The Fundamental How and Why of a Geothermal Heat Pump

One of the most appreciated things about a geothermal heating and cooling system is that it has almost no moving parts. There’s just that much less that can go haywire– that much less needing maintenance. And that in and of itself goes a long way toward decreasing the overall energy costs of West Chester homeowners who’ve gone geothermal.

 

Of course, the system does have some moving parts. Most of them are found in its most vital component, too: the geothermal heat pump.

This is the system’s powerplant. Its purpose is to transfer heat. And it transfers heat either from the ground into your house or from your house into the ground, depending on ambient temperatures. That being the case, it’s a furnace and an air conditioner integrated into one unobtrusive package.

What, then, does a heat pump use to transfer heat? Water! Well, that or a solution containing antifreeze. This liquid circulates through underground loops of pipe that are secured to the above-ground heat pump. During heating season the liquid draws heat from the ground, the heat pump draws the warm liquid up into refrigerant coils, and the heat is then is circulated throughout a home by either a forced air or a hydronic system. During cooling season the exact opposite happens: the pump draws heat from your home and transfers it underground through those same buried loops. Oh, and somewhere in all this, various geothermal systems also supply domestic hot water.

The essential difference between a geothermal heat pump and a standard furnace is that a heat pump doesn’t set fuel burning to generate heat. No, indeed, it takes heat that’s already there and merely moves it around. That naturally makes it a much more efficient heating and cooling system. Understand this, too: underground temperatures almost always hold at around 50º F all year long. Result? A geothermal heating and cooling system requires significantly less energy to cool your home than standard air conditioners.

So … is a geothermal system best for your West Chester home? Turn to this region’s geothermal specialists, the helpful people at Brandywine Valley Heating & Air Conditioning.