The Basic Science of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

More than a few homeowners here in Maryville, TN, have recruited A&L Heating and Air, LLC to upgrade their homes to geothermal homes. Still need persuading about geothermal heating and cooling yourself? Understanding some of the science behind it – and the mechanics as well – might help.

We’ve noted elsewhere the virtues of geothermal heating and cooling. Suffice it to say here that hardly any other methods of maintaining an agreeable home environment throughout the year are as efficient, dependable, or affordable, especially when you consider the energy savings.

Here’s how geothermal works its 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, as never before, we’re tapping the earth for something undoubtedly just as valuable to many 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 layer of magma. This is a molten and semi-molten mixture, chiefly of silicates, in which temperatures range from 1300 degrees Fahrenheit to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit and hotter the deeper you go (not that you’d want to go there!). What this does 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 Maryville (and essentially everywhere 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!

The purpose, then, of a geothermal heating and cooling system is to|Underground temperatures being what they are, then, it’s the function of a geothermal heating and cooling system to transfer heat from the ground  to your home or heat from your home to the ground, in keeping with the season. Either way, your home stays at the best possible temperature to keep you and your family happy year-round.

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

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

Curious now? Get together with A&L Heating and Air, LLC, your Maryville geothermal heating and cooling professional, today.