Geothermal heat pumps are supposedly these amazing machines that do everything for everyone, but is the hype real? Do geothermal heat pumps really heat and cool? Is it all too good to be true? Do all dogs go to Heaven? How much wood can a woodchuck reliably chuck?
I don’t have all the answers, but I do know one thing:
Yes, Geothermal Heat Pumps Really Heat and Cool
Geothermal heat pumps really heat and cool, and it’s great for homeowners across the country. Of course, the question you are probably asking now is, “Okay, so how do they do that?”
It’s science, folks – very, very good science.
Ground-Source Beats Air-Source
A basic heat pump, sometimes called an air-source heat pump, relies on the refrigeration cycle to heat and cool your home. Basically, these systems use a chemical refrigerant to move heat from one location to another. When you need cooling the heat pump extracts the heat from inside your house. When you want to stay warm the heat pump takes outside heat and pumps it inside.
The problem with a regular heat pump and heating has to do with one simple fact: cold winter air doesn’t have a lot of heat in it. The less heat, the less efficiently an air-source heat pump functions. If it gets cold enough, the heat pump will stop working altogether.
Geothermal heat pumps solve this problem very easily. Instead of relying on the air as a heat source and heat sink, a ground-source unit uses the Earth itself. A closed loop pipe network buried only a few feet beneath the ground surface gives a geothermal heat pump access to a stable temperature environment all year long. This means it can always heat you up when you’re getting cold. And, of course, can always keep you cool no matter how hot it gets outside.
Now you see how geothermal heat pumps really heat and cool whenever you need them, in just about every weather condition.
Except maybe earthquakes. I’m not too sure about that.