The Basic Science of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Plenty of people here in Boise, Idaho, have signed on with Idaho Geothermal, LLC to transform their homes into geothermal homes. Still suspicious of geothermal heating and cooling yourself? Comprehending a little of the science behind it – and the mechanics as well – might help.

We’ve mentioned elsewhere the perks of geothermal heating and cooling. It’s quite sufficient to say here that few other means of maintaining apleasant home environment whatever the season are as efficient, dependable, or economical, especially when you consider the energy savings.

Here’s how geothermal works its magic.

Thar’s Gold Heat in Them Thar Hills!

We mine the earth for precious metals. We drill the earth for oil. Now, more than ever, 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 involve oil.

You see, just below the earth’s crust – that would be in the neighborhood of 33,000 feet under our feet – is a stratum of magma. This is a molten and semi-molten blend, for the most part made up of silicates, in which temperatures vary 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 Boise (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 function of a geothermal heating and cooling system to 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 happy all year long.

The device that executes the transfer is a geothermal heat pump. It continuously circulates water or some mixture (commonly antifreeze) between your home and loops of pipe (commonly fabricated 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 courses through the loops, it absorbs heat from the earth and is reintroduced to your home warm. In Summer, the process is reversed: warm liquid is brought into the loops, where it takes in the cooler ground temperatures before it’s returned to your home. Want details? You’ll find more thorough information on ground loops here.

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

Curious now? Talk with Idaho Geothermal, LLC, your Boise geothermal heating and cooling specialist, today.