What Is Geothermal?

Geothermal energy is the heat from the earth. Geothermal heating takes advantage of the fact that temperatures under the earth’s surface remain almost constant.

The upper part of the earth’s crust, roughly the first 10 feet of ground, can maintain a temperature between 50° and 60° Fahrenheit. Fluctuating temperatures in the air do not affect the constant temperature underground.

Geothermal heat pumps, also called ground-source heat pumps, use less energy than typical heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems by harnessing underground energy for space heating and cooling. They do not burn fossil fuels.

Instead, they transfer underground heat to your Baltimore, MD home during the winter and move warm air out of your home and into the earth during the summer.

Imagine setting your thermostat to a cozy 72° Fahrenheit when the outdoor temperature is 5° Fahrenheit. It takes much less energy to reach your desired temperature if the starting point is 55° Fahrenheit.

By comparison, an air-source heat pump might struggle to capture enough heat from 5° Fahrenheit outdoor temperatures.

How Geothermal Works

The earth acts as a huge storge container of heat. That heat is solar energy from the sun stored just beneath the surface. Between 3 feet and 1000 feet deep the earth is a constant 57 degrees year around. By burying pipes in the earth your system pumps water or environmentally friendly antifreeze through your geothermal loop in the ground, extracting the heat and bringing the heat back into the unit inside your home in the winter or rejecting heat back into the ground in the summer.

When heating, the heat is transferred through a heat exchanger into the heat pumps liquid refrigerant. A compressor, compresses the refrigerant turning it into a vapor, which raises the temperature. Now that the vaporized refrigerant is nice and hot it passes through the air coil where air is blown across transferring the heat into your duct system to be delivered through the house. The system works in reverse during cooling removing the heat from the air in your home and rejecting into the ground.

The fluid-filled loop is an essential component of the system. At Ground Loop Heating and Air Conditioning, we use only the highest quality materials so liquid will not leak from the pipes.

We also use heat fusing on all pipe connections below grade to ensure they are strong and long-lasting without any threads.

After geothermal installation, we pressure-test the piping before backfilling, connect the loop to the heat pump, and flush the pipes to remove debris and air.

Geothermal Versus Conventional HVAC

Geothermal systems surpass fossil-fuel-burning furnaces and even air-source heat pumps in many ways. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states, “Geothermal heat pumps are the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective systems for heating and cooling buildings.”

Here are just a few reasons why these might be the best heating and cooling solution for your home:

  • Longevity: Geothermal heat pumps can last 25 years or more, and the loop is good for at least 50 years. Air-source heat pumps and air conditioners typically need replacement in 10 to 12 years. Their outdoor units can take a beating in the elements if not maintained. The useful service life of maintained gas furnaces is 15 to 20 years.
  • Maintenance: Loops do not require geothermal maintenance and rarely need repair. Although geothermal heat pumps hold up better than conventional HVAC, they benefit from an annual professional inspection.

By comparison, if you own a gas furnace, an annual inspection and tune-up is a must to ensure the unit operates safely. A spring cleaning and maintenance checkup is essential for your air conditioner, especially since half of the unit sits outdoors and is open to the elements.

You schedule two maintenance visits annually with a furnace and air conditioner but just one per year for your geothermal heat pump.

  • Versatile: They can heat water in addition to heating and cooling your home. When outfitted with a desuperheater device, it can cut water heating costs in half during the winter, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The DOE says the heat extracted from a home’s indoor air during the summer heats water for free.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Choosing a geothermal system reduces your carbon footprint. Geothermal heat pumps do not emit carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases that can harm the environment.
  • Safety: Since these systems do not burn fossil fuels, they are not at risk for natural gas and carbon monoxide (CO) leaks. They are safer than HVAC systems that combust fuel to produce heat.
  • Saving Energy and Money: A geothermal system costs more to install than a furnace, boiler, or air-source heat pump but less to run in the long run. You can save 30 to 70 percent on your heating bills over the next five to 10 years by using free energy from the earth. Geothermal heat pumps use 70 to 80 percent less electricity than conventional HVAC.
  • Financial Incentives: The federal government offers a 30 percent tax credit through 2032 for geothermal installation. The High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Act (HEEHRA) also provides rebates for low-income and moderate-income households that invest in geothermal systems, air-source heat pumps, and electric appliances.

At Ground Loop Heating and Air Conditioning, we will handle your rebate paperwork to ensure the system you install is as affordable as possible. We will work closely with you to determine the best system for your needs and provide flexible financing options.

Go Geothermal Today

Our A-plus rating with the Better Business Bureau tells you we are a business that values honesty and integrity. We are certified by the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) and are a Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium (GHPC) member. You can trust our expertise, experience, and commitment to quality.

Call our Ground Loop Heating and Air Conditioning geothermal experts at 410-836-1706 or request service online to learn more about our services and how we can improve the comfort and efficiency of your home or business in Baltimore, MD, or the surrounding areas.

Need HVAC Service?

Contact the experts at Ground Loop Heating and Air Conditioning.

Call us at 410-836-1706!