Working with Geothermal Heat Pumps

A geothermal heat pump utilizes earth’s thermal energy as a way to manipulate temperature. This is seemingly attractive toward HVAC utilization due to the relatively high efficiency as well as economic benefit. Temperature fluctuations below ground are relatively low as earth absorbs solar energy all year round and insulates the heat underground. Taking advantage of this event, geothermal energy heat pump application for residential and commercial building uses the “underground” as a heat source/sink.

geothermal heat pumps

Source: http://tidewatermechanical.com/geothermal-heat-pumps/

How does geothermal heat pump work?

A heat pump system mainly consists of a heat-pump unit, a pipeline loop functioning as a heat exchanger for a desired area (it can be horizontal, vertical or installed to an aquatic medium), and a duct – to deliver the controlled temperature flow to the consumer.

Fluid is pumped through an installed pipeline loop which transfers heat based on the season. During the hotter season (summer), heat will be absorbed from the air in the building, transferred into the ground and then cooler air will be circulated to the designated area. The contrary happens during the winter. In colder months, heat will be transferred into the fluid from the ground and collected heat will be distributed.

What are the benefit of this technology?

Every unit of electricity used by a geothermal heat pump will be transferred to 5 units of cooling or heating, consequently the geothermal heat pump is much more efficient then, for example air heat pumps. Air heat pump will move the heat from the source to an equal or higher temperature environment, making it less efficient each time the temperature increases. However, since the underground temperature is relatively stable all year round, geothermal heat pumps don’t encounter the same event. Additionally, since the heat can be transferred to any kind of fluid, geothermal heat pumps can also be used as a main water heating source. Since there is no “burning” event during the engineering process with heat pump, there is no carbon monoxide or excess product from this system, making it environmentally friendly as well.

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References:

http://energyblog.nationalgeographic.com/2013/09/17/10-myths-about-geothermal-heating-and-cooling/
http://www.climatemaster.com/residential/geothermal-heat-pumps/

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