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What is Geothermal


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Geothermal...what is it, and what can it do for you?

With the cost of fuel being so volatile, many people are looking to change certain habits: driving a more fuel efficient car, using public transportation, or looking into different options to heat and cool their home. Geothermal energy has been around since the Earth’s formation. Today, more and more people are turning to this form of energy as long term economical heating and/or cooling option.

What is geothermal energy?

Geothermal energy is a form of renewable energy derived from the heat contained in the Earth’s core. Geothermal energy is extracted from the relatively stable earth core temperature of 54º to 56ºF. Even in colder areas, the ground contains heat; at a depth of 10 feet, the ground is a constant 55ºF.

 

How does geothermal heating and cooling works?

Geothermal heating and cooling uses the geothermal energy in order to heat or to cool a residence or business.

In geothermal heating and cooling, vertical or horizontal wells are drilled in the ground to reach the constant core temperature. A thermal loop, made out of geothermal pipe, is then run to allow the heat to be transferred to fluid within the pipe. The thermal loop is composed of a series of geothermal pipes connected using geothermal fittings. The geothermal pipes have exceptional physical and thermal characteristics. The geothermal pipes carry a fluid which connects the geothermal system's heat pump to the underground.

 

What is a geothermal heat pump?

The geothermal heat pump or ground source heat pump (GSHP) is a central heating and/or cooling system that pumps heat to or from the ground, depending on the current climate. In colder temperatures, the pump uses the underground as a heat source to extract heat; in warmer temperatures, the pump transfers the heat back into the ground, using it as a heat sink. The system takes advantage of the constant temperature of the underground in order to boost the efficiency and to reduce the operating costs of the heating and cooling systems.

The geothermal heat pump provides heating or cooling by moving existing heat, as opposed to a furnace, which creates heat.

The geothermal heat pump is made up of three primary elements:

1. The geothermal heat pump which moves heat between the house and the fluid in the thermal loop.

2. The thermal loop which transfers the heat between the fluid and the ground.

3. The distribution structure which delivers the warm air or cool air to the home or business.

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