The Features and Functions of a Geothermal Heat Pump

One of the most unexpected things about a geothermal heating and cooling system is that it has almost no moving parts. There’s just that much less that can break down– that much less requiring maintenance. And that alone goes a long way toward reducing the overall energy costs of Boise homeowners who’ve gone geothermal.

 

Still, the system does have some moving parts. the better part of them are found in its most important component, too: the geothermal heat pump.

This is the system’s engine. Its job is to transfer heat. And it transfers heat either from the ground into your house or from your house into the ground, depending on the weather30. As such, it’s a furnace and an air conditioner integrated into one discreet package.

How the heat pump transfers heat is with water or an antifreeze solution. This liquid circulates through loops of underground pipes to which the heat pump is secured above ground. During heating season the liquid draws heat from the ground, the heat pump draws the warm liquid up into refrigerant coils, and the heat is then is conveyed throughout a home by means of either a forced air or a hydronic system. During cooling season the process is reversed: the pump draws heat from your home and transfers it underground via those same buried loops. Oh, and as an added perk, lots of geothermal systems also supply domestic hot water.

The critical differentiator between a geothermal heat pump and a common furnace is that a heat pump doesn’t set fuel afire to generate heat. No, indeed, it takes heat that already exists and just moves it around. That naturally makes it a much more efficient heating and cooling system. Understand this, too: underground temperatures almost always hold at around 50º F year round. Result? A geothermal heating and cooling system requires significantly less energy to cool your home than conventional air conditioners.

So … is a geothermal system what’s needed for your Boise home? Turn to this region’s geothermal experts, the friendly folks at Idaho Geothermal, LLC.