Home energy ratings, such as those provide by Agreenergy, include an exact requirement of your home heating needs. This is the first step in developing a geothermal plan for your home. Agreenergy can provide a complete Geothermal heat pump solution through one of our partners.
What is a Geothermal Heat Pump?
A geothermal heat pump system is a heating and/or cooling system that uses the earth´s ability to store heat in the shallow ground or water thermal masses.
Geothermal heat pumps are known also as “GeoExchange” systems, or “ground source heat pumps”, to clearly distinguish them from air source heat pumps. It is important to understand that ground source heat pumps draw energy from shallow ground. The energy originates from the sun: none of the energy originates from the centre of the Earth, in spite of the name “geothermal heat pump”. Genuine geothermal energy from the centre of Earth is available only in places where volcanic activity comes close to the surface.
Geothermal systems require a ground loop.
The tubing can be installed horizontally as a loop field or vertically as a series of long U-shapes in wells. The purpose of the tubing is to transfer heat to and from the ground. The size of the loop field depends on the soil type and moisture content, the average ground temperature and the heat loss and or gain characteristics of the building being conditioned. Typically, one loop (400 feet (120 m) to 600 feet (180 m)) has the capacity of one ton or 12,000 British thermal units per hour (BTU/h) or 3.5 kilowatts. An average house will range from 3 to 5 tons (10 to 18 kW) of capacity.
The second component in some cases is a liquid pump pack, which sends the water through the tubing and the water-source heat pump.
Lastly, the water-source heat pump is the unit that becomes the heating and cooling plant for the building. It can cover space heating, space cooling, (space heating via conditioned air, hydronic systems and / or radiant systems), domestic or pool water preheat (via the desuperheater function, demand hot water all within one appliance with a variety of options with respect to controls, staging and zone control. This is where the heat from the tubing is used to transfer heat in or out of the ground for use in the structure or for water.
Heat pumps have the ability to capture heat at one temperature reservoir and transfer it to another temperature reservoir. An example of an air source heat pump is a refrigerator; heat is removed from the refrigerator’s compartments and transferred to the outside. There is no technical barrier to using a water source heat pump system to take the heat out of your leftovers and to put it into the hot water for washing the dishes.
Cost and Savings
The system cost are usually 2-3 times the cost of a conventional heating system. Costs are returned in energy savings in 5–10 years (This does NOT include the tax credit). System life is estimated at 25 years for the inside components and 50+ years for the ground loop. There are approximately 50,000 geothermal heat pumps installed in the United States each year.
There are several ways that Geothermal can be installed, contact us today!