The Basic Science of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Quite a few residents here in Ord, Nebraska, have hired Wadas Inc. to make their homes geothermal homes. Still wary of geothermal heating and cooling yourself? Comprehending some of the science behind it – and the mechanics as well – might help.

We’ve written elsewhere about the merits of geothermal heating and cooling. It’s enough to say here that few other manner of maintaining an agreeable home environment throughout the year are as efficient, reliable, or ultimately budget-friendly, especially when you gauge the energy savings.

Here’s how geothermal works that magic.

Thar’s Gold Heat in Them Thar Hills!

We dig in the earth for precious metals. We dig in the earth for oil. Now, more than ever, we’re tapping the earth for something undoubtedly just as valuable to the majority of us: the energy to heat and cool our homes that doesn’t necessitate oil.

You see, close beneath the earth’s crust – that would be in the neighborhood of 33,000 feet under our feet – is a stratum of magma. This is a molten and semi-molten blend, for the most part made up of silicates, in which temperatures vary from 1300 degrees Fahrenheit to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit and hotter the deeper you go (not that you’d want to go there!). What this serves to do is keep the ground immediately under the earth’s surface at a year-round temperature of between 45 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The upshot? Underground temperatures in Ord (and most places stateside, in any event) are warmer than the ambient air above ground in Winter and cooler than the ambient air above ground in Summer.

Time to Get Pumped!

This, then, is what geothermal heating and cooling systems do: they transfer heat from the ground  to your home or heat from your home to the ground, depending on the season. Either way, your home’s interior is maintained at the optimum temperature to keep you and your family happy in every season.

The mechanism that handles the transfer is a geothermal heat pump. It continuously circulates water or some blend (usually antifreeze) between your home and loops of piping (usually made of polyethylene, high-density polyethylene, PVC, or CPVC) placed in the ground. In Winter, the liquid is cold when it enters the ground. As it travels through the loops, it absorbs heat from the earth and is reintroduced to your home warm. In Summer, the process is reversed: warm liquid enters the loops, where it’s cooled by the cooler ground temperatures before it’s returned to your home. Need details? You’ll find more thorough information on ground loops here.

The central point is that geothermal heating and cooling systems don’t produce energy. They aren’t like central heating systems, which generate heat themselves. Instead, geothermal systems heat and cool your home by employing the energy already abundantly available beneath the earth’s surface. That’s why geothermal systems not only run quieter but also are much more dependable, need less maintenance, have far longer lifespans, and are more environmentally friendly than conventional HVACs. That’s also why, in the end, you’ll save a great deal more more money by going geothermal.

Curious now? Get hold of Wadas Inc., your Ord geothermal heating and cooling professional, today.