The System Faq

How does 40° Fahrenheit water from the ground provide heat?

A heat pump extracts the heat with a refrigeration process.  It is the very same process that is used in your refrigerator or air conditioner only back wards.  If you understand how air conditioning works then you understand how we can use 40° water to make 120° water.

What is the life of my GSHP?

GSHP’s are as durable and reliable as a conventional heat system and if properly installed will provide decades of operation.  The heat pumps themselves have factory warranties up to ten years and are expected to have a service life of 25 to 30 years. The earth loops are made of poly pipe that can last several hundred years.

How noisy is a GSHP?

Ground source heat pumps are relatively quiet because most use scroll type compressors which are known for their quiet operation.  Each manufacture has different methods of reducing vibrations and insulating the cabinet to further reduce noise.  The installation should also be done to minimize noise by properly securing piping and or using non ridged connections that will not transfer vibrations into the pipes.

How safe is a GSHP unit?

The GSHP systems are very safe and protected. There is nothing burned, so there is no flammable fuel or toxic fumes anywhere. There is no potential for deadly and orderless carbon monoxide to fill your home while you sleep.

How much maintenance is required?

Very little compared to conventional systems.  If the distribution is air then filters would need to be changed.  Heat pumps do not burn anything so most of the associated problems and maintenance required of boilers and furnaces is not an issue.  Open loop systems that use ground water directly through the heat exchanger may need descaling every few years.  Closed loop systems that circulate an antifreeze solution should be tested to ensure the quality of the antifreeze each season.

Can a GSHP provide domestic hot water also?

Yes it can!  Using a desuperheater, you can turn the waste heat from the system into hot water.  In the summer when the system is in cooling mode, the excess heat goes straight to heating hot water.  In the winter when it is in heating mode, only a portion of the water is heated.  Desuperheaters are standard on some heat pumps, optional on others, and can also be bought separately.

How much space does a GSHP take up?

A majority of the ground loop system is installed underground, and the heat pump itself is about the same size as a standard heating and cooling unit.

What is the max temperature a GSHP can produce?

The max is recommended temp to run a heat pump is 120° F.  While many heat pumps can produce temperatures hotter than that, (up to 140 F) is is not recommended as it is hard on the compressors to produce pressures/temperatures that high.  The efficiency of the operation is also severely reduced at temperatures hotter than 120 F.  In fact if you want really efficient operation you should keep the temperature set point as low as possible to satisfy the load.

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