What temp does geothermal stop working?

Geothermal energy offers many advantages over traditional air-source or combustion heating systems. Using the buried circular field, a geothermal unit (or ground-based heat pump) can extract thermal energy from the ground at 45° F to 70° F to heat your home more than 400% efficiently. The industry standard for Central Indiana (guidelines from U.S. air conditioning contractors) is to maintain 70 degrees when it's 2 degrees outside.

We say that 2 degrees is the “design temperature”. This means that a properly sized heating system could maintain a temperature difference of 68 degrees. But we usually plan and size for colder climates. With a Precision Comfort heating system, you should be able to maintain 70 degrees even in sub-zero temperatures.

No, steam systems operate at more than 220°F and geothermal systems, while much more efficient, cannot supply at a temperature lower than 100°F. Steam systems were designed when buildings had little or no insulation and fuel was relatively cheap. Heating your home with a geothermal system in winter may seem far-fetched to you. Cold weather freezes the ground, raising the question of how much heat can actually be transferred from the ground to your home.

The answer is rather small. Low outdoor temperatures and frozen ground have no impact on a geothermal system. Just a few meters below the surface, the Earth maintains an almost constant temperature of approximately 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is more than enough for a geothermal heat pump to transfer heat from the subsurface and keep your home comfortable.

If the size is wrong, a geothermal pump would not be able to withstand cold winter days and a secondary heat source would be needed. Depending on the location and size of your home, geothermal operating costs could be 20 to 70% lower than those of conventional heating and cooling technology. The slight variations in interior temperature experienced when an oven waits for the thermostat to activate the heat are absent in geothermal energy. In commercial buildings, geothermal air conditioning systems produce twice as much energy savings, first in much lower heating and cooling costs and then in a drastic reduction in electricity demand costs.

The attached specification sheet is for a part of the Climate Master 1991 geothermal heating and cooling equipment. Geothermal systems cost less to operate than electric heat pumps, oil, kerosene, natural gas and propane. You can use the same source for your geothermal system and your drinking water, as long as you have enough flow to supply both the heat pump and your domestic water consumption. When you choose a national or global publication with articles or ideas on geothermal energy sources for heating or cooling spaces, you get the full range of possibilities all over the world.

An average geothermal system in the Northeast would operate from 2000 to 2600 hours for heating and 400 to 500 hours for cooling, with an annual total of 2400 to 3100 hours. If you are planning a new construction or a home remodel, a consultation with us about geothermal heating could reduce utility bills for years to come. When temperatures drop to around 30 degrees, air-source heat pumps begin to lose efficiency and heating capacity.

Aria Lavoie
Aria Lavoie

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