The Basic Science of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Plenty of homeowners here in Dallas, Texas, have enlisted Geo-Thermal Distribution Co., LLC to upgrade their homes to geothermal homes. Still hesitant about geothermal heating and cooling yourself? Comprehending some of the science behind it – and the mechanics as well – might help.

We’ve written elsewhere about the merits of geothermal heating and cooling. It’s quite sufficient to say here that almost no other manner of maintaining apleasant home environment year-round are as efficient, reliable, or ultimately low-cost, especially when you consider the energy savings.

Here’s how geothermal works that magic.

Thar’s Gold Heat in Them Thar Hills!

We dig in the earth for precious metals. We dig in the earth for oil. Now, as never before, we’re tapping the earth for something probably just as valuable to many of us: the energy to heat and cool our homes that doesn’t necessitate oil.

You see, close beneath the earth’s crust – we’re talking no more than 33,000 feet under our feet – is a stratum of magma. This is a molten and semi-molten blend, 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. So? Underground temperatures in Dallas (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!

This, then, is what geothermal heating and cooling systems do: they transfer heat from the ground  to your home or heat from your home to the ground, in accordance with the season. Either way, your home is maintained at the perfect temperature to keep you and your family in comfort year-round.

The apparatus that handles the transfer is a geothermal heat pump. It continuously circulates water or some blend (usually antifreeze) between your home and loops of pipe (usually made of polyethylene, high-density polyethylene, PVC, or CPVC) installed in the ground. In Winter, the liquid is cold when it enters the ground. As it flows 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 enters the loops, where it assimilates the cooler ground temperatures before it’s returned to your home. Looking for details? You’ll find more comprehensive information on ground loops here.

The salient 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 making use of the energy already abundantly available beneath the earth’s surface. That’s why geothermal systems are not only quieter but also a lot more reliable, need less maintenance, have far longer lifespans, and are more environmentally friendly than conventional HVACs. That’s also why, in the end, you’ll save lots more more money by going geothermal.

Curious now? Consult with Geo-Thermal Distribution Co., LLC, your Dallas geothermal heating and cooling authority, today.