The Fundamental Features and Functions of a Geothermal Heat Pump

What most homeowners say they appreciate most about a geothermal heating and cooling system is that it has almost no moving parts. There’s just that much less that can get screwed up– that much less needing maintenance. And that by itself makes a great difference in reducing the overall energy costs of Western Montana homeowners who’ve gone geothermal.

 

Of course, the system isn’t free of all moving parts. the bulk of them are found in its most conspicuous component, too: the geothermal heat pump.

This is the system’s engine. Its task 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 season30. Consequently, it’s a furnace and an air conditioner combined in one discreet package.

The medium by which a heat pump transfers heat is either water or an antifreeze solution. This liquid flows through underground loops of pipe that are secured 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 dispensed throughout a home by either a forced air or a hydronic system. During cooling season the process is reversed: the pump draws heat from your home and transfers it to the ground through those same buried loops. Oh, and somewhere along the way, more than a few geothermal systems also produce domestic hot water.

The essential difference between a geothermal heat pump and a standard furnace is that a heat pump doesn’t burn fuel to generate heat. Instead it takes heat that’s already there and just moves it around. That naturally makes it a much more efficient heating and cooling system. Recognize this, too: underground temperatures generally stay at around 50º F all year long. Result? A geothermal heating and cooling system requires significantly less energy to cool your home than standard air conditioners.

So … is a geothermal system best for your Western Montana home? See this area’s geothermal experts, the helpful folks at Ground Source Systems, Inc..