The Basic Science of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Plenty of people here in Danville, Pennsylvania, have sought Geo Climate Control to upgrade their homes to geothermal homes. Still suspicious of geothermal heating and cooling yourself? Comprehending a bit of the science behind it – and the mechanics as well – might help.

We’ve mentioned elsewhere the advantages of geothermal heating and cooling. Suffice it to say here that hardly any other methods of maintaining apleasant home environment all year long are as efficient, dependable, or ultimately thrifty, especially when you tally up the energy savings.

Here’s how geothermal works that magic.

Thar’s Gold Heat in Them Thar Hills!

We mine the earth for precious metals. We drill the earth for oil. Now, as never before, we’re tapping the earth for something likely just as valuable to the majority of us: the energy to heat and cool our homes that doesn’t necessitate oil.

You see, close beneath the earth’s crust – that would be, oh, say, 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 serves to do is keep the ground immediately under the earth’s surface at a fairly stable year-round temperature of between 45 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Meaning? Underground temperatures in Danville (and most places 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, in accordance with the season. Either way, your home’s interior stays at the perfect temperature to keep you and your family comfy, whatever the season.

The appiance that handles the transfer is a geothermal heat pump. It continuously circulates water or some mixture (usually antifreeze) between your home and loops of piping (usually made of polyethylene, high-density polyethylene, PVC, or CPVC) installed in the ground. In Winter, the liquid is cold when it enters the ground. As it travels through the loops, it absorbs heat from the earth and is reintroduced to your home warm. In Summer, the process is reversed: warm liquid goes into the loops, where it absorbs the cooler ground temperatures before it’s returned to your home. Looking for details? You’ll find more specific information on ground loops here.

The salient point is that geothermal heating and cooling systems don’t produce energy. They aren’t like central heating systems, which generate heat themselves. Instead, geothermal systems heat and cool your home by putting to use the energy already amply available beneath the earth’s surface. That’s why geothermal systems are not only quieter but also considerably more trustworthy, need less maintenance, have far longer lifespans, and are more environmentally friendly than conventional HVACs. That’s also why, ultimately, you’ll save much more more money by going geothermal.

Curious now? Talk with Geo Climate Control, your Danville geothermal heating and cooling specialist, today.