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Geothermal Heat Pumps: How Do They Work?

A geothermal heat pump is a highly efficient and money-saving alternative to traditional fuel-based or electric heating and cooling sources. Here is a brief guide to how geothermal heat pumps work and the benefits you can expect to receive from one.

Function of Geothermal Heat Pumps

Geothermal heat pumps operate on the same principle as the more common air-source heat pumps: they capture heat and move it from place to place. The biggest difference between them is that geothermal heat pumps use the ground outside your home as the source of heat capture and release instead of the air. This allows for extremely efficient heat transfer.

In a geothermal system, heat transfer occurs in a network of pipes buried about 6-10 feet below the surface of the ground. At this depth, the temperature stays at a consistent 45 to 60 degrees all year long. The pipes, called the ground loop, carry water or water/antifreeze solution that easily absorbs and releases heat. In the summer, the solution flows through the system and picks up heat energy from the heat pump component in our home. The heated solution travels through the ground loop, where the heat is released into the surrounding soil. In winter, the flow is reversed. The solution absorbs heat from the ground outside and brings it inside. A heat exchanger in the heat pump’s internal unit transfers heat to air that is then distributed throughout your home.

Benefits of Geothermal Heat Pumps

  1. High efficiency: Geothermal systems provide heat up to four to five times more efficiently than standard gas or electric furnaces.
  2. Substantial monetary savings: The high efficiency of geothermal heat pumps means they heat and cool for less, typically slashing heating and cooling bills by 50 percent or more. A generous 30 percent federal tax credit is also available to defray installation charges for qualifying geothermal systems.
  3. Flexibility: Geothermal systems can be used in most climates, but they are particularly well-suited for areas such as Central Florida, where temperatures rarely dip to low extremes.

For 45 years, Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions has served HVAC customers in Orlando and throughout Central Florida. Contact us today for more information on geothermal heat pumps and their many benefits in economy and efficiency.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about geothermal heat pumps and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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