What is Geothermal Heating and Cooling?

Geothermal energy can be used to heat and cool a home but what exactly is it and will it work for your needs?

Renewable EnergyWhat is Geothermal Heating and Cooling?

Geothermal energy is a pollution-free renewable energy source that can be used to heat and cool a home, or water. It works by using the stable, consistent temperature of the Earth to transfer heating and cooling through underground piping to the interior of the home.

Closed and Open Loop Systems

There are two main kinds of Geothermal Heating Systems: closed loops and open loops. Closed loop systems reuse the same fluid and pump it through on a continuous closed loop. Open loop systems use well water or another source of clean water such as a lake or stream on the property. The most common systems are closed loop systems.

What parts does it use?

A Geothermal Heat Pump is made of a heat exchanger, compressor, and a control system that regulates the process.

How does it work?

A Geothermal Heating System is made of fluid-filled tubes buried underground that exchange heat with the soil, pumping the fluid to a heat pump that removes heat from the fluid and transfers it to the home or building using duct work. The fluid used can be groundwater, water infused with antifreeze, or another refrigerant that circulates through the tubes in the ground.

During the winter, the temperature underground is higher than the outside air. The cool liquid traveling from the house is heated in the underground tubes and returns with warmed liquid to the heat pump, which is then concentrated to transfer heat to the home.

After the heat has been transferred from the underground fluid to the heat pump and into the house, the leftover cool air is sent back out into the underground tubes to continue the transfer process again.

In the summer, the process is reversed as the temperature in the ground is cooler than the outdoor temperatures. The lower temperature refrigerant absorbs heat from the house, which is sent through the underground tubing and returned with cooler fluid to be concentrated and dispersed in the home as air conditioning.

What are benefits of Geothermal Heating and Cooling?

In addition to being a renewable source of energy, there is no pollution output from the use of a fossil fuels such as natural gas, propane or oil. Since Geothermal Energy is highly efficient, there are tax incentives to help offset the cost of a new system.

How long has it been used?

Geothermal energy started being used in the 1940’s to heat water. With time, it then was used to generate electricity, then heat and air conditioning through Ground Source Heat Pumps.

Are there tax incentives?

The United States Environmental Protection Agency administers an ENERGY STAR Program. This program is offering a 26% tax credit for systems placed in service after 12/31/2019 and before 1/01/2023 or a 22% tax credit for systems placed in service after 12/31/2022 and before 1/01/2024.

Click here to learn more about the ENERGY STAR Renewable Energy Tax Credit.

For more questions about Geothermal Heating and Cooling, contact us at Pilchuck Heating.

Additional Information:

7 Summer Energy Saving Tips

Should I Install Air Conditioning or a Heat Pump?

How to Conduct a Home Energy Assessment

What is the Best Way to Heat my Garage or Shop?

How to Conduct a Home Energy Assessment