The Basic Science of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Quite a few residents here in Southern Ohio, Ohio, have recruited Daniel's HVAC, LLC to upgrade their homes to geothermal homes. Still leery of geothermal heating and cooling yourself? Comprehending a little of the science behind it – and the mechanics as well – might help.

We’ve written elsewhere about the virtues of geothermal heating and cooling. It’s quite sufficient to say here that hardly any other means of maintaining apleasant home environment all year long are as efficient, trustworthy, or economical, especially when you gauge the energy savings.

Here’s how geothermal works its magic.

Thar’s Gold Heat in Them Thar Hills!

We dig in the earth for precious metals. We dig in the earth for oil. Now, as never before, we’re tapping the earth for something likely just as valuable to most of us: the energy to heat and cool our homes that doesn’t call for oil.

You see, close beneath the earth’s crust – that would be roughly 33,000 feet under our feet – is a stratum of magma. This is a molten and semi-molten blend, primarily of silicates, in which temperatures vary from 1300 degrees Fahrenheit to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit and hotter the deeper you go (not that you’d want to go there!). What this does is keep the ground immediately under the earth’s surface at a reasonably stable year-round temperature of between 45 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. So? Underground temperatures in Southern Ohio (and most places stateside, anyway) are warmer than the ambient air above ground in Winter and cooler than the ambient air above ground in Summer.

Time to Get Pumped!

This, then, is what geothermal heating and cooling systems do: they transfer heat from the ground  to your home or heat from your home to the ground, in accordance with the season. Either way, your home remains at an optimal temperature to keep you and your family comfortable all year long.

The apparatus that accomplishes the transfer is a geothermal heat pump. It continuously circulates water or some blend (typically antifreeze) between your home and loops of pipe (typically fashioned of polyethylene, high-density polyethylene, PVC, or CPVC) placed in the ground. In Winter, the liquid is cold when it enters the ground. As it courses through the loops, it sucks up heat from the earth and is reintroduced to your home warm. In Summer, the process is reversed: warm liquid is brought into the loops, where it takes in the cooler ground temperatures before it’s returned to your home. Need details? You’ll find more specific information on ground loops here.

The central point is that geothermal heating and cooling systems don’t produce energy. They aren’t like central heating systems, which generate heat themselves. Instead, geothermal systems heat and cool your home by putting to use the energy already amply available beneath the earth’s surface. That’s why geothermal systems not only run quieter but also are a lot more dependable, need less maintenance, have significantly longer lifespans, and are more environmentally friendly than standard HVACs. That’s also why, ultimately, you’ll save much more more money by going geothermal.

Curious now? Talk with Daniel's HVAC, LLC, your Southern Ohio geothermal heating and cooling specialist, today.