Geothermal Pumps: The Green Way to Heat & Cool

Geothermal pumps can be used to heat, cool, and supply hot water to your home. They are an eco-friendly alternative to traditional systems that use non-renewable energy such as gas, oil, or electricity. These systems access the constant natural temperature found underground in order to maintain temperature in a given space. 

Installation of these geothermal pumps can be expensive, but they pay for themselves many times over in energy savings. Depending on the details of your system, you can expect to start experiencing savings between two to ten years from the time of installation. The reduction of electricity also means a corresponding reduction in the amount of emissions your home produces. The reduction of emissions can be up to 44% compared to air-source heat pumps and 72% compared to electric resistance heating. These are huge savings, both financially and for the environment. 

The type of system best for your home depends on your land. A consultant will need to analyze the geology of the land itself, the amount and type of water on the land, as well as the absolute size and landscape of your lot. There are many suppliers and installers of geothermal heat pumps around the world. You might want to check out the listings on this international site or this US supplier. The complexity and scope of a geothermal pump installation means that this is a project you will need professional help to complete. But before you consult with the experts, you should know the basic types of geothermal pumps available.

There are three main geothermal pump designs: 

  • Closed loop. These are comprised of tubing underground or underwater. The system uses either a heat exchanger or direct transfer system in order to relay the heat above-ground or underground, depending on what is needed.  
  • Open loop. This type of system is possible in areas with wells or other clean surface water. This natural water is the fluid for the heat exchange. This water flows through the system and is then released back to its original location.
  • Hybrid. A combination of different types of systems. Often, these are used when more cooling than heating is needed, since single-type systems are designed to optimize heating over cooling.

Within the Closed Loop category there are three categories of pipe positioning: 
  • Horizontal. The name describes the spatial positioning of the tubing used. In this method, the piping is laid flat at the bottom of trenches. This method requires a lot of land for how much energy is harvested, and so is generally best for residential needs.
  • Vertical. Pipes are laid in the ground vertically, deep into the earth. This is often better for commercial uses since more piping is required, and this option requires less land. 
  • Pond/ Lake. When possible, this is often the lowest cost option. However, it’s only viable if your land has a pond or a lake that is sufficiently large and deep. This method uses circular piping below the surface of the water. 

Be sure to take the efficiency ratings into account during your research. The heating efficiency of a system is usually measured by the Coefficient of Performance (COP). The cooling efficiency is often called the Energy Efficiency Ration (EER). The more efficient, the more savings you will see, and sooner. If you choose to use geothermal, your system will be up to 75% more efficient than a traditional system.



May 21, 2020