The Fundamental How and Why of a Geothermal Heat Pump

What practically everyone says they like most about a geothermal heating and cooling system is that it has so little in the way of moving parts. There’s just that much less that can go bad– that much less needing maintenance. And that alone goes far in decreasing the overall energy costs of Northern Colorado homeowners who’ve gone geothermal.

 

That said, the system does have some moving parts. Most of them are found in its most critical component, too: the geothermal heat pump.

This is the system’s workhorse. Its purpose is to transfer heat. And it transfers heat either from the ground into your house or from your house into the ground, depending on the weather30. As such, it’s a furnace and an air conditioner integrated into one discreet package.

How the heat pump transfers heat is with water or an antifreeze solution. This liquid courses through pipe loops planted underground and attached to the heat pump, which is kept above ground. During heating season the liquid draws heat from the ground, the heat pump draws the warm liquid up into refrigerant coils, and the heat is then is circulated throughout a home by means of either a forced air or a hydronic system. During cooling season the exact opposite happens: the pump draws heat from your home and transfers it to the earth by way of those same buried loops. Oh, and somewhere along the way, various geothermal systems also provide domestic hot water.

The crucial difference between a geothermal heat pump and a common furnace is that a heat pump doesn’t set fuel afire to generate heat. Rather, it takes heat that’s already there and just moves it around. That naturally makes it a much more efficient heating and cooling system. Bear this in mind, too: underground temperatures typically remain at around 50º F year round. The payoff? A geothermal heating and cooling system uses considerably less energy to cool your home than typical air conditioners.

So … is a geothermal system the answer for your Northern Colorado home? See this area’s geothermal gurus, the helpful gang at Comfort By Nature.