The Basic Science of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

A number of homeowners here in Kansas City, Missouri, have engaged ECS Geothermal, Inc to transform their homes into geothermal homes. Still need convincing about geothermal heating and cooling yourself? Understanding a smidgen of the science behind it – and the mechanics as well – might help.

We’ve described elsewhere the virtues of geothermal heating and cooling. It’s enough to say here that almost no other methods of maintaining apleasant home environment whatever the season are as efficient, reliable, or affordable, particularlly when you gauge the energy savings.

Here’s how geothermal makes that a reality.

Thar’s Gold Heat in Them Thar Hills!

We tap the earth for precious metals. We tap the earth for oil. Now, to an unprecedented degree, we’re tapping the earth for something likely just as valuable to most of us: the energy to heat and cool our homes that doesn’t entail oil.

You see, close beneath the earth’s crust – that would be roughly 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 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 Kansas City (and pretty much everywhere 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 purpose 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 appiance that executes 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) buried in the ground. In Winter, the liquid is cold when it enters the ground. As it travels through the loops, it takes in heat from the earth and is returned to your home warm. In Summer, the process is reversed: warm liquid goes into the loops, where it takes in the cooler ground temperatures before it’s returned to your home. Want details? You’ll find more specific information on ground loops here.

The primary 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 harnessing the energy already abundantly available beneath the earth’s surface. That’s why geothermal systems don’t only run quieter but also prove a lot more reliable, need less maintenance, have significantly longer lifespans, and are more environmentally friendly than old-school HVACs. That’s also why, in the long run, you’ll save much more more money by going geothermal.

Curious now? Get together with ECS Geothermal, Inc, your Kansas City geothermal heating and cooling professional, today.