air-source versus geothermal

Air-Source Versus Geothermal Heat Pump in an Epic Battle!


Air-source versus geothermal in an fight to the death!


Okay, not really. Obviously, inanimate HVAC units can’t literally battle one another, but a comparison between conventional air-source heat pumps and geothermal can be done.


So, let’s do that.


Air-Source Versus Geothermal – A Clash of Titans!


First, what’s the difference between an air-source heat pump and a geothermal heat pump?


Not as much as you might think.


Both types of heat pump operate using the same basic principles. Each requires a coolant of one type or another to move heat around an environment. They move the heat out of your house in summer, which is always nice, then they pump it back into your house in winter. This simple process delivers effective air comfort in, theoretically, every season.


So, if geothermal and air-source heat pumps work basically the same way, then why bother with a geothermal unit in the first place? After all, most air-source heat pumps are far cheaper to buy and much simpler to install. Aren’t they the obvious victor in the air-source versus geothermal battle?


There Is Just One Thing….


It’s all about them Benjamins, am I right?


Er, well, in this case it’s all about the source of the heat our different heat pumps are moving. Air-source heat pumps, as should be obvious from the name, rely on the Earth’s atmosphere. They, literally, draw heat out of the air in order to deliver heat to you.


This works fine most of the time. In spring and fall, an air-source heat pump will do a terrific job keeping your house nice and warm. It will even work on relatively mild winter days.




When it gets really, really cold an air-source heat pumps starts running into problems. There’s less heat in the air, so the heat pump has to draw more power to get what it needs. If it gets cold enough, the heat pump can stop working altogether.


Most people agree that is a bad thing.


Geothermal is Different


Which is why we have geothermal heat pumps in the first place. They don’t rely on the air as either a heat source or a heat sink. If a geothermal heat pump needs to move heat into your home on a cold winter day, it yanks that heat out of the subterranean environment underneath your house.


You might be surprised to learn that this underground area will maintain a relatively stable temperature throughout much of the year. Only the coldest regions of the country with truly severe winter weather experience the kind of ground freeze that would reduce geothermal operating efficiency. Most Americans could run a geothermal unit at 100% efficiency on any day of the year.


So, it seems to us here at GeoCool that in the immortal air-source versus geothermal battle there is a clear winner – geothermal.


We maybe biased though.


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