Hear the word geothermal and you might think of volcanoes or Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park. But these days geothermal can also be used to talk about heating and cooling your home.
Although you can find temperature extremes all over the globe the earth below the surface keeps a pretty consistent temperature. Depending on your latitude underneath its surface at only six feet can find temps at between 45 to 75 degrees.
If you’ve ever been to areas with cave storage you’ll understand the reason why companies spend so much time and effort developing storage facilities in the spaces left behind by hard rock mining. Temps are a constant year round so materials that need a consistent storage temperature are housed here. Right here in KC is SubTropolis, claimed to be the largest underground storage space in the world. The US Postal Service uses it to store its collectible stamps worth millions of dollars and kept in perfect condition.
That’s the principle behind geothermal heat pumps. In the winter, they move the heat from the earth into your house. In the summer, they pull the heat from your home and discharge it into the ground. Both processes use a series of pipes, called loops, installed below the surface of the ground or even submerged in a lake or pond. They carry the earth’s heat to the house where a compressor and heat exchanger release the heat at a higher temperature using your home’s ductwork.
In the summer the process is simply reversed and excess heat is drawn from your house and sent down to be absorbed by our pal, the earth.
Neither process creates any heat nor cold, it simply uses the earth’s natural temperature to create a comfort zone in your home. Studies show that approximately 70 percent of the energy used in a geothermal heat pump system is renewable energy from the ground.
A geothermal system is more expensive in its initial purchase and set up but it’s durable and requires little maintenance after installation. There are few mechanical components and most of them are protected underground. There’s also a 30% federal tax credit on the purchase until 2016. And the energy savings can be up to 60-70% so geothermal is making more and more sense for energy conscious homeowners these days.
If you’d like to learn more about how a geothermal heat pump can lower your energy bills while using renewable resources give us a call at Climate Control Kansas City for a free consultation. We’re your geothermal authorities and can give you all the details and help you decide if geothermal is right for you.