Geothermal Technology May be the Future of Heating and Air Conditioning
Geothermal heating and cooling systems are gaining popularity because they use very little energy to keep a home at a steady, comfortable temperature. Geothermal technology transfers heat between your home and the earth’s crust where heat is a naturally renewing resource.
We know from experience that on the earth’s surface the temperature varies, making us cold in the winter and hot in the summer. However, the temperature only six to ten feet below the surface maintains a relatively constant temperature of about 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Geothermal technology takes advantage of the steady underground temperature and the fact that heat naturally flows out of hotter areas into colder areas.
It works by circulating a refrigerant fluid through pipes that run from inside your home to below the earth’s surface. On hot days, the fluid will absorb heat from the air in your home and transfer it down to where the cooler ground will absorb it. On cold days the fluid brings the heat from below the surface up to where it releases into your home. A compressor in the system intensifies the temperature change of the fluid so that it can warm or cool a home quickly.
A geothermal heating system still needs some electricity to run its pump and air circulating fan, but it uses much less than traditional heating and cooling systems which keeps the cost of running one very low. However, getting a geothermal system for a house also involves a more complex installation process.
Installing a geothermal system still comes with a large price tag right now, but it may become more practical in the near future as we look for cleaner ways to heat and cool buildings.
For most people it makes more sense to look into simpler ways to have a more energy efficient home. Check out our advice on these other energy efficiency boosters: The Importance of Insulation, Heating Your Home With the Sun, Duct Testing to Save Energy and Money.
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