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How Does Geothermal Heating Work? A Step-By-Step Guide

Geothermal Heating

Geothermal heating and cooling systems provide the most energy-efficient means to control temperatures inside Grand Rapids homes and businesses. While it’s not a new technology, many people have either not heard of it or aren’t aware of how it works. In our most recent blog, the HVAC technicians at A-1 Mechanical discuss how geothermal heat pumps work and their benefits to help you better understand this amazing HVAC technology!

Parts of a Geothermal Heating & Cooling System

Our step-by-step guide on geothermal heating and cooling systems begins with an explanation of how these systems’ components work. Geothermal systems consist of three main parts: a ground loop, a heat pump, and a distribution system.

  • The ground loop is a piping system that is buried on the property. It is either a closed loop or an open loop, which opens into a water source nearby, such as a pond or well. These underground pipes are filled with fluid that assists in heat exchange.
  • The geothermal heat pump exchanges heat between the air and the ground loop system, extracting heat from the air or the ground loop depending on whether heating or cooling is in use.
  • The distribution system is the method which delivers heated or cooled air throughout the home. Forced air geothermal HVAC systems use ductwork to deliver conditioned air inside, just like a conventional furnace or air conditioning system. Some geothermal heating and cooling systems may be configured with hydronic distribution, a network of fluid-filled piping that runs throughout the home to carry heat energy. The heat pump’s heat exchanger exchanges heat between the fluid in these pipes and the fluid within the ground loop instead of between the air and ground loop fluid.

How Does a Geothermal Heat Pump Work?

A geothermal system works by exchanging heat between the air and the ground. Because temperatures below ground remain consistent around 55 degrees Fahrenheit all year, there is always significant energy available to heat your home – and it’s free energy! Here’s a step-by-step explanation of how ground source heat pumps provide heat for your home:

  1. Fluid within the ground loop absorbs heat from the surrounding earth.
  2. This fluid is pumped through the ground loop up to the heat pump, which is housed inside the home.
  3. The heat pump’s heat exchanger uses the energy to warm the air that passes through the unit.
  4. The heated air circulates through the ductwork into indoor areas throughout the home or building.

Ground source heat pumps are great because they also provide indoor cooling! Here’s how a geothermal system works for cooling:

  1. The heat pump’s heat exchanger extracts heat from the air circulating through the system.
  2. The heat pump transfers this heat to the fluid within the system.
  3. The fluid is pumped down through the ground loop, carrying heat.
  4. Heat from the fluid is deposited into the earth or water source that serves as the system’s heat sink, or receptacle for heat energy.

Contact A-1 Mechanical for Your Home’s Heating and Cooling Needs

You should consider this highly efficient heating and cooling system for your Grand Rapids area home or business. Gain extremely low-cost comfort, quiet operation, and long operating life with a new geothermal heating and cooling system. Contact A-1 Mechanical today to request an estimate.

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