Does geothermal heating and cooling work?

During the summer, the geothermal system draws heat from the air in your home and transfers it to the ground. During the winter, it draws heat from the floor and transfers it to your home. Factors that help reduce costs include economies of scale for large community, commercial or even residential applications and increased competition for geothermal equipment (especially from major brands such as Bosch, Carrier and Trane). Open loops, which use a pump and a reinjection well, are cheaper to install than closed loops.

After installing a geothermal system, the heat pump, usually located in the garage or basement, circulates the liquid through pipes 300 feet deep in the ground. They are sometimes referred to as “loops” and they absorb the temperature that the sun distributes on the ground. The liquid in the loops circulates back to the geothermal heat pump that heats or cools your home. In winter, heat from the liquid is extracted and distributed throughout the house.

In summer, heat is carried from the home to the liquid that takes it to the floor to cool down. But what does an air conditioner do to cool a house? It uses heat, except that you move it out of the house. All a geothermal system has to do to provide cooling to a home is reverse the direction in which heat moves. Instead of extracting heat from the ground with its loops, it removes heat from the house and deposits it in the ground.

In other words, a geothermal air conditioning system uses the ground as a heat sink. It is true that installing a geothermal system costs more than a standard heat pump and requires sufficient space in the house. Open-circuit geothermal systems use groundwater pumped directly from a supply well (75 to 100 feet deep) to extract and inject heat. Geothermal heating and cooling systems don't require fossil fuels or a lot of electricity, making them an environmentally friendly option.

However, much of the information available on geothermal heating and cooling is based on outdated information or outright myths. As the liquid returns to the surface, either heated or cooled depending on the season, the additional or reduced amount of heat in the water is used to condition the house. In the summer months, geothermal cooling works in a similar way to standard air conditioning, except that the heat is not simply expelled to the outdoor air, but is deposited deep in the ground for future use. The SANC02 is the first heat pump water heater available in Canada that uses outdoor air to heat water.

Radiant heat provides a lot of thermal comfort in a home and, since you're already used to having warm feet, I think the drop in floor temperature you would experience when switching to a forced-air heating system would be quite noticeable. The geothermal heat pump uses cold water returning from the ground to create a cold, dehumidified air conditioner for your home. Therefore, the underlying principle of geothermal heating and cooling is to use that constant temperature inside the Earth to balance our Canadian surface temperatures of 26%, which vary greatly in North America.

Aria Lavoie
Aria Lavoie

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