The Basic Features and Functions of a Geothermal Heat Pump

What the great majority of homeowners say they like best 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 fall apart– that much less to need maintenance. And that in itself makes a great difference in lowering the overall energy costs of Central New Jersey homeowners who’ve gone geothermal.

 

Still, 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 compact package.

Water – or an antifreeze solution – is the medium the heat pump uses to transfer heat. This liquid circulates through underground loops of pipe that are linked to the above-ground heat pump. 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 conveyed throughout a home by way of either a forced air or a hydronic system. During cooling season it runs the other way ’round: the pump draws heat from your home and transfers it underground by way of those same buried loops. Oh, and as an extra perk, many geothermal systems also supply domestic hot water.

The critical differentiator between a geothermal heat pump and a standard furnace is that a heat pump doesn’t set fuel afire to generate heat. Instead it takes heat that already exists and just moves it around. That naturally makes it a much more efficient heating and cooling system. Bear this in mind, too: underground temperatures generally remain at around 50º F all year long. And that means? A geothermal heating and cooling system uses considerably less energy to cool your home than typical air conditioners.

So … is a geothermal system the best way to go for your Central New Jersey home? See this area’s geothermal gurus, the cordial gang at ABLEnvironmental.