Is geothermal heating efficient?

A geothermal heat pump is the 26% most environmentally friendly, efficient and cost-effective heating cooling system available. This is because you use the free renewable solar energy stored in your backyard instead of burning fossil fuels. That's because standard air conditioning units remove hot air from your home and release it to outdoor heat, while geothermal heat pumps move warm air to the floor by 50 degrees, where it's easier to accept. A typical central air conditioner has a SEER rating of 14 to 16, while a geothermal heat pump system has an average EER rating of 20 to 30.

About 70 percent of the energy used by a geothermal heat pump system comes from the earth in the form of renewable energy. Some geothermal heat pump manufacturers and electrical companies use computers to accurately determine the operational efficiency of a system for their home or building. The challenge of saving energy is overcome with the ingenious innovation of geothermal heating and cooling systems. Geothermal heat pumps use an underground circuit system to simply exchange the heat of your home with the constant cold of the ground.

However, the lifetime cost, which combines capital and operating costs, may be favourable for heat pumps compared to systems powered by fossil fuels and, especially, compared to conventional systems that provide both heating and cooling. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, ground-based geothermal heat pump systems are one of the most energy efficient, environmentally clean and cost-effective space conditioning systems available. In fact, it is normal that your electricity consumption with geothermal energy in December is four times greater than that used in heating the previous December with an oil furnace. This constant temperature source acts as a source of heat during the coldest months when compressed and as a heat sink during the hottest months of the year.

For every 1 unit of energy used to power your geothermal system, an average of 4 units of thermal energy are supplied. To recover from a difficult period, the tense geothermal system will likely need the help of an additional heat source, such as an electric resistance heater. Only between a third and a quarter of the energy supplied in heating with a geothermal system comes from electricity consumption, the rest is extracted from the ground. Geothermal heat pumps are more efficient and consume less electricity for cooling than even hyperefficient central air conditioning systems.

While a fossil fuel furnace can have an efficiency of 78 to 90 percent, a geothermal heat pump has an efficiency of approximately 400 percent. Unlike a furnace, a geothermal system is carefully designed to meet a home's precise heating and cooling needs.

Aria Lavoie
Aria Lavoie

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