The Basic Science of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

More than a few residents here in East Tennessee, Tennessee, have engaged Geo Pros of Knoxville to upgrade their homes to geothermal homes. Still leery of geothermal heating and cooling yourself? Comprehending a smidgen of the science behind it – and the mechanics as well – would probably help.

We’ve described elsewhere the rewards of geothermal heating and cooling. It’s enough to say here that few other manner of maintaining apleasant home environment all year long are as efficient, trustworthy, or economical, especially when you gauge the energy savings.

Here’s how geothermal works its magic.

Thar’s Gold Heat in Them Thar Hills!

We tap the earth for precious metals. We tap the earth for oil. Now, more than ever, we’re tapping the earth for a treasure no doubt just as valuable to many of us: the energy to heat and cool our homes that doesn’t involve oil.

You see, just under the earth’s crust – that would be roughly 33,000 feet under our feet – is a stratum of magma. This is a molten and semi-molten blend, primarily of silicates, in which temperatures run from 1300 degrees Fahrenheit to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit and hotter the deeper you go (not that you’d want to go there!). What this does is keep the ground immediately under the earth’s surface at a relatively stable year-round temperature of between 45 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. So? Underground temperatures in East Tennessee (and essentially everywhere stateside, in any event) are warmer than the ambient air above ground in Winter and cooler than the ambient air above ground in Summer.

Time to Get Pumped!

The purpose, then, of a geothermal heating and cooling system is to|Underground temperatures being what they are, then, it’s the job of a geothermal heating and cooling system to transfer heat from the ground  to your home or heat from your home to the ground, as the season dictates. Either way, your home stays at an optimal temperature to keep you and your family comfortable, whatever the season.

The appiance that accomplishes the transfer is a geothermal heat pump. It continuously circulates water or some solution (typically antifreeze) between your home and loops of pipe (typically made of polyethylene, high-density polyethylene, PVC, or CPVC) placed in the ground. In Winter, the liquid is cold when it enters the ground. As it travels through the loops, it takes in heat from the earth and is returned to your home warm. In Summer, the process is reversed: warm liquid enters the loops, where it assimilates the cooler ground temperatures before it’s returned to your home. Want details? You’ll find more thorough information on ground loops here.

The key point is that geothermal heating and cooling systems don’t produce energy. They aren’t like central heating systems, which generate heat themselves. Instead, geothermal systems heat and cool your home by employing the energy already abundantly available beneath the earth’s surface. That’s why geothermal systems don’t only run quieter but also prove a lot more trustworthy, need less maintenance, have much longer lifespans, and are more environmentally friendly than old-school HVACs. That’s also why, in the long run, you’ll save much more more money by going geothermal.

Curious now? Talk with Geo Pros of Knoxville, your East Tennessee geothermal heating and cooling specialist, today.