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What are Geothermal Heat Pumps?

Among your heating options today, one of the most exciting is the geothermal heat pump. The technology for geothermal systems has existed for many years, but only during the last decade have they started to become popular choices for home comfort. At G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc., we are proud to offer installation of state-of-the-art geothermal heat pumps to provide our customers with safe, economical, and effective heating in Woodinville, WA.

Although most people have a general idea what geothermal energy is, most aren’t certain exactly what a geothermal heat pump does or how it does it. We’ll provide a brief explanation, which will help you understand the benefits you can receive from a geothermal system installation.

Geothermal heat pumps

First, the heat pump part: heat pumps are essentially air conditioners that can switch the direction in which they move heat. Using the circulation of refrigerant, heat pumps remove heat from one place and deposit it in another, leading to the cooling of the first location and the warming of the second. Depending on which mode you set a heat pump, it will act either as an air conditioner or a heater.

Standard heat pumps use air as their exchange medium: they absorb heat from the air and then release it to the air. These are known as air-source heat pumps. But geothermal heat pumps are ground source: they use the warmth of the earth itself to extract and deposit heat.

A geothermal heat pump still uses air as a source inside your home. But the refrigerant coils go down into the ground, usually 6-10 ft. under the surface, where the temperature remains at a steady temperature of around 55°F. During hot weather, the indoor unit of the heat pump absorbs heat from the air and the refrigerant in the coils takes it into the ground. During cold weather, the refrigerant brings up heat from the earth, and it is released into the air indoors.

One of the major advantages of a geothermal system is the steady source of heat: air-source heat pumps can suffer drops in efficiency during extreme cold because they have trouble extracting heat from the chilly air. But geothermal systems always have a stable temperature underground.

Geothermal systems use very little energy compared to other systems, and the savings they offer mean they will usually pay for themselves within 5 to 10 years—and they will last much longer than that.

You need to know up front that one of the disadvantages of geothermal heat pumps is they are not suited for every property. If you are interested in having installation of a geothermal system for your heating system in Woodinville, WA, please contact professional installers before you make your choice. Our geothermal experts at G&S Heating, Cooling & Electrical, Inc. can determine if a ground-source heat pump will work for you, and can suggest excellent alternatives as well.

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