Standard and Geothermal Heat Pumps
Heat pumps absorb heat from one area and transfer it to another. Energy efficient models can transfer 3 to 5 times more than the amount they collect. Some heat pumps transfer heat from outside air and will need to work harder as temperatures approach 40°F.
Ground-source heat pumps (GSHP) and geothermal heat pumps make use of moderate underground temperatures to heat or cool the home above. These models depend on a consistent underground temperature and are more costly to install than conventional units, but they’re the top of the line in energy efficiency. Geothermal heat pumps come in sizes that are perfect for general heating and cooling, home water heaters, swimming pool heaters and more.
How It Works
There are several types of geothermal heat pumps you can install. The most common uses ducts to circulate warmed and cooled air, while ductless heat pumps use a wall-mounted unit to circulate air instead. Other systems use radiators and heated water; these systems can be incorporated into your current water heating system, if you have one.
What Can Go Wrong?
Most systems can be repaired by replacing individual components that have failed. The blower motor might overheat and can be easily replaced, for example. Parts of the heater may become clogged with dust or dirt, making the system inefficient or useless until cleaned. Power surges may damage the electronic control system.
GSHP systems heating efficiencies are 50 to 70 percent higher than other heating systems and their cooling efficiencies are 20 to 40 percent higher than most available air conditioners. For a typical home, a 95 percent efficient Natural Gas heating system and 16 SEER air conditioning system can cost you approximately $2,400 (US) per year to operate. A Geothermal system supplying the same amount of heating, cooling, and hot water will cost approximately $900 (US) per year to operate.
With the elimination of heating equipment such as boilers and furnaces which use the combustion of oils and gases to heat buildings, local installations of GHPS result in zero on-site emissions.