Q: What makes a geothermal system different from other systems?
A: Geothermal systems do not burn fossil fuel to generate heat; they simply transfer the heat to and from the earth to provide a more efficient and environmentally friendly method of heating and cooling. Only electric is used to operate these systems.
Q: What are the components of a geothermal system?
A: (1.) The geothermal heat pump. (2.) The energy source from well water, ground, or pond. (3.) The energy delivery system inside the home. Either duct work or radiant floor heating.
Q: How efficient is a geothermal system?
A: A geothermal system is 30-70% more efficient in heating, and more than twice as efficient in cooling as the most efficient ordinary system. Geothermal systems remove energy from the ground and make that energy useable to heat our homes. These systems will provide 4-5 dollars of heat from one dollar worth of electricity.
Q: How does a geothermal heat pump work?
A: The geothermal heat pump has the ability to move energy from the ground to the home or from the home to the ground. The compressor in the unit is used to evaluate the temperature of the refrigerant to 160˚ to 180˚. The energy is transferred from the water to the refrigerant. The refrigerant then changes from a liquid to a gas and then back from a gas to a liquid. This change of state allows us to transfer heat into the home in the winter and transfer heat out of the home in the summer.
Q: What is a closed loop system?
A: A closed loop system uses a continuous loop of buried polyethylene pipe. The pipe is connected to the indoor heat pump to form a sealed underground loop through which an antifreeze-and-water solution is circulated. Most closed loops are drilled vertically in our area and in areas adjacent to the building. However, where adequate land is available, loops can be installed horizontally.
Q: What is an open loop system?
A: An open loop system uses groundwater from an ordinary well as a source. The groundwater is pumped into the heat pump unit where heat is extracted and the water is disposed of in an environmentally safe manner. Because groundwater is a relatively constant temperature year-round, wells are an excellent heat source.
Q: How long is the payback period for a geothermal system?
A: The payback on a geothermal system can be from 0 to 7 years. On a new home, the system can usually save enough money per year to make up what it costs extra to install the system. In an existing home, the payback can vary from 3 to 8 years depending upon what rebates or grants that are available and the cost of electric. They also should reduce maintenance costs and increase the value of the home.