The Fundamental Features and Functions of a Geothermal Heat Pump

One of the great 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 to maintain. And that in itself plays a significant role in slashing the overall energy costs of Denver homeowners who’ve gone geothermal.

 

Still, there are some moving parts in the system. Most of them are found in its most essential component, too: the geothermal heat pump.

This is the engine that drives the system. 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 the season30. Consequently, it’s a furnace and an air conditioner rolled into one discreet package.

How the heat pump transfers heat is with water or an antifreeze solution. This liquid flows through pipe loops installed underground and linked to the heat pump, which is positioned above ground. 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 conveyed throughout a home by means of 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 to the earth via those same buried loops. Oh, and somewhere along the way, more than a few geothermal systems also supply domestic hot water.

The basic distinction between a geothermal heat pump and a standard furnace is that a heat pump doesn’t burn fuel to generate heat. Instead it takes heat that already exists and just moves it around. That naturally makes it a much more efficient heating and cooling system. Bear this in mind, too: underground temperatures generally remain at around 50º F through the year. The upshot? A geothermal heating and cooling system uses substantially less energy to cool your home than traditional air conditioners.

So … is a geothermal system the answer for your Denver home? Turn to this region’s geothermal wizards, the friendly folks at Sensible Heating & Cooling.