The Fundamental Features and Functions of a Geothermal Heat Pump

What the great majority of homeowners say they like most of all about a geothermal heating and cooling system is that it has almost no moving parts. There’s just that much less that can break down– that much less to keep up. And that in itself goes a long way toward slashing the overall energy costs of Richmond homeowners who’ve gone geothermal.

 

Still, the system does have some moving parts. Most of them are found in its most essential component, too: the geothermal heat pump.

This is the engine that drives the system. Its role 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. As such, it’s a furnace and an air conditioner united in one compact 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 connected 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 from there the heat is distributed throughout a home by means of either a forced air or a hydronic system. During cooling season the exact opposite happens: the pump draws heat from your home and transfers it underground via those same buried loops. Oh, and as an extra perk, many geothermal systems also supply domestic hot water.

The critical differentiator between a geothermal heat pump and a more familiar furnace is that a heat pump doesn’t set fuel afire to generate heat. No, indeed, it takes heat that already exists and just moves it around. That naturally makes it a much more efficient heating and cooling system. Bear this in mind, too: underground temperatures most often stay at around 50º F through the year. And that means? A geothermal heating and cooling system requires substantially less energy to cool your home than typical air conditioners.

So … is a geothermal system the best solution for your Richmond home? Consult with this area’s geothermal pros, the cordial people at DeltaTemp.