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geothermal heating

Geothermal Heating

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Geothermal heating is one of the most revolutionary ways of heating and cooling a home. It involves cycling ground water through underground piping and into a heat pump where it then heats or cools a room to the desired temperature. It is a very efficient method of controlling temperature, and a geothermal heating system can essentially pay for itself in only a few short years.

Geothermal Heating Basics

A geothermal unit consists of an above-ground heat pump and underground piping. Water is forced through the underground piping and heated by geothermal pockets underneath the earth’s surface. This heat is then transferred to a heat exchanger, where it is forced out and used to warm the area. The switch can be reversed in the summer, and this allows heat from the home to be moved out by using these same pipes. Water constantly re-circulates throughout the system so there is no waste and no danger of it being inoperable during a drought.

Providing Hot Water

Some models can also be equipped with special features known as desuperheaters, which help heat water for a home. It involves a special condenser located in the main cabinet of the unit itself. This condenser is then connected with special fittings to the home’s water heater. Water tends to be heated more efficiently during the winter, since the geothermal unit is already programmed to warm the water that flows through it. A desuperheater tends to cost more than a traditional water heater would, but since it can provide hot water at no additional charge, it can be a nice option to consider.

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 geothermal heating costs

Advantages of a Geothermal Heating System

In addition to providing hot water, there are a number of other advantages to geothermal heating units. A geothermal heating system costs less than other heating and cooling units since the water that flows through the pipes remains at a constant temperature. This means the water used to heat a home only needs to be warmed a few degrees, thereby making it more efficient. Geothermal heating can be installed even in rocky soils or locations that are not near large bodies of water. They are simple to operate, provide comfortably warm heat and pose little hazards to users. Geothermal systems require similar maintenance as conventional heat pumps or boilers.

Considerations

When considering geothermal heating, consumers are often put off by the price. While they can be more expensive initially than for instance installing a gas boiler, their energy systems allow them to pay for themselves in only a few short years. They also cannot operate without electricity, so they must be connected to a generator if they are to operate during a power outage. Since these units are partially placed outdoors, they can become an attractive nuisance for vandals and thieves. These systems can be difficult to install whenever underground pipes or utility lines are already present in an area.

Cost-Influencing Factors

When it comes to determining geothermal heating costs, contractors primarily base this figure on the size of the building where the system is installed. The amount of underground piping can vary based upon the terrain, and uneven or heavily wooded terrain tends to require longer lengths. This in turn will affect the overall cost. Adding special features such as a desuperheater will cost homeowners more as will purchasing an extended warranty or maintenance plan.

Geothermal heating systems are generally very safe and quiet to operate. As a result, homeowners can receive a great deal of enjoyment from these units in addition to their cost-saving features. If you’re looking to upgrade your old system, a geothermal unit could be just the right choice for your lifestyle and budget.

Your geothermal heating questions answered

What is geothermal heating?

Geothermal heating is a method of using the constant temperature of the earth as the exchange medium to provide heat to residential, commercial and industrial spaces. It is incredibly efficient, and geothermal pumps usually have a very long life.

Are there different types of geothermal heating?

There are four main kinds of geothermal heat pumps, including horizontal (best for residential areas), vertical (best for large commercial buildings), pond or lake systems (for sites with an adequate water source) and hybrid systems, which use several geothermal resources.

Can geothermal heating be installed anywhere?

Yes. Geothermal heating should not be confused with geothermal energy, which relies on hot spots in the earth's crust. Geothermal heating simply relies on the constant temperature 5-6 feet below ground.

What are the pros and cons of geothermal heating?

Geothermal heating can be used almost anywhere. We say almost because it can be difficult or impossible to install in place with a shallow water table. This prevents the use of any underground installation for heating or cooling.

How do I know if I am a good candidate for geothermal heating?

You will need to have an analysis of your groundwater performed to determine what the average temperature of it is. We can help you find technicians to perform this analysis when you fill out our easy, online quote form.

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