Heat Pumps - How They Work

geothermal heat pumpBy

This is a good guest post one of our regular readers passed along to me. Good explanation of how geothermal heat pumps work (briefly) and how to go about getting one. Full repost below:

(NAPSI)—Homeowners who are planning to replace a worn-out, inefficient heating and cooling system may want to consider installing a new geothermal system. According to the experts at WaterFurnace, most geothermal units are easy to install, especially when they are replacing another forced-air system. And in many cases, the monthly savings that an energy-efficient geothermal system offers will be greater than any payments associated with the installation of the new system.

During the heating cycle, a geothermal heat pump uses a series of pipes (an earth loop) buried in the ground to extract heat from the ground. As the system pulls heat from the loop, it distributes it as warm air through the home using a conventional duct system. The same heat energy can also be used for a radiant floor system or domestic hot water heating. In the cooling mode, the heating process is reversed—heat is extracted from the air in the home and either moved back into the earth loop or used to preheat the water in a hot water tank.

Installation of a geothermal system begins with a visit from your local geothermal dealer. The dealer will measure your house, calculate your heating and cooling requirements and examine your property to determine the best loop system for your location. If you own a home that does not have an existing duct system, your geothermal dealer can easily retrofit your home to include one.

Geothermal systems can also be installed in areas that are unsuitable for fossil fuel furnaces, because there is no combustion and therefore no need to vent exhaust gases. These systems do particularly well when replacing propane or fuel oil systems. And because a geothermal system uses no fossil fuel and emits no greenhouse gases, homeowners can reduce their carbon footprints, add comfort, and improve indoor air quality with less noise.

Lower utility bills increase the list of benefits that a geothermal system offers the homeowner. In fact, a geothermal system delivers an astounding four units of energy for every one unit of electrical energy used. That translates to a 400 percent efficiency rating and savings of up to 70 percent for heating, cooling and hot water costs. Additionally, geothermal systems require less maintenance than conventional heating and cooling systems.


Homeowners who install a geothermal system prior to Dec. 31, 2016 can take advantage of a federal renewable energy tax credit that offers a tax incentive of 30 percent of the installed cost of the system. The credit can be used along with utility rebates and state tax incentives, where available, to make geothermal systems more affordable than ever.

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