The Basic Science of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

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

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

Here’s how geothermal works that magic.

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 a resource 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, principally of silicates, in which temperatures run 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 fairly stable year-round temperature of between 45 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Meaning? Underground temperatures in Danville (and essentially everywhere stateside, in any event) are warmer than the ambient air above ground in Winter and cooler than the ambient air above ground in Summer.

Time to Get Pumped!

This, then, is what geothermal heating and cooling systems do: they 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 year-round.

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 fashioned 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 mobilizing the energy already amply available beneath the earth’s surface. That’s why geothermal systems don’t only run quieter but also prove considerably more trustworthy, need less maintenance, have far longer lifespans, and are more environmentally friendly than typical HVACs. That’s also why, ultimately, you’ll save considerably more more money by going geothermal.

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