The Simple Features and Functions of a Geothermal Heat Pump

One of the most unexpected things about a geothermal heating and cooling system is that it has so few moving parts. There’s just that much less that can go wrong– that much less needing maintenance. And that alone makes a significant difference in lowering the overall energy costs of East Tennessee homeowners who’ve gone geothermal.

 

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

This is the engine that drives the system. Its task is to transfer heat. And it transfers heat either from the ground into your house or from your house into the ground, depending on seasonal temperatures. Thus, it’s a furnace and an air conditioner rolled into one discreet package.

How the heat pump transfers heat is with water or an antifreeze solution. This liquid courses through underground loops of pipe that are linked 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 the heat is then is circulated 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 somewhere in the process, various geothermal systems also supply domestic hot water.

The basic distinction between a geothermal heat pump and a more familiar furnace is that a heat pump doesn’t ignite fuel to generate heat. No, indeed, it takes heat that’s already there and just moves it around. That naturally makes it a much more efficient heating and cooling system. Understand this, too: underground temperatures generally remain at around 50º F all year long. Result? A geothermal heating and cooling system uses considerably less energy to cool your home than regular air conditioners.

So … is a geothermal system best for your East Tennessee home? See this region’s geothermal specialists, the friendly folks at Geo Pros of Knoxville.