Our job as HVAC professionals is to help our customers find the best solutions for their home’s comfort and safety. For some, that conjures up the idea of a furnace keeping a family warm during a blizzard. For others, the perfect chill of an AC breeze after a long run. Not many of you thought of channeling heat from deep in the Earth directly to your home. However, this is something that we do! It’s called a geothermal heat pump and we want to take some time to explain how it works, so you can know if it’s the right option for you and your family.
What Can a GHP do?
Let’s take some time to break things down. Before we get into geothermal, let’s talk about a heat pump. A heat pump is a common HVAC system. The premise is that it exchanges heat between outdoor and indoor environments. Due to this, heat pumps almost always come as a pair of machines working together. The great innovation of this idea is that the system can move heat in both directions. That means the same unit can heat or cool your home. Pretty cool, right?
Heat pumps can be used in any climate. However, while they gain in flexibility, they lose a bit when it comes to raw power. For example, a fossil fuel burning furnace can heat a home much more quickly. Still, the statement stands that a heat pump is great in any climate particularly with some of the new systems that are entering the market.
So, What’s Geothermal?
You know what a heat pump is and why so many people have chosen this type of system for their home. Now, we’ll spend some time explaining what makes a geothermal heat pump a unique and fantastic choice for your home’s HVAC needs.
Almost any invention in history comes about as the solution to a problem. The geothermal heat pump is no different. It all comes back to the science of heat transfer. HVAC engineers and innovators realized that if you had a sustainable source of heat you could make the system run on less than half the energy. It’s much harder to extract heat from lukewarm air than a blazing hot desert. Luckily, we all have access to that kind of energy if you’re willing to drill. No, we don’t mean oil and fossil fuels, we mean geothermal energy.
Geo meaning earth and thermal meaning heat, geothermal energy simply means energy derived from the heat from the ground. The most familiar example of geothermal energy are the abundant hot springs around the world, but that energy is accessible if you’re willing to tap into it by drilling a little less than 30 feet into the ground for it.
What are the Pros and Cons?
As we mentioned, our number one goal is to assist our customers in implementing the system that will work best for them and their family. It’s possible that geothermal isn’t the system for you, but it’s great to at least understand that it is an option.
The cons are that the upfront price is greater because we need to drill down quite a ways into the earth to make use of geothermal energy. The pros are just about everything else. The ability to access constantly warm temperatures makes heating your home much more effective. You can expect to reduce your electric bill by over half. If you’re switching from a furnace or other fossil fuel burning system, the savings are even better and you’ll get the peace of mind from knowing your heating isn’t adding emissions to the atmosphere directly. The idea sounds crazy at first, but it’s the new trend in heating and cooling and it might be right for you!
If you want to learn more about geothermal heat pumps, fill out an online contact form or call us at (616) 319-2121. We take the health of our technicians and customers seriously. We’ve taken steps to keep you safe while we work on your home.