to your plumbing system, count on us to be there for you. In case of an emergency, we’re available 24 hours a day. We also have several maintenance plans for you to consider. Call Bardi Heating, Cooling & Plumbing if you have any questions or would like to set up an appointment.