The Basic Science of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

More than a few residents here in Omaha, Nebraska, have recruited Complete Comfort to make their homes geothermal homes. Still need convincing about geothermal heating and cooling yourself? Comprehending something of the science behind it – and the mechanics as well – would likely help.

We’ve talked elsewhere about the rewards of geothermal heating and cooling. Suffice it to say here that hardly any other manner of maintaining a climatically comfortable home environment year-round are as efficient, trustworthy, or ultimately budget-friendly, particularlly when you factor in the energy savings.

Here’s how geothermal works that magic.

Thar’s Gold Heat in Them Thar Hills!

We mine the earth for precious metals. We drill the earth for oil. Now, more than ever, we’re tapping the earth for something no doubt just as valuable to a majority of us: the energy to heat and cool our homes that doesn’t call for oil.

You see, just below the earth’s crust – that would be about 33,000 feet under our feet – is a stratum of magma. This is a molten and semi-molten blend, principally of silicates, in which temperatures run 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 Omaha (and most places stateside, anyway) 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 function, then, of a geothermal heating and cooling system is to|Underground temperatures being what they are, then, it’s the job 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 an optimal temperature to keep you and your family in comfort throughout the year.

The apparatus that effects the transfer is a geothermal heat pump. It continuously circulates water or some mixture (commonly antifreeze) between your home and loops of piping (commonly fabricated 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 is brought into the loops, where it absorbs the cooler ground temperatures before it’s returned to your home. Need details? You’ll find more thorough information on ground loops here.

The key point is that geothermal heating and cooling systems don’t produce energy. They don’t work like central heating systems, which generate heat themselves. Instead, geothermal systems heat and cool your home by putting to use the energy already amply available beneath the earth’s surface. That’s why geothermal systems don’t only run quieter but also prove considerably more trustworthy, need less maintenance, have much longer lifespans, and are more environmentally friendly than traditional HVACs. That’s also why, over time, you’ll save lots more more money by going geothermal.

Curious now? Get hold of Complete Comfort, your Omaha geothermal heating and cooling professional, today.