The Basic Science of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

A good many homeowners here in Mobile, Alabama, have sought Geothermal Solutions to upgrade their homes to geothermal homes. Still hesitant about geothermal heating and cooling yourself? Knowing something of the science behind it – and the mechanics as well – may help.

We’ve talked elsewhere about the perks of geothermal heating and cooling. Suffice it to say here that few other manner of maintaining an agreeable home environment all year long are as efficient, reliable, or economical, 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 extraordinary degree, we’re tapping the earth for something no doubt just as valuable to many of us: the energy to heat and cool our homes that doesn’t call for oil.

You see, right under the earth’s crust – no more than 33,000 feet under our feet – is a mantle of magma. This is a molten and semi-molten brew, for the most part made up 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 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 Mobile (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 task, then, of a geothermal heating and cooling system is to|Underground temperatures being what they are, then, it’s the task 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’s interior is maintained at an optimal temperature to keep you and your family comfortable throughout the year.

The device that accomplishes the transfer is a geothermal heat pump. It continuously circulates water or some solution (typically antifreeze) between your home and loops of piping (typically fabricated 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 flows through the loops, it absorbs heat from the earth and is returned to your home warm. In Summer, the process is reversed: warm liquid enters the loops, where it absorbs 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 aren’t like central heating systems, which generate heat themselves. Instead, geothermal systems heat and cool your home by harnessing the energy already richly available beneath the earth’s surface. That’s why geothermal systems don’t only run quieter but also prove considerably more reliable, need less maintenance, have much longer lifespans, and are more environmentally friendly than standard HVACs. That’s also why, ultimately, you’ll save much more more money by going geothermal.

Curious now? Get hold of Geothermal Solutions, your Mobile geothermal heating and cooling professional, today.