In a nutshell, geothermal energy is a term that is used to describe heat from the Earth itself. In many parts of the world the temperature about 10 feet below the ground stays between 50 and 60 degrees fahrenheit all year round. With the right equipment and resources it is possible to use this stability in the temperature of the ground to heat and cool homes or business.
How Heat Pumps Work
In order to utilize this natural, sustainable resource, heat pumps must be installed and maintained. They generally consist of three parts, including the heat pump itself, an air delivery system (which is also sometimes known as ducts), and a series of pipes that are buried in the ground called a heat exchanger. During colder months, the heat exchanger will collect warmer air that the heat pump will move throughout the building. In the summer, though, geothermal air conditioning occurs when this process is completely reversed. The heat pump itself removes the heat from the building and sends it outside where it is dispersed through the heat exchanger.
Finding the Resources
Of course, it is very important to note that the majority of substantial geothermal energy resources are found in the Western states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and even Alaska and Hawaii. In fact, in these locations, companies have even drilled substantial wells in order to tap into this energy for the production of electricity. The steam can provide plenty of force for turning a turbine, though some companies use the heat to boil another sort of fluid that serves the same purpose. In places where there is hot water buried in shallow places near a building, this water can be used for many purposes – including the heating of buildings.
Installation of Heat Pumps
In the event that a consumer is interested in installing a new heat pump system, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, these are expensive installations when compared to traditional air conditioner and furnace units, but the long-term savings from the geothermal energy itself often make up for the initial investment. The size of the house or building directly correlates with the size of the heat pump that will be necessary for providing comfort, and this has a huge effect on overall price. Of course, the amount of excavation that is needed for the installation can add to the price, as well. Fortunately, tax credits for such installations are becoming more and more common.
In conclusion, it should be mentioned that geothermal cooling is not as efficient in extremely hot and humid climates as it is in milder climates. For this reason, people living in extremely hot locations who choose to utilize geothermal energy may choose to supplement their cooling with window or portable air conditioners during the brutal summer months.
A Superior Air Conditioning can help you determine if geothermal energy is the right option for your home or business.