Information on Heat Pumps
December 16, 2004How Does A Geothermal Heat Pump Work?
A geothermal heat pump works much like your kitchen refrigerator, which extracts heat from food and passes it into the kitchen through coils on the back of the refrigerator. The difference is that a heat pump can operate in heating as well as cooling mode, eliminating the need for a separate furnace and air-conditioner.
A geothermal heat pump moves or "pumps" heat out of, or back into, the earth instead of making heat by burning fossil fuel or circulating current through an electric element. The heat pump is connected to the earth through high-density polyethylene pipe buried horizontally or vertically. The pipe carries a heat transfer fluid that stays at roughly the same temperature as the earth around the piping.
After circulating through the piping in the ground, the mixture is piped into your home, where it is connected to the heat exchanger in your heat pump. In winter, the mixture in the pipes absorbs heat from the earth and distributes it to your home. In summer, the system works in reverse, with the mixture absorbing heat from your home and sending it back to the earth. A geothermal system can heat and cool homes in urban or rural settings. Piping can be installed under a lawn, landscaped area, driveway, or the house itself.
Geothermal heat pumps can also exchange heat with well water and lake water. If your heat pump uses well water, the water is circulated directly through the system and returned to the ground through a second well on your property.
How Geothermal Heat Pump Technology Benefits You
Compared with conventional systems, geothermal heat pumps substantially reduce your heating costs and also save on cooling and hot water heating costs.
Each year the earth absorbs enough energy from the sun to create a constant temperature ranging from 4°C to 10°C. Through underground loop or well water systems, a geothermal heat pump makes use of this constant temperature to heat or cool the home and help supply hot water needs without creating emissions of CO2, SO2, and other greenhouse gases that have been linked to global warming.
A geothermal heat pump system delivers air through larger duct sizes than a conventional forced-air furnace. Homeowners experience an even room temperature, without the frequent bursts of hot air associated with conventional systems.
Today's heat pumps have evolved into reliable and cost-effective Geothermal Heat Pumps for Houses - The Energy Savings.
The savings begin from the day your geothermal unit starts operating. For a typical home, compared with an electric heating system, geothermal heat pumps cut space heating costs by two thirds.
The energy efficiency of geothermal systems can make the additional cost of installation compared to other systems very affordable, especially when you take out a Residential Earth Power Loan to cover the extra costs.
In some cases the heat pump may save more on your energy bill than your monthly payment on the Earth Power Loan, making the loan pay for itself.
In terms of economics, the ideal time to install a heat pump is when building a new home or replacing an aging heating system. Many homeowners also consider a heat pump if they are thinking of installing a central air conditioner.
Air Conditioning and Heating in One System
A geothermal heat pump moves heat into the house in the winter and out of the house in the summer. Installing a geothermal heat pump eliminates the need for a separate central air conditioning system. As a result, there are no outdoor compressors, eliminating noisy fans as well as the potential for vandalism and the effects of weather.
For more information, please visit the Manitoba Hydro Website at www.hydro.mb.ca