The Basic Science of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Plenty of people here in Elizabethtown, KY, have engaged Dever Enterprises to upgrade their homes to geothermal homes. Still leery of geothermal heating and cooling yourself? Comprehending something of the science behind it – and the mechanics as well – would probably help.

We’ve written elsewhere about the virtues of geothermal heating and cooling. Suffice it to say here that hardly any other methods of maintaining apleasant home environment all year long are as efficient, reliable, or ultimately low-cost, particularlly when you consider the energy savings.

Here’s how geothermal makes that possible.

Thar’s Gold Heat in Them Thar Hills!

We mine the earth for precious metals. We drill the earth for oil. Now, as never before, 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 under the earth’s crust – we’re talking no more than 33,000 feet under our feet – is a mantle of magma. This is a molten and semi-molten brew, primarily 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 serves to do is keep the ground immediately under the earth’s surface at a fairly constant year-round temperature of between 45 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Meaning? Underground temperatures in Elizabethtown (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!

What geothermal heating and cooling systems do, then, is transfer heat from the ground  to your home or heat from your home to the ground, as the season dictates. Either way, your home is maintained at the ideal temperature to keep you and your family comfy all year long.

The device that handles the transfer is a geothermal heat pump. It continuously circulates water or some solution (predominantly antifreeze) between your home and loops of piping (predominantly 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 flows 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. Want details? You’ll find more comprehensive 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 employing the energy already abundantly available beneath the earth’s surface. That’s why geothermal systems don’t only run quieter but also prove considerably more dependable, need less maintenance, have far longer lifespans, and are more environmentally friendly than old-school HVACs. That’s also why, ultimately, you’ll save lots more more money by going geothermal.

Curious now? Consult with Dever Enterprises, your Elizabethtown geothermal heating and cooling specialist, today.