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How Do I Know if Geothermal Is Right for Me?
In evaluating the viability of switching to geothermal power, you will have to take many different factors into consideration. For instance, you will need to have enough space around your house for the installation to be carried out. You will also need to know how much you currently spend on home cooling and heating costs so that you can get a good sense of how much you stand to save by switching to geothermal.
You can certainly figure out a lot of this on your own, but it can also be helpful to talk to an experienced professional as you try and work through your options. They will likely be able to point out benefits and drawbacks of a geothermal system that you may not have thought of otherwise and can they help you put together a realistic picture of how much you will stand to save by switching to this type of system.
How Does a Geothermal Heat Pump Work?
A geothermal heat pump is able to warm your house in the winter by extracting heat from the ground and transferring that heat into your house. In order for this to happen, however, a loop of pipe needs to be installed under the ground around your home. Liquid, usually a mixture of water and antifreeze, is circulated through this loop of pipe and as it passes through the area surrounded by soil, the liquid absorbs heat.
Once it returns to your house, the heat in the liquid is released and used to heat the air, which can then be circulated throughout your house by a blower and air handler. After it has released its heat, the liquid then cycles back down into the underground portion of pipe loop and begins the process all over again.
In the summer, this cycle can actually be reversed so that the heat is absorbed from inside your house and transferred to the ground just outside. The simple fact that the ground is always cooler than the air in summer and warmer than the air in winter makes all of this possible.
How Much Will I Save with a Geothermal Heat Pump?
The specific amount you will save when you switch to geothermal power for your home heating and cooling needs will depend to a great degree on how much you are currently spending and how much you use your heating and cooling systems. In general, however, a geothermal heat pump is between 50% and 70% more energy efficient than other types of heating systems available and between 20% and 40% more efficient than a typical central air conditioning system.
Do I Need a Horizontal or Vertical Loop Installation?
The type of geothermal loop installation that will be appropriate for your home will depend for the most part on how much space you have surrounding your house and what type of climate you live in. While all geothermal heating systems can still extract heat from the ground even when the top layer is frozen, you may want to opt for a vertical installation if the ground in your area is frozen for a large part of the year.
A vertical installation is also a better option when you do not have enough space around your home to accommodate a horizontal installation. However, a horizontal installation can work perfectly well in moderate climates and is generally cheaper than a vertical one.