Here in southwest Ohio, our air temperature varies a lot over the course of a year, and quite a bit even within the same day. But several feet below the surface of our planet the situation is very different. The temperature slightly underground is always moderate and consistently ranges from about 40 to 75 degrees all over the world. This is how geothermal heat pumps are able to provide year-round energy savings.
In wintertime, it’s warmer below the earth’s surface and during summer the ground is cooler than the outdoor air. A geothermal heat pump exploits nature’s law by moving heat between your home and the earth with heat-exchanging equipment to provide heating or air conditioning, and sometimes hot water, as needed. An alternative for some local homeowners is the water-source pump, which exchanges heat with a body of water near the house.
A geothermal heat pump operates extremely efficiently compared to a standard furnace and air conditioning system. Geothermal systems that include variable-speed fans and compressors are even more energy efficient. Dual-source heat pumps are an attractive option; less expensive to install, they’re able to use either air or ground sources and run nearly as efficiently as variable-speed systems. The federal Department of Energy estimates that about 50,000 geothermal heat pumps are in use in U.S. homes. Their increasing popularity reflects the facts that a geothermal system is:
- Low maintenance
- Longer-lasting; geothermal systems typically last 25 years (indoor equipment) and over 50 years (for the in-ground piping)
- Highly energy efficient
- Relatively inexpensive to operate (lower energy bills)
- Not dependent on outside air temperature
The initial price and installation costs of geothermal energy systems are much higher than air-source systems of similar capacity. However, the extra expense is generally recouped within five to 10 years through lower utility bills.
If you’re curious about geothermal energy and year-round energy savings, talk to the experts at Detmer & Sons. We’ll be glad to explain your options and help you decide if a geothermal system is right for you. Visit our website to learn more or just give us a call.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about year-round energy savings and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.