The use of geothermal energy for heating in the United States dates back 10,000 years when Native peoples settled near hot springs for their natural warmth. The first geothermal heating and cooling system was patented in 1912, and the modern systems we use today originated in the 1940s. While geothermal heating has been around for quite a while and are commonly used in areas across the globe, geothermal heat pump systems have grown in popularity here in Indiana over the past few years as people become more aware of this technology.

If you’re wondering how do geothermal heat pumps work, Doc Dancer Heating & Air explains the technology behind these heating and cooling systems so you can gain a better understanding of this innovative technology.

What Is a Geothermal Heating System?

A geothermal heat pump makes use of natural energy sources for heating and cooling a home. The temperature about 6 feet below the earth’s surface remains a constant temperature of 45 to 75 degrees all year round, depending on your latitude. A geothermal heat pump uses the ground temperature as a free heat source, as well as a heat receptacle for cooling air indoors.

The parts of a geothermal HVAC system include a few key components. The geothermal heat pump connects to the ground loops and a ground heat exchanger. The ground loop is made up of long, underground pipes that are filled with liquid. Ground loop systems have a variety of configurations they can be arranged as closed loops or vertical loops.

The geothermal heat pump heat exchanger is installed inside the home. The distribution system components depend on the geothermal HVAC system’s configuration. They can use ducts to force air or water-filled piping for hydronic heating.

How Do Geothermal Heat Pumps Work?

Geothermal heat pumps work by facilitating the transfer of heat between the ground loop and the home’s air. The function of the ground loop is to absorb the thermal energy within the ground for heating, or by releasing heat into the ground when cooling the home. In winter, the fluid circulating within the pipes absorbs heat energy so that it can be transferred to the heat pump and efficiently converted into heat that is added to the home’s air.

Geothermal heat pumps work by keeping fluid circulating through the ground loop system, and then bring it into the home. Ground source heat pumps extract heat from the loop via the heat exchanger and transfer it to the home’s air to increase air temperature, or to water flowing through hydronic pipes, which keeps the home warm and comfortable.

To cool a home, the geothermal heat pump system works in reverse. The heat exchanger absorbs heat from the indoor air passing over it. The heat pump then transfers this heat energy to the fluid held within the ground loop. That fluid then circulates through the loop and is released below ground.

Benefits of Geothermal Heat Pump Use

A geothermal system is an extremely efficient way to heat and cool homes across Indiana. The key benefits homeowners gain from installing geothermal HVAC systems are commonly reduced energy consumption and lower heating and cooling costs.

  • Geothermal heat pumps run on electricity. The amount of heat energy these units can transfer is multiple times the amount of electricity they consume to do so. Most geothermal heat pumps can output 4 to 5 units of heat energy for every unit of electricity used to run the unit. This makes geothermal heat pumps 400% to 500% efficient!
  • Geothermal systems use no fossil fuels and consume far less electricity than other types of heating and cooling systems – 25% to 50% less. Depending on the type of HVAC system you have, switching to geothermal can reduce heating expenses by 30% to 70%, and cut cooling costs by 20% to 50%.
  • Space heating isn’t the only thing they can do. Geothermal heat pump systems can also provide hot water for the home. Using these systems can cut water heating costs by around 40%.
  • Because they do not burn fuel and use such minimal electricity, emissions are much lower when using geothermal systems versus other HVAC equipment. These systems are better for the environment.

Geothermal Heating and Cooling System Installation

Now that you know how do geothermal heat pumps work and their benefits, are you ready to have one installed at your Indiana home? Call Doc Dancer Heating & Air to request a quote for geothermal HVAC system installation.