There are several types of HVAC systems that will provide heating and cooling for your Fort Wayne area home. While most homeowners are familiar with how furnaces, air conditioners, boilers, and air-to-air heat pumps work, they have questions about geothermal systems.
So how exactly do geothermal HVAC systems work? In our most recent blog, “Doc” Dancer Heating & Air explains the basics of these efficient heating and cooling systems and what benefits they bring to your home.
Parts of a Geothermal System
Let’s first introduce the components of a geothermal heating and cooling system. A geothermal HVAC system has three main components:
- The geothermal heat pump exchanges heat energy between the air inside your home and the earth.
- The ground loop is a buried system of piping that circulates fluid between the heat pump and the earth, transferring heat energy between the earth and the home’s air supply via the heat pump. The ground loop is either an open- or closed-loop system buried horizontally or vertically on the property.
- Ductwork serves as the distribution system that sends heated or cooled air throughout the house.
How Do Geothermal HVAC Systems Work?
Geothermal HVAC systems operate similarly to the way air-source heat pumps work – they exchange heat energy to heat or cool the home’s air. While an air-source heat pump moves heat between indoor air and outdoor air, the geothermal heat pump transfers heat between the indoor air and the earth.
To heat a home during the winter, geothermal systems absorb heat from the ground. Even though the air above ground may be freezing, the temperature below ground remains consistently at around 55 degrees throughout the year. The energy held below ground is more than adequate to sufficiently warm the home throughout the winter months.
When your home needs heat, fluid circulating through the ground loop absorbs heat energy held in the earth. When this fluid cycles back up to the heat pump, the heat pump pulls heat from the fluid and uses this energy to warm its heat exchanger. The fluid is recirculated back through the ground loop to continue absorbing heat energy for use in the home. Air passes over the heat exchanger, absorbing heat to raise its temperature and is then sent throughout the home via the duct system.
Like air-source heat pumps, geothermal HVAC systems also offer cooling. To cool a home’s air, the system operates in reverse. Heat energy is extracted from the home’s air by the heat pump, transferred to the fluid in the ground loop, then the heat is deposited into the surrounding earth as the fluid cycles through the loop.
Benefits of Geothermal Cooling and Heating Systems
Geothermal HVAC systems offer many benefits to homeowners who install these heating and cooling solutions. Some key benefits include:
- Geothermal HVAC systems are the most energy-efficient heating and cooling units available for home use. Installing a geothermal system may reduce electricity consumption by up to half of that consumed by conventional HVAC systems. For every one unit of electricity it uses, a geothermal heat pump can output as many as five units of heat for the home!
- Thanks to the immense energy savings they generate, geothermal heating and cooling systems can pay for themselves in as little as seven to 10 years.
- Geothermal systems offer excellent humidity control for the home. They help keep indoor relative humidity levels balanced around 50% throughout the year.
- Geothermal systems may offer a longer service life compared to other types of home HVAC systems. They last an average of 20 years or more, while the ground loop can last 50 or more years as it is well protected underground.
Go Geothermal in Your Fort Wayne Area Home
Now that you know how geothermal HVAC systems work, you can see the comfort and energy savings advantages these systems offer over other heating and cooling unit choices. Call “Doc” Dancer Heating & Air today to request an estimate to install a geothermal HVAC system at your home!