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How Does Geothermal Heating and Cooling Work?

Geothermal heating and cooling may sound like a great idea, but if you’re used to conventional furnaces and boilers, it can be hard to imagine how geothermal energy can sufficiently warm or cool your home. While certain components in geothermal systems may be complex, the basics of how these systems operate are fairly simple.

Geothermal: The “Other” Heat Pump

Geothermal systems, also known as geothermal heat pumps, work in a way that’s similar to conventional air-source heat pumps. In winter, an air-source heat pump doesn’t create heat, but draws heat from the outdoor air and transfers it into your home. In summer, it draws heat out of your home and releases it outdoors.

Geothermal systems also transfer heat, but they use land or water instead of air. Temperatures underground are fairly stable year round. They’re always warmer than aboveground temperatures in winter and cooler in summer. This fact makes geothermal a more efficient heating and cooling method than an air-source heat pump.

Geothermal Systems Tap the Earth’s Energy

A geothermal heating and cooling system uses pipes buried underground or submerged in a body of water. These pipes are filled with a mixture of antifreeze and water that carries heat. When the system’s in heating mode, the fluid picks up heat from the earth.

Conventional heat pump systems require an outdoor unit containing essential components, including an evaporator, compressor, condenser and fan. A geothermal heating and cooling system also uses these components, but they’re contained in an indoor unit that’s protected from weather and debris.

These indoor aboveground components draw heat out of the anti-freeze/water mixture for use in your home. They also increase the amount of heat. Typical ground temperatures in North Carolina are around 55 to 65 degrees, but the heat pump will produce a temperature of around 120 degrees. The heat can be distributed in one of several ways, including forced air ducts, aluminium radiators and radiant flooring.

Considering investing in geothermal for energy savings and reliable comfort? Contact us at All Temp Co., Inc. Air Conditioning & Heating anywhere in Harrisburg, Concord and the surrounding area and we’ll help you get started.