Tapping into Earth as an energy resource is an age-old practice, not just something read about in sci-fi literature. Geothermal heat pumps, also known as ground source heat pumps (GSHP), do just this to heat and cool homes in a highly efficient manner.
So just what is a heat pump? A heat pump is different than more traditional heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, like forced-air systems, in that it transfers heat from location to location, like from outdoors here in Rock Hill to indoors, instead of creating its own heat or cool air.
At Panther Heating and Cooling, we know what it takes to keep you comfortable in your home. And a heat pump could be an ideal solution for you.
How Do They Work?
The earth remains at a constant temperature, and down about six to 10 feet below the surface the temperature is steadily reading between 45 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on its location. Tapping into this temperature allows geothermal heat pumps to operate in most any climate for heating and cooling.
In the cooler months, the geothermal heat pump takes its heat from the ground and transfers it indoors to warm your house. In the warmer months, it extracts the warm air from your home and dumps it outdoors to the cooler ground. All this earth heat exchange is conducted via the outdoor ground heat exchanger.
The ground heat exchanger is one of three parts in a geothermal heat pump system. The other two parts are the indoor heat pump unit and the ductwork, or the air-delivery system. The ground heat exchanger is the system of pipes used in either an open-loop or closed-loop system. The majority of the systems installed in the United States used a closed-loop system with their geothermal heat pumps.
The difference between an open-loop and closed-loop system is the use of groundwater. An open-loop system connects directly to a groundwater source, like a pond or a well, and pumps the water directly to the heat pump for heating and cooling. A closed-loop system is comprised of a series of looping pipes underground filled with a heat-exchanging liquid that continually travels through the pipes. These pipes either can be installed vertically or horizontally, depending on your South Carolina yard.
In an open-loop geothermal heat pump, the ground-sourced water is directly pumped to the heat pump. The heat is extracted from the water and transferred to a refrigerant, processed by the heat pump, and sent to your home.
When the water cools, it returns to its source through a separate discharge well, or it’s pumped back to the pond. When cool air is needed, the heat is extracted from your home’s air and then cooled by the source water.
In a closed-loop system, the fluid that runs through the underground-buried piping, usually plastic, absorbs the heat from the earth and travels to the indoor heat pump and compressor. They concentrate the heat, then the indoor coil disperses it into your home.
Once the fluid is cooled, it circulates back through the piping again to absorb more heat. When the temperatures inside your home are hotter and cool air is what’s wanted, just like with the open-loop system, the heat is extracted. But here, the cool earth absorbs the heat.
In both these systems, the warmer or cooler air is distributed throughout your home by your ductwork.
Do They Have Any Advantages?
Though these heat pumps are more costly to install, they have several advantages to compensate for their initial costs that are worth considering:
• They can be installed in almost any climate due to the constant temperature of the below-surface earth.
• These heat pumps are extremely efficient and can save up to 25 to 50 percent on energy per year compared to more traditional heating and cooling systems.
• Because many of these systems are located underground, their maintenance is extremely low beyond filter changes and periodic checks.
• When properly maintained, depending on the type of system installed, you can expect a system life span of more than 20 years.
• According to US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), geothermal heat pumps are the most environmentally safe and cost-effective heating and cooling system available.
• Their environmental footprint is extremely small. They don’t use fossil fuels to operate nor do they expel any fumes, odors, flames, or carbon monoxide.
• These systems, heat and cool your home evenly, not producing the uneven hot and cold air blasts associated with more traditional systems. They are also quieter than other systems–usually about the same level of noise as your refrigerator.
Contact Us Today
Our Panther Heating and Cooling team members here in Rock Hill, South Carolina, are experts at installing, repairing, and maintaining geothermal heat pumps. Call 803-327-2700 or request service online to speak with one of our professionals today if you have any questions or are considering installing one of these heating and cooling systems.
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Geothermal Heat Pumps
What Is Geothermal Energy?
Geothermal energy is the heat from the earth. It can be found almost anywhere, including South Carolina.
Geothermal heating capitalizes on the fact that temperatures in the Earth remain fairly constant when digging just a few feet below the surface. Whether you live somewhere where temperatures fluctuate or somewhere with a more constant temperature, the temperature below the surface stays relatively the same.
The upper part of the earth’s crust, roughly the first ten feet of ground, can maintain a temperature between about 50°F and 60°F. Geothermal heat pumps can use this energy to heat and cool buildings while using less energy than a typical heating and cooling system.
Geothermal heat pumps do not burn fossil fuels; instead they simply transfer heat from the earth to your home and back out. Because these pumps harness the earth’s available energy, they can save you anywhere from 30 to 70 percent on your bill over the next five to ten years.
Say it’s 5°F one night during the winter, and you have your thermostat set for a cozy 72°F in your home. It takes a lot less energy to reach your desired temperature if the starting point is 55°F using a geothermal heat pump.
How Does Geothermal Work?
Geothermal heating and cooling systems use a series of equipment and piping to transfer the earth’s energy to and from your house. A heat pump exchanger is the series of pipes called the “loop.” This loop of pipes is buried in the ground either vertically or horizontally, depending on the geography of the region. A fluid (usually water mixed with environmentally friendly antifreeze) is circulated through the pipes to absorb and dispel the heat from the ground. This heat is then extracted by the heat pump unit and delivered in or out of your living spaces using conventional ductwork air delivery systems.
Don’t Let The Name Fool You!
Geothermal heat pumps can heat and cool a building. They can even be equipped to provide hot water.
Will It Work In My Building?
Geothermal heat pumps are flexible and can be installed in new construction or retrofitted to work with existing systems.
Geothermal Is Environmentally Friendly!
Geothermal systems require very little maintenance and are environmentally conscious. These systems use the least amount of electricity, reduce air and water pollution, and produce the fewest emissions. They are safe for the environment as well as your home. They also provide the most stable comfort level, with more efficient humidity control and less noise.
Edgar and Enrique serviced the call and did an excellent job, even better than I had hoped. They replaced the metalwork and neatly caulked with care and precision. Panther is the team you want when it comes to HVAC and their team members make it a pleasure.
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