The Basic Science of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

A good many people here in Greene County, New York, have sought Kool-Temp Heating & Cooling Inc. to upgrade their homes to geothermal homes. Still hesitant about geothermal heating and cooling yourself? Knowing a bit of the science behind it – and the mechanics as well – may help.

We’ve written elsewhere about the perks of geothermal heating and cooling. Suffice it to say here that few other methods of maintaining a comfortable home environment year-round are as efficient, dependable, or affordable, especially when you factor in the energy savings.

Here’s how geothermal makes that a reality.

Thar’s Gold Heat in Them Thar Hills!

We dig in the earth for precious metals. We dig in the earth for oil. Now, as never before, we’re tapping the earth for an asset undoubtedly just as valuable to most of us: the energy to heat and cool our homes that doesn’t call for oil.

You see, just below the earth’s crust – no more than 33,000 feet under our feet – is a layer of magma. This is a molten and semi-molten mixture, chiefly of silicates, in which temperatures range from 1300 degrees Fahrenheit to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit and hotter the deeper you go (not that you’d want to go there!). What this does is keep the ground immediately under the earth’s surface at a reasonably constant year-round temperature of between 45 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. So? Underground temperatures in Greene County (and essentially everywhere stateside, as it were) are warmer than the ambient air above ground in Winter and cooler than the ambient air above ground in Summer.

Time to Get Pumped!

What geothermal heating and cooling systems do, then, is transfer heat from the ground  to your home or heat from your home to the ground, as the season dictates. Either way, your home environment remains at an optimal temperature to keep you and your family comfortable month after month.

The appiance that handles the transfer is a geothermal heat pump. It continuously circulates water or some solution (commonly antifreeze) between your home and loops of pipe (commonly fabricated of polyethylene, high-density polyethylene, PVC, or CPVC) placed in the ground. In Winter, the liquid is cold when it enters the ground. As it travels through the loops, it assimilates heat from the earth and is reintroduced to your home warm. In Summer, the process is reversed: warm liquid enters the loops, where it’s cooled by the cooler ground temperatures before it’s returned to your home. Want details? You’ll find more specific information on ground loops here.

The principal point is that geothermal heating and cooling systems don’t produce energy. They don’t work like central heating systems, which generate heat themselves. Instead, geothermal systems heat and cool your home by making use of the energy already richly available beneath the earth’s surface. That’s why geothermal systems don’t only run quieter but also prove a lot more trustworthy, need less maintenance, have far longer lifespans, and are more environmentally friendly than old-school HVACs. That’s also why, ultimately, you’ll save considerably more more money by going geothermal.

Curious now? Get hold of Kool-Temp Heating & Cooling Inc., your Greene County geothermal heating and cooling professional, today.