What is Geothermal Heating?
Geothermal heating is a method of heating a structure that uses a ground source heat pump to remove heat from the earth and put it into your home. The systems are many times more efficient at space conditioning than conventional systems, and are saving regular households thousands of dollars per year on heating costs. These systems can be residential or commercial, and can work in almost any climate and soil type for both heating and cooling.
How efficient is a geothermal ground source heating system?
Geothermal ground source heating systems are the most efficient heating and cooling systems available today. The heat energy they deliver already exists and they just need to move it into the home. For every one unit of electricity the heat pump consumes it can deliver 3 to 4 times that amount of heat energy. This works out to be 300% to 400% operational efficiency. For cooling, they are 20-40% more efficient than air conditioners which are simply air source heat pumps.
What about comfort?
It will depend on the distribution system you choose to install. Radiant Heat systems provide even space heating to make rooms very comfortable, and are becoming the heating system of choice. Geothermal heating can also use a forced air system to deliver the heat. Warm air (90°-105° F) is circulated in higher volumes through the duct system, which warms the building more thoroughly, providing even heat without hot or cold spots, or the cold air blasts that are common with fuel furnaces.
Can these systems cool also?
Yes, the very same system can provide heating and cooling. The cooling works better if the distribution is forced air rather than a radiant floor. In order to effectively meet a cooling load we need to be able to remove excess humidity from the air and only forced air systems can do that. In dry climates radiant floor systems can be used to some effect at cooling a space but it should not be thought of as air conditioning.