Keeping a home comfortable temperature-wise can be challenging, especially in the summer and winter. AC costs always seem to spike mid-July, and furnaces have to work extra hard in the winter to keep Jack Frost at bay. While these may seem like insurmountable difficulties, there is a solution. Geothermal heating and cooling systems lead the industry in energy efficiency and durability. If you want to harness the power of the earth itself to keep your home a comfortable haven, here are the basics you need to know.
The earth is a little bundle of heat. This is good news to its residents, since it means we don’t freeze at night or when the planet is angled away from the sun. The geothermal energy within the planet is beneficial for another reason: resident heating systems. Geothermal systems capture the heat underneath the earth’s surface to regulate the temperature of a home. If you want a more efficient heating and cooling system for your home, consider geothermal energy.
Beneath the earth’s surface, temperatures remain at a pretty constant 50 and 60°F, no matter what the weather is like outside. That means that geothermal heat remains consistently available to heat or cool homes. Geothermal systems use a looping system of pipes and a heat pump to transfer the heat from the ground into buildings on the surface.
This energy is highly sustainable since using it does not require burning any fossil fuels and does not deplete the earth’s supply of heat. Geothermal systems are also highly effective, reliable, and long-lasting. Although installation is typically more expensive than traditional HVAC systems, geothermal heating and cooling systems can actually save homeowners money. They are an investment that uses energy more efficiently and lasts longer than comparable alternatives.
The geothermal heating abilities of geothermal systems take advantage of the earth’s warmth to boost the temperature inside homes. As the fluid in the system’s pipes moves through the pipe network, it warms up, climbing from the baseline of 55°F. That heat is captured by a heat pump or exchanger and transferred into the home, warming the air and making the house a cozy place to be even when winter rages outside.
Some variations of geothermal heating systems heat the flooring of a home by laying the pipes directly underneath the house. A condenser functions as a coil to heat the outside air and further warm the fluid in the pipes.
Geothermal heating is a highly efficient method to warm a home. In fact, installing a geothermal system can save homeowners 30% to 70% on their home heating costs. In just a short amount of time, such systems make the initial investment worth it.
The same geothermal system that heats a home can also cool it. The process simply works in reverse. Refrigerant (sometimes water) runs over the system’s condenser, cooling the air inside. That cool air is pumped into the home via the heat pump (don’t let the name fool you) where it creates a cool summer paradise.
Meanwhile, back underground, the refrigerant is cycled back in the system via a compressor and, shockingly, is compressed. That compression heats the refrigerant to well over 120°F before the system cycles into the earth again to cool. This cyclic pattern is why geothermal systems are also called earth loop systems.
Geothermal systems are also highly efficient at cooling homes. It is common for homeowners to save 20% to 50% percent on their cooling costs by installing geothermal systems. They are also quiet and clean, producing no emissions.
Installing Geothermal Systems
There are two basic types of geothermal systems: vertical and horizontal. Horizontal geothermal systems lay a series of trenches beneath a yard or plot. The pipes of the system are nestled in these trenches, and they are protected from the elements when they are covered over again. Vertical systems are better for areas where yard square footage is not in great supply. The pipes run hundreds of feet below the surface to capitalize on minimal space.
If you think a geothermal heating system is right for your South Carolina home, Energy Masters can help. Our trustworthy team can install your system at relatively little inconvenience to you. Before doing so, we will first take a look to see which kind of system—vertical or horizontal—is right for your property. With our free estimate, you can decide on the right path moving forward.