Geothermal Heat Pumps

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Geothermal Heat Pumps

Find out if this energy efficient, totally green system is for you

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Geothermal Heat Pumps: Save Ten With Angie's List!

Geothermal heat pump systems, also known as groundwater source heat pumps are a central heating AND cooling system that extracts either cooling or heating from a water source and this is supplemented by electric heating.

The normal average temperature of ground water is between 50 and 60 degrees F. (10 to 16 degrees C), dependent on the latitude you reside, and the heat pump forces heat or cooling transfer from this water through a Heat Exchanger.

At the core of the system, and it’s success is due to refrigerant that is pumped through a coil cycle and this removes heat from the water.

Geothermal Heat Pump - Pond or Ground Closed Loop Coil

Geothermal Heat Pump - Pond or Ground Closed Loop Coil

Geothermal Heat Pump Efficiencies:

Ground Water Heat Pumps are almost always more efficient than straight or resistance electric heating or even when compared to an air-source heat pump, in which the pump extracts heat from the air.

The efficiency of a Ground Water Heat Pump can vary from 300% to 600% on cold winter evenings, because the ground water temperature remains relative stable.

When you compare that to an efficiency of between 175 to 250% for an air source heat pump system, you can see the appeal for using a Ground Water source.

Geothermal Heat Pump Showing Closed Loop In The Ground

Geothermal Heat Pump Showing Closed Loop In The Ground

Different Water Sources Available:

There are basically 3 different sources available to you for energy extraction from Geothermal Systems.

Geothermal Heat Pump Source - Closed Loop, Utilizing Wells:

Wells are often used for a water source with a Geothermal Heat Pump System.

The wells are drilled deep enough to reach water that has a stabilized temperature and thus is more efficient in the operation of extraction of heat from the water.

Disadvantages of The Well-Based Geothermal Heat Pump System:

Disadvantages of the well-based system is if there is a lack of availability for adequate water flow from a well the system will not function properly.

In other words, you will need a good well with a flow of between 15 and 25 gallons per minute or more to meet the demand of a fairly large home.

Secondly, by using a well you are dependent on a well pump (which can fail), and you have to keep up on maintenance or replacement of this pump, or loose you heating system (you would need to operate on the emergency heating mode until repairs are made).

Third: An additional pump (the well pump) uses electrical energy any time the system runs - and it will run a lot during the cold winter nights.

Geothermal Heat Pumps - Compresson and Heat Exchanger Coil

Geothermal Heat Pumps - Compression and Heat Exchanger Coil

Geothermal Heat Pump Source - Closed Loop Utilizing Ground Heat.:

With this type of system you run a loop of piping through the ground and pump a solution with anti-freeze through this ‘closed loop’. A variant to this is to place a loop into a pond to capture the heat from the pond water.

Disadvantages of The Ground-Based Geothermal Heat Pump System:

First, you need to have adequate site area to run the loop or access to to a pond. Your engineer will tell you how much area this will take and you can determine the choice as to whether this is feasible in your circumstance.

Second: There can be quite a lot of excavation involved with the installation of the loop. This is dependent on the latitude you reside in and at what depth you can obtain enough heat in the soil to provide an efficient system. Again this is a decision you can make dependent of the calculations from your engineer.

Geothermal Heat Pumps - Ground Coil In Place for a Closed Loop System

Geothermal Heat Pumps - Ground Coil In Place for a Closed Loop System

Geothermal Heat Pump Source - Open Loop System:

This system utilizes the well for supply similar to the First Source. The water is then discharged into a pond or other water course.

Disadvantages of The Open Loop Geothermal Heat Pump System:

The disadvantages in addition to those of the first source system is that you need a pond to discharge your water, or you should construct pond.

This can pose a problem with your local building authorities and you should check with them before proceeding with planning this type of system.

Advantages of All Geothermal Heat Pump Systems:

We have reviewed all the negatives of each of these systems and you should be well aware of these.

On the positive side, there are a lot of reasons you should consider the Geothermal System:

Gives you the ability to have an entirely electric home which is very easy to add green energy systems to such as solar and wind generation system.

The Geothermal system is very efficient in the world of Heat Pumps and you will see a large energy savings, especially on the cooling side.

You do not have to have a gas line or gas flame within your home.

If you do not have access to natural gas, this may be your best option. Sone utilities give a break on the electrical rate for an totally electric home.