At the heart of any residential geothermal heating and cooling system is the geothermal heat pump also known as the ground source heat pump. Using a heat pump is considered one of the most efficient ways to heat or cool a home.
A heat pump draws its energy from mild temperature water circulated outside the home. If the home site is small, this water will be piped through a drilled water well. Larger home sites can circulate water through piping buried four to six feet in the ground. The water absorbs the mild ground temperature which is then used to heat or cool the heat pump’s refrigerant and efficiently provide heating or cooling for your home. Because the heat pump acts as a heat exchanger rather than a heat source, its efficiency is much higher than that of a boiler or a furnace.
Ground Source Heat Pump Benefits
The benefits of a ground source heat pump are many. Some of these benefits are in the form of helping us to live a greener lifestyle. Heat pumps conserve natural resources because they burn no fossil fuels. And since there is nothing to burn, there is also nothing to vent. This means there are no harmful pollutants emitted to the atmosphere. No fuel also means no fuel storage tanks located inside or outside our homes.
The ground source heat pump system is also a quieter system. The fuel combustion of a furnace or boiler creates noise which can be distracting at times. The electric heat pump makes about as much noise as a refrigerator.
Another benefit is that this system will handle your home’s cooling needs as well. During the warm summer months, the heat pump can be set to exchange warm air from your home with air cooled underground using the same recirculation method.
Many heat pumps today come fitted with a device called a desuperheater. This device will transfer excess heat from the heat pump over to the hot water tank, providing hot water at a much reduced cost. Since the heat pump system is less active during the warm summer months, the desuperheater’s role during that time will be reduced. However, during the winter, your hot water will be virtually free!