Even on cold or overcast days, the earth absorbs about 48 percent of the sun’s energy. This stored energy maintains a relatively constant temperature about 6 feet below the ground’s surface year-round. Ground-source heat pumps make use of this natural reservoir to heat and cool your home. Ground-source heating represents one of the most sustainable and efficient energy options available.
During cold weather, ground-source heat pumps collect energy stored in the earth and convert it to warmth to heat your house. When you need air conditioning, the heat pump collects warmth from inside your home and “pumps” it into the earth. Even during extreme winter weather, the Department of Energy estimates a geothermal heating system can be anywhere from 400 to 600 percent efficient.
Ground-source heating systems consist of a pipe loop, installed underground, and an indoor air handler. The pipe loop is installed horizontally in homes that have enough land and or the right soil conditions. In homes that have limited yard space, the pipe loops can be installed in vertical holes bored deeply into the ground.
Because they move energy around rather than generating it, ground-source heat pumps are some of the most efficient systems available. The average ground-source system produces about 5 units of energy for every single unit it consumes. Research has shown they are capable of creating savings to the tune of 30 to 70 percent a year.
Geothermal heating systems have many benefits:
- They use 25 percent to 50 percent less energy than standard heating and cooling systems.
- They’re environmentally sustainable.
- They’re low-maintenance.
- They have long life spans, with underground pipes often lasting around 50 years.
- They offer quiet, unobtrusive operation.
- Some models dehumidify air.
- They evenly distribute conditioned air, eliminating hot and cold spots.
The initial investment can be intimidating, but depending on conditions at your home, and with the right financing and tax incentives, ground-source heating can pay for itself in two to 10 years. If you have questions about geothermal heating, call Rodenhiser.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about ground source heating and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Solutions Guide.